Portugal - Guidelines on the access to personal data contained in workers' pay slips in the context of an enforcement procedure

Portugal - Guidelines on the access to personal data contained in workers' pay slips in the context of an enforcement procedure's Tags

Tags related to this article

Portugal - Guidelines on the access to personal data contained in workers' pay slips in the context of an enforcement procedure

Published 11 abril 2017

The Portuguese Data Protection Authority (the "CNPD") published an opinion that assesses the possibility of employers providing copies of employees' pay slips to solicitors or enforcement agents, in the context of a process of a wage garnishment proceeding (a process which is used if a debtor fails to pay a judgment) (the "Opinion"). In the Opinion, the CNPD forbids employers from handing over this information to these agents.

According to the Opinion, despite the fact that this access is not incompatible with the purpose of managing the employment relationship and fulfilling the employer’s legal obligations, providing the information in the employee pay slip to solicitors or enforcement agents constitutes an unnecessary and disproportionate means towards this end.

Notably, the CNPD states that access to the elements contained in the pay slips, other than employee gross and net salary (for example, union contributions, insurance payments, alimony or work absence records) is not required for the purpose of wage garnishment proceedings.

Furthermore, these elements fall under the concept of “private life” of the employee, as per the Portuguese constitution and the Portuguese data protection law and as such constitute sensitive data. Processing this type of data, generally speaking, requires prior CNPD authorisation.

Taking into account the above, the information to be provided by employers to solicitors and enforcement agents in the context of wage garnishment proceedings should not include the information in the employee pay slip, but rather the employee’s gross and net salaries, as this information is sufficient and adequate for the purpose at stake.

The Opinion can be read here (Portuguese).

Submitted by Magda Cocco, Inês Antas de Barros , Isabel Ornelas, Nádia Crujeira da Costa and Maria de Lurdes of Vieira de Almeida & Associados – Sociedade de Advogados, Lisbon - Portugal

Key Contacts

< Back to articles