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6 myths in public service

They work little, benefit from their health and have more vacations than those in private. These are just a few myths in the public service. Know how to distinguish them.

Opening hours, vacations or health benefits are some of the most frequent questions asked by Portuguese citizens regarding the public service. And as in the private sector, the tendency is for the creation of myths in public service.

How many times do we hear that public service workers work few hours? Or how many times have you discussed with colleagues the fact that they have access to health benefits that private workers do not have?

In fact, the myths are many and different. And so that you know how to distinguish them from what is really true or not, we have prepared an article with the most common myths in the public service.

We unravel the myths in public service: the 6 most common

workers in the office


Do civil service workers work fewer hours than private sector workers?

O Labor Code establishes the maximum limits of the working period and as described in article 203, “The normal working period cannot exceed eight hours a day and forty hours a week”.

It is true that civil service workers work fewer hours per week (35 versus 40 hours). However, there are also workers in the private sector with hours of less than 40 hours per week.

We proceed to explain: in the public sector, the normal working period is 35 hours per week, while in the private sector, the law provides for 40 hours per week. However, there are sectors of activity in which contracts can be collective and, therefore, the schedule can be established in less than 40 hours per week.


Do you have more vacation days when compared to private workers?

In relation to all vacation days, both the General Labor Law in Public Functions and the Labor Code stipulate the same. That is, 22 working days per year.

However, what happens in the civil service is the fact that the State offers 1 more working day for every 10 years of service – this is a way of valuing the seniority of employees.

Furthermore, in the public service there is still incentive packages, as in the case of doctors who are willing to travel to more needy areas, for example. In these situations, they can receive 2 more days of vacation with the possibility of adding 1 more days for each year of work.

It is also worth mentioning that, despite this, there are also several private companies that provide extremely advantageous conditions and that even reward their employees with extra vacation days.


“Civil servants are guaranteed a job for life”

What any of us are looking for is precisely to obtain job stability. And the truth is that for the vast majority of public servants this is a reality.

in the background, most civil service workers have open-ended contracts with the state – which means they can only be fired in serious situations.

Who defines this list of infractions that can lead to dismissal is the General Law of Work in Public Functions. From unexcused absences, embezzlement of public funds or disclosure of confidential information, these are some examples of serious reasons for being fired.


“Civil service workers can retire earlier and pensions are higher”

In a general way, most workers in both the public and private sectors have very similar pension schemes (not forgetting the fact that there are careers with their own rules).

Currently, in order to have access to full retirement, it is necessary to work 40 years and be 66 years and 7 months old, or have reached the personal age of access to the old-age pension.

In addition, know that the conditions for accessing early retirement are also quite similar and in both sectors, public and private, a regime is in place for long contributory careers. But then there are no differences in this aspect?

Yes, they exist. The big difference between the public and private sectors is in the value of old-age pensions, which is due to the fact that a large part of civil servants have a degree and thus, more qualified professions.


“In public service it is more difficult to move up the career ladder”

We can conclude that yes, in relation to career development in the State, it only happens because of seniority and not on the merit of the professional. In the private sector, it becomes easier to move up the career ladder as overall performance carries more weight.


“They have a better healthcare system than private sector workers”

This is a much talked about issue among state workers and those in the private sector. And the truth is that civil servants in addition to having access to the National Health Service, they also have their own health subsystem.

This subsystem is entitled Assistance in the Disease of Civil Servants of the State (ADSE), which is financed with their discounts and allows them to use private clinics and hospitals that have an agreement with ADSE.

In the private sector, many companies already offer health insurance to their employees. This type of insurance is usually free of charge and may have special conditions for other family members.

However, this is a benefit that not all private companies offer to their employees – it all depends on the company and also on the role of the worker.

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