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Benefits Package for Officials, Temporary Agents and Contract Agents

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The pay consists of a basic salary, weighted to reflect the cost of living in Portugal, and deductions. You may also be entitled to receive additional allowances depending on your personal circumstances. The final salary is calculated by adding the relevant allowances and by deducting social security contributions and other taxes.

Basic Salary

There is a basic salary scale for each grade, divided into several steps. You progress automatically to the next step every two years until the top of the scale for that grade is reached. Basic salaries are adjusted each year in line with inflation and purchasing power in the EU countries.


The basic salary is weighted to reflect the cost of living in Lisbon compared to Brussels and is reviewed each year. The weighting for Portugal is currently -15%, and it is applied to the basic salary.

Expatriation or foreign residence allowance

You may be entitled to an expatriation (16% of basic salary) or foreign residence allowance (4% of basic salary). This depends on whether/how long you have been living in Portugal before you join EMSA.

Family allowances

You could be entitled to receive one or more of the following monthly allowances:

Household allowance – If you are married and/or have children you might be eligible for this allowance.

Dependent child allowance – If you have a child, you receive a dependent child allowance until your child is 18 years old.  If the child pursues further education the allowance may continue up to a maximum of 26 years of age.

Pre-school allowance - If you have a child of a pre-school age you may receive this small allowance.  This allowance is paid in addition to the dependent child allowance and stops when your child is at least 5 years of age and starts primary school.

Education allowance – Registration, attendance and transport costs for your children in primary, secondary or university education are reimbursed up to a ceiling.

In some cases, the possibility exists of direct payment of school fees in accordance with EMSA’s social measure and Administrative Agreements with certain international schools in the Lisbon area.

Shift work allowance

If you work shifts for EMSA continuously, you are entitled to a shift work allowance.

Social security contributions & tax deductions

EMSA staff members pay a community tax at source and contribute to health insurance, accident insurance, EU pension scheme and unemployment insurance.

Health and accident insurance

EMSA staff are covered by the Community Joint Sickness Insurance Scheme (JSIS). The total contribution is 1.8% (1.7% sickness and 0.1% accident) of the basic salary. You are covered worldwide, 24 hours a day, from your first working day against sickness, hospitalisation, medical costs in relation to pregnancy and accident and occupational disease. You have a free choice of medical practitioner worldwide. Up to 85% of the costs are reimbursed, depending on the treatment and within ceilings. Spouses and children can also be covered for sickness insurance under certain conditions, but not for accident insurance.

Pension scheme

You will be a member of the EU pension scheme throughout your service. The employee contribution is 11.6% of the basic salary. EMSA makes an additional two thirds contribution. Per year of service you acquire a pension right of 1.9% of your basic salary, 70% is the maximum you can achieve. A retirement pension is granted to staff completing a minimum of 10 years combined service in the Agency or other Community Institutions, provided that they have reached pensionable age (63 years). No minimum period is required when the age of normal retirement has been reached whilst in service. There is the possibility to transfer in pension rights acquired with other national schemes. Should you leave the service prior to the 10 years’ service, you will need to request the transfer out of the rights acquired with the EU into another scheme.

Unemployment insurance

The total contribution is 0.81% of the basic salary.

Income tax

Income tax is levied progressively at a rate of between 8% and 45% of the taxable portion of your salary. A special levy (5.50%) is calculated on the part of the remuneration exceeding the minimum remuneration. Your salary is exempt from Portuguese tax. For more information please see the protocol on the immunities of the European Union.

Installation in Lisbon

In some cases there are additional entitlements for a limited duration. These can include:

Daily subsistence allowance

The allowance is intended to offset the costs and inconvenience caused by the need to move or take up temporary residence in Lisbon (i.e. before you complete your removal from your place of recruitment).

The amount of daily subsistence allowance is:

€31.58 per day for staff members who are not entitled to the household allowance;

€39.17 per day for staff members who are entitled to the household allowance.

The period that the allowance is granted for is:

A maximum of 120 days for those employed for a period of at least one year, who are not entitled to receive the household allowance;

A maximum of 180 days for those employed for a period of at least one year, who are entitled to the household allowance. If entitled to the household allowance, as a probationer, the daily subsistence allowance is granted for the period of probation plus one month.

Contract staff engaged for a period of less than one year will receive the allowance for the duration of their contract up to a maximum of one year.

The allowance is not paid beyond the date on which you effectively move your household to your place of employment.

Installation allowance 

This allowance is paid on presentation of proof of installation (i.e. rental agreement or deeds of a property). Depending on the contract duration, between one third of the basic salary and one full basic salary, weighted to Lisbon, is paid for staff members not entitled to household allowance. For staff members entitled to the household allowance this could be doubled.


If you have a contract for a minimum of one year you are entitled to reimbursement of expenses of their removal costs. The removal covers furniture, personal effects and the cost of insurance against ordinary risks up to the limit of an estimate approved in advance. You will need to submit three quotations six weeks prior to the removal date.

Travel expenses

EMSA will reimburse the travel expenses for you, your spouse and dependent children (actually living in your household) upon taking up duties based on supporting documents from the place of recruitment to Lisbon.

The benefits package is based on the staff policy (Staff Regulations). The policy is applicable to European Institutions and Agencies

Annual leave

EMSA staff members are entitled to annual leave of 24 working days plus EMSA holidays (17-19 days p.a.), which correspond to some Portuguese national holidays and Easter, Christmas and other events. Additional leave days are granted for age, grade and distance from your place of origin (e.g. place where you have your family ties or possess property). Special leave is granted for certain circumstances such as marriage, birth of a child or other family events.

Working hours

A standard working week at EMSA is 37.5 hours. Core hours are from 9.30 – 12.00 and from 14.45 – 17.00 Monday to Thursday and until 16.00 on Friday.

Language classes

Language classes in Portuguese are available for EMSA staff members and their spouses or recognized partners.

Other privileges

These privileges are based on the Seat Agreement between Portugal and EMSA and are not rights which are established as part of the staff policy.