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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectorial cooperation


In 2019, the Program of the XXXI Constitutional Government (2019-2023)  represents a cycle of consolidation of the economic recovery, guaranteeing long-term sustainability and developing the conditions for Portugal to overcome the strategic challenges of the next decade. It is for this purpose that the four strategic challenges present in the Government Program contribute:

• Combat climate change;

• Responding to the demographic challenge;

• Build the digital society;

• Reduce inequalities


For 2020, the Major Options of the Plan identified the key priority challenges regarding the labour market:

  • Promote a proper regulation, with a view to safeguarding the right to decent and quality employment for all people;

  • Ensure that our education and training system responds effectively to changes in the standard of qualifications required by the labour market in order not to generate new forms of social exclusion;

  • Ensure a fair transition, inclusive and sustainable, so that the future of work provides well-being and cohesion reinforced social security, especially for young people and millennials;

  • Regulate the Gig Economy, inspecting and promoting the application of fair work, to ensure that workers' rights are safeguarded and that the conditions inherent to decent work are respected;

  • Promote the preparation of a Green Paper on the Future of Work and, based on work and public debate based on it, including social consultation, move forward with concrete proposals for regulating the provision of work in the digital economy;

  • Advance with solutions to regulate new forms of work associated with the expansion of digital platforms and the collaborative economy, and own instrument the working conditions that must be demanded in that scope;

  • Ensure equal conditions in access to social protection and conditions of safe and healthy workplaces for digital platform workers, the economy collaboration, distance workers and other types of the digital economy, ensuring the implementation of the decent work goals stated at the level of the United Nations;

  • Guarantee the access of workers in the digital economy to the structures of collective representation of work and encourage collective bargaining and regulation in emerging sectors, also in order to avoid the isolation and individualization of labour relations in these fields;

  • Defend the harmonization of the regulatory framework that regulates industrial relations in digital platforms in different jurisdictions, inside and outside Europe

  • Introduce regulatory mechanisms to ensure safety and security workers' privacy when interacting with machines and artificial intelligence;

  • Ensure protection and security in the use of personal data by entities employers, ensuring full application of the General Regulation on Personal Data and stimulating its implementation in collective bargaining;

  • Stimulate an appropriate balance between autonomy at work and the right to termination, promoting a balanced management of working time and conciliation between professional, family and personal life in the context of respect for people's sovereignty in time management.


At the entrepreneurship level, the Government launched, in 2016, the National Strategy for Entrepreneurship – StartUp Portugal, with a series of measures and initiatives to promote the entrepreneurial ecosystem, some of them aimed at young people (3.9 – Startup Funding for Young Entrepreneurs and 3.10 – Promotion of Entrepreneurship Culture).

In Portugal, the entity that oversees labour is the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security.

Under the tutelage of this Ministry, there are direct administration services, which include, among others, the Authority for Labour Conditions (ACT) and the Directorate-General for Employment and Labour Relations; and indirect administration services, among which the Institute of Social Security, (ISS, I.P.) and the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training, (IEFP, I.P.). There are also joint supervisory entities, such as the National Agency for Qualification and Vocational Education.

Most active labour market policies are implemented by the public employment and vocational trainning services, which intervene at a national, regional and local level in the mainland (Continental Portugal).

IEFP, I.P., is the public entity that implements active labour market policies. Its mission is to promote the creation and quality of employment and to combat unemployment through the implementation of active labour market policies, including employment, vocational training and professional rehabilitation policies.

The control of compliance with labour standards is the responsibility of the ACT, which is also responsible for the safety and health at work.

Unemployment protection and other social policies are promoted by the public social security services (SS) that intervene at the national, regional and local levels in the mainland (Continental Portugal) and at the level of the autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores, through the Institute of Social Security (ISS).

The Act ruling the social security system (Law no. 4/2007, of 16th January, updated by the Law no. 83-A/2013, of 30th December) defines the ground rules for the Portuguese welfare system. Its funding comes from the contributions paid by employers and workers, within the framework of the mandatory social security's welfare system.

There is also a national body to promote equality and non-discrimination between men and women in the work, employment and vocational training life, the Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment (CITE).

With regard to funding, active labour market policies are partly financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds (FEEI) for the period between 2014 and 2020, in particular the European Social Fund (ESF), which is the main instrument to promote employment in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy.

The Thematic Operational Programme for Social Inclusion and Employment (PO ISE) mission is to promote greater social inclusion and better jobs in Portugal, by improving skills and qualifications, and raising the employment rate, through the implementation of structured measures in four thematic axes.The second thematic axis aims to increase the qualification and integration into the labour market of young people in a NEET situation.

