A company has branches in many countries, one of them being Portugal.

Some time ago, Jon relocated from the branch in Country A, to the Portuguese branch of the same company. Jon had to sign that he quit the company in Country A, and had an employment contract that started the next day in the Portuguese company, within the same group. Does this mean that Jon's years of service continue?

For example, in the new contract, Jon's notice period is longer if he's been with the company for more than 2 years. Jon hasn't been with the Portuguese branch for 2 years, but the time spent with the company in Country A plus the time in the Portuguese branch is greater than 2 years. So which notice period would apply?

  • 2
    The intent of the company seems obvious. You probably need an expert to find if this intent was legal.
    – o.m.
    Dec 30, 2023 at 11:39

1 Answer 1


"Groups" of companies are not employers; individual companies are

You talk as though the company in Portugal and the one in the other unnamed country are the same legal entity - they are not. It doesn't matter if they have the same owners or even the same directors; they are independent legal entities, as legally distinct from each other as you and I are.

This is clear from the fact that you had to resign from one to take a job with the other.

Whether your employment will be treated as if your service in the other country was service with the Portuguese one will depend on the terms of your employment contract and the local employment law in Portugal and, possibly, in your original country.

  • Correct in general. But many times judges have ruled against that idea, but mostly when there is a clear pattern of abuse. For example, moving around an employee through the different companies while doing the same work, just because the employer wants to bypass the law (e.g. the laws would grant a larger severance pay if the employee had just a single, longer contract). In these cases the judges usually rule in favour of the employee, as the balance of power is in favour of the company.
    – SJuan76
    Jan 1 at 10:24
  • ...and on the company's policy.
    – phoog
    Jan 1 at 21:29

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