The Labor Code establishes that the employee’s salary must be paid in Brazilian currency. 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. The Federal Constitution prohibits reduction of compensation, except by means of a collective bargaining agreement. Compensation, with some exceptions, 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. In addition, the Labor Code establishes that the employee’s salary must be paid in Brazilian currency.
The National minimum wage established by Law is currently of BRL 954.00. 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.
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. Some specific categories have a different work shift. For instance, regular bank employees and telemarketing operators only can work 6 hours per day. Journalists and musicians only can work 5 hours per day, among others.
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; (b) employees (such as managers) that occupy trust positions (“cargos de confiança”) and (c) employees who work in a home office system.
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.
In Brazil there is no legal provision regarding complaint procedures. Generally, all employees are entitled to file labor claims to claim rights related to the employment relationship. Employees may file labor claims while working or within two years as from the termination date. Companies may establish their own internal policy related to complaint procedures, but it will not prevent the employees from filing claims directly without observing the internal policy.