The Human Capital Operational Programme (HCOP), approved by the European Commission's decision from 12th December 2014, aims to contribute to an intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth and to the economic, social and territorial cohesion. The achievement of the Europe 2020 goals is based on five main objectives:

1. Promotion of academic success and reduction of early school-leaving (ESL);

2. Improvement of employability through the adjustment between supply and demand in the labour market;

3. Increased attractiveness of Higher Education and number of graduates;

4. Improvement of the adult population qualifications;

5. Promoting the quality and regulation of the education and training system.

For this purpose, the HCOP has four funding axes with a financial allocation available according to the priority of investment:

Axis 1 - Promotion of educational success, tackling early school-leaving

Axis 2 - Increase of higher education and advanced training

Axis 3 - Learning, lifelong learning qualification

Axis 4 - Quality and innovation of the education and training system


The main Actors

Government authorities

Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security

Ministry responsible for formulating, conducting, implementing and evaluating employment and vocational training policies, labour relations and working conditions, solidarity and social security policies, as well as the coordination of social policies to support families, children and young people at risk, the elderly, the birthrate, the inclusion of people with disabilities, combating poverty and promoting social inclusion.

Institute for Employment and Vocational Training,  (IEFP, I.P.)

It is a public entity, under the supervision of the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, which is responsible for the implementation of active labour market policies, being the national public employment and vocational training service.

Among its competencies is the promotion and creation of measures to combat unemployment, through the implementation of active labour market policies, in particular employment, vocational training and professional rehabilitation policies.

Under the Youth Guarantee programme, IEFP, I.P., is the responsible for the implementation, execution and management of a set of measures related to employment, in particular professional traineeships, supports for hiring and entrepreneurship.

Directorate-General for Employment and Labour Relations (DGERT)

It is responsible for support in the design of policies on employment and vocational training, the certification of training providers, the regulation of access to professions and of industrial relations and working conditions, including occupational safety and health, as well as promoting social dialogue, prevention of collective labour disputes and promotion of collective bargaining.

Authority for Labour Conditions (ACT)

It is responsible for promoting the improvement of working conditions, through the enforcement of labour regulations in the context of private labour relations and through the promotion of safety and health at work in all public and private sectors of activity.

Institute of Social Security (ISS, I.P.)

It is a public institute, integrated in the indirect administration of the State, pursuing the duties of the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security (MTSSS), under the superintendence and tutelage of the its respective minister.

Its mission is to guarantee and promote welfare and social inclusion, in the context of the social security system, recognising rights and ensuring compliance with obligations.

It is responsible for the implementation and monitoring of some measures to integrate young people in the labour market, in cooperation with employers.

Ministry of Economy

This Ministry is responsible for the Portuguese economy, especially in the sectors of industry, energy, commerce, tourism and services.

IAPMEI — Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation, PI

It is a public institution under the tutelage of the Ministry of Economy, whose mission is to promote competitiveness and business growth. In the context of StartUp Portugal – strategy of the Portuguese Government for Entrepreneurship, IAPMEI, I.P., is responsible for guaranteeing support to the conception, implementation and assessment of a series of measures and policies intended for young people.

Ministry of Education

It is the ministry in which the Secretariat of State for Youth and Sports is integrated, which, in turn, oversees the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth, PI.

It has an intervention in the definition, implementation and monitoring of the measures and initiatives in the domain of employment and entrepreneurship, directly or indirectly, according to the typology of the measures.

Directorate-General of Education (DGE)

It is the entity responsible for implementing the policies concerning the pedagogical and didactic components of preschool, basic, secondary and extra-curricular education, as well as for the technical support for their formulation.

Through the Ministry of Education, DGE has a role in the monitoring of measures and initiatives in the domain of employment and entrepreneurship that have an inter-sectoral relation with educational affairs.

National Agency for Qualification and Vocational Education, PI (ANQEP, I.P.)

It is a public institute integrated in the indirect administration of the State, under the tutelage of the Ministries of Education and the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, in articulation with the Ministry of Economy.

Its mission is to implement and coordinate education and vocational training policies for young people and adults, and to ensure the development and management of the system for skills' recognition, validation and certification.

Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth, PI (IPDJ, I.P)

It is the public institute integrated in the indirect administration of the State, endowed with administrative and financial autonomy and an autonomous patrimony, which develops work in the youth sector.

It is responsible for the implementation of some initiatives and measures in the employment and entrepreneurship domain, in particular the Be an Entrepreneur Now (Empreende Já) programme and the IDA – Associative Development Incentive Programme.


