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Last updated on: December 28th, 2023

Labor Requirements

The Brazilian consolidation of labor laws is regulated by the Consolidação das Leis do Trabalho [CLT] 1964 (last amended in 2021). The Law governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays and rest periods, wages and other employment conditions.

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

An employee’s normal weekly working hours shall not exceed 44 hours per week or 8 hours per day up to a maximum of 220 hours a month. An employee’s normal weekly working hours shall not exceed 44 hours per week, or 8 hours per day up to a maximum of 220 hours a month. Time variations in time recording not exceeding five minutes will not be discounted or counted as overtime, subject to the maximum limit of ten minutes per day. Differentiations in working hours may exist through an autonomous bargaining or collective labor agreement. 

 

Employees who work outside the employer’s establishment and those who occupy a management position are not subject to working time limitations.

 

The employer and employee may, by means of an individual written agreement, collective agreement, or collective bargaining agreement, establish a working schedule of 12 hours followed by 36 uninterrupted hours of rest, observing or indemnifying the rest and meal breaks.  

 

When there is an interruption of work, resulting from accidental causes, or force majeure, which determines the impossibility of carrying out work, the duration of the work may be extended for the necessary time, up to a maximum of  2 hours, during the number of days essential for the recovery of lost time, provided that it does not exceed 10 hours per day, in a period not exceeding 45 days per year, subject to such recovery to the prior authorization of the government authority.

 

In cases of excessive working hours due to force majeure, the remuneration for the excess hours will not be lower than that for normal hours. In other cases of excess working hours, the remuneration will be at least 25% higher than the normal hourly rate, and the work may not exceed 12 hours, as long as the law does not establish expressly another limit.

 

Part-Time Work – Part-time work is considered to be one whose duration does not exceed 30 hours per week, without the possibility of additional weekly hours, or, even, one whose duration does not exceed 26 hours per week, with the possibility of adding up to 6 extra hours per week. The wages to be paid to employees under the part-time regime will be proportional to their working hours, about employees who perform, the same functions, full-time.

 

Any additional hours performed by a part-time employee beyond the duration of normal weekly work will be paid with an increase of 50% on the normal hourly wage. If the part-time employment contract is established for less than 26 hours per week, the additional hours to this amount will be considered overtime for the payment and are limited to 6 additional hours per week. Art 58 of the Consolidated Labor Code.

 

Travel Time – The time spent by the employee from his residence until the effective occupation of the workplace and for his return, walking or by any means of transport, including that provided by the employer, will not be counted in the working day, as it is not time at disposal of the employer.   

 

Recording Requirement
The registration of the respective employees shall be mandatory for the employer, and books, files, or electronic systems may be adopted, according to instructions to be issued by the Ministry of Labor.  In addition to the civil or professional qualification of each employee, all data related to their admission to employment, duration, and effectiveness of working hours, vacations, accidents, and other circumstances that are of interest to the protection of the employee must be recorded.    

 

For establishments with more than 20 employees, it will be mandatory to note the time of entry and exit, in a manual, mechanical, or electronic record, according to instructions issued by the Labor Authority, allowing the pre-assignment of the rest period. If the work is carried out outside the establishment, the employees’ hours will appear in the manual, mechanical, or electronic record. Art 41, 74 of the Consolidated Labor Code. