Working Conditions in Brazil

1. Minimum Working Conditions

Employees are entitled to the rights established by the Federal Constitution, Brazilian labor legislation, including all regulations and supplementary rights set forth by the respective collective bargaining agreement. Individual employment agreements and internal policies may also establish additional rights, which must always be greater than the rights established by law.

2. Salary

Compensation comprises not only the employee’s fixed salary, but also any commissions, bonuses (Christmas or otherwise), fringe benefits, such as personal or family benefits and living expenses. Federal Constitution prohibits reduction of compensation, except by means of a collective bargaining agreement.

Compensation, with the exception of commissions, must be paid at least monthly. Employees are entitled to receive a Christmas bonus corresponding to one monthly salary per year. Half of the Christmas bonus must be paid by November 30th, and the other half on or before December 20th.

Also, Labor Code establishes that the employee’s salary must be paid in Brazilian currency.

National minimum wage established by Law is currently of BRL 880.00. Collective bargaining agreements may establish a so-called “professional salary”, which is the minimum wage for a specific category and must be higher than the national minimum wage.

3. Maximum Working Week

The regular working period cannot exceed 8 hours per day and 44 hours per week. One hour break for rest and meal is mandatory for employees that work more than 6 hours per day. Employees are also entitled to a paid weekly rest period preferably on Sundays.

4. Overtime

Compensation for overtime work must be at least 50% greater than the compensation for regular work. The following employees are not entitled to overtime payments and are not subject to the limits on working hours under the Labor Code: (a) employees who perform activities out of the company’s facilities and which activities are not compatible with defined working hours; and (b) employees (such as managers) that occupy trust positions (“cargos de confiança”).

5. Holidays

Vacation: In accordance with Brazilian Labor Law, after each period of 12 months worked, employees are entitled to a 30 calendar-day paid vacation, which must be taken within the subsequent period of 12 months, in the period that is most convenient to the employer. The vacation period should be taken integrally in one period without being broken up, for the benefit of the employee to preserve his/her rest. However, in special occasions, it is possible to grant the vacation period in two periods, provided that none of them are less than 10 days. According to Brazilian Labor Code (CLT) employees who are under 18 years of age or over 50 years of age must take vacation integrally in a single period. Additionally, note that the employee may “sell” 1/3 (one-third) of his/her vacation period. The vacation remuneration corresponds to the monthly salary plus 1/3 of the employee’s monthly salary as vacation bonus.

Public holidays: Employees are entitled to be absent from work on public holidays (public holiday means specific days established by law to celebrate some special occasion, e.g. Christmas, Independence Day, etc.), being entitled to the regular remuneration for such days. Local (Municipal or State) holidays may also apply, depending on where the company is based.

6. Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace

Employers are obliged to provide a healthy and safe workplace to employees and to comply with all mandatory regulations regarding healthy and safety matters. There are several regulations providing for strict rules concerning mandatory periodical medical examinations, medical examinations upon admission and termination, medical records, environmental risks prevention, creation and maintenance of an Internal Commission for Accident Prevention (CIPA), health-hazard and dangerous activities and the corresponding allowances and ergonomics, among others.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Brazil, please contact TozziniFreire Advogados
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