Regional level

At a regional level, the Autonomous Regions of Madeira and the Azores have autonomy with regard to the development, implementation and administration of youth policies, both having a regional office. With regard to employment and vocational training policy, they also have autonomy, with regional public services autonomous from the IEFP, I.P., which only has jurisdiction over the continent. These services are the Regional Directorate for Employment and Professional Qualification, in the Azores, and the Employment Institute, in Madeira. Also, in terms of the Youth Guarantee, the measures presented are only applied in the continent, being that there are specific regional plans of the Youth Guarantee in the Azores and Madeira, managed by those entities.

In the Azores, there is the Regional Directorate for Youth, as the executive service of the Regional Deputy-Secretary of the Presidency for Parliamentary Affairs, whose mission is the conception, implementation and assessment of youth policy.

In Madeira, there is the Regional Directorate for Youth and Sports, under the tutelage of the Regional Secretariat of Education, with initiatives and programmes in the employment and entrepreneurship field.


Non-governmental organisations

Committees, Confederations and Trade Unions

Standing Committee on Social Dialogue (CPCS)

It is the tripartite body for social consultation, regulated by law and organised in consultation and negotiation mechanisms. It is responsible for the mediation of social dialogue and for the negotiation between the Government and the social partners – trade union confederations and confederations of employers.

Its main responsibility is the promotion of social dialogue, in order to facilitate the conclusion of agreements. In addition to commenting on legislation and policies in the fields of socio-economic development, it is also responsible for proposing solutions. In recent years, it has been responsible for the conclusion of several agreements concerning policies and legislation on employment.

Besides the Standing Committee for Social Dialogue, CPCS, the main organisations that constitute this entity of intersectoral dialogue for the definition of labour policies are the following:


On the employers' side:

On the employees' side:


Other non-governmental organisations

National Association of Young Entrepreneurs (ANJE)

It is a private association of public utility, which institutionally represents the young Portuguese entrepreneurs and supports them in their business activity.

It is one of the most important institutions for the promotion of young entrepreneurship, developing initiatives to promote employment and young entrepreneurship based on innovation, research and development.

Some of their initiatives and programmes develop a close cooperation with public entities, in particular the IEFP, I.P., which has supported the Academy of Entrepreneurs, created by ANJE, whose mission is to promote a culture of initiative and risk in Portuguese youth.

National Youth Council (CNJ)

It is the representative platform of national youth organisations, covering the most diverse expressions of youth associations (cultural, environmental, scouting, partisans, students, trade unionists and confessional).

The CNJ promotes the discussion about the Portuguese youth situation, and is responsible for the mediation with governmental institutions, either as advisor, or as a representative of young people.

Federation of Local Youth Associations (FNAJ)

It is the official network, representative of local youth associations and their regional federations.

Due to its activities to promote youth associativism, it is involved in a diversity of initiatives and measures in the employment and entrepreneurship domain, developing a close work with the local public administration, particularly at a local level.

Foundation of Youth (FJ)

It is a private non-profit institution, of public interest, focused on training, entrepreneurship and support to youth employment.

It is responsible, among others, for implementing the PEJENE – Programme of Internships for Young College and University Students in Companies and by Company Nests.


Cross-sectoral cooperation

In some initiatives and measures in the employment and entrepreneurship field – where the Youth Guarantee programme stands out – there is an interministerial collaboration, namely between the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, the Ministry of Education, through the Directorate-General of Education (DGE) and the National Agency for Qualification and Vocational Education (ANQEP, I.P.) and the Ministry of Economy, in their respective areas of competence, according to the typologies of the programmes and measures.

In the entrepreneurship domain, there is an interministerial collaboration with the Ministry of Economy, through IAPMEI – Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation, PI.

In the context of measures to integrate young people into the labour market, particularly in the domain of internships and international mobility, there is an interministerial cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The programme of professional internships in Public Administration, framed in the measures of the National Plan for the Implementation of a Youth Guarantee, includes, at a central level, the involvement of various ministries and public entities, such as the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth. Locally, it is coordinated through the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, and it is part of the Directorate-General of Local Authorities (DGAL).


Parliamentary level

The Portuguese Parliament has specialised committees, as the Committee on Culture, Communication, Youth and Sports, in activity since 12th November 2015. Among other competencies, in the field of youth, the committee is responsible for dealing with youth policies, in particular with regard to employment and entrepreneurship. It should maintain a dialogue and relate its work to the other specialised committees, in particular the 10th Parliamentary Committee on Labour and Social Security.