In Brazil, workers may be hired in several ways, but the most common practice is to hire workers as employees. An employment relation is characterized by the simultaneous presence of four requisites. Whenever the requisites of employment relation are not present in a labor relation, the parties are free to structure it in a different way other than employment, such as: independent contractors/consultants, service providers/outsourced workers, temporary workers, intern, non-employed officers, among others, provided that the specific rules and regulations regarding such other forms are complied with. The Labor Code is applicable solely for employees, while the other work structures are governed by different statutes.
Employment agreements in Brazil are usually for an indefinite term. As per the Labor Code, fixed-term employment agreements are only allowed: (a) for up to 2 years when: (1) the temporary nature of the service justifies a pre-established term, or (2) the business activities have a temporary nature; (b) during an initial 90 day probation employment period, after which the employment agreement will become for an indefinite term.
The fixed-term agreement will become an indefinite term employment agreement, if the agreement: (a) is for a fixed term, but the reason to justify it is not one of the reasons allowed by law; (b) does not have a clause mentioning the term and the legal justification for such term; (c) is extended more than once; (d) the maximum term is not observed; (e) the renewal is not agreed by the parties in writing; or (f) if successive fixed-term employment agreements are used without observing the 6-month break.
In addition, the Labor Reform introduced the intermittent work, which is a new type of hiring. In this type, the employee renders services with subordination, but not on a habitual basis, occurring the alternation between periods of provision of services and inactivity. The employee can work for any other employer during the inactivity periods.
The trial period, also called “probation period”, may be established for a period up to 90 days and may be renewed once if the limit of 90 days is observed, e.g., 45 days renewable for 45 days, 30 days extendable for 60 days.
The notice period, also called “prior notice”, is only applicable in the event of termination of employment agreements for indefinite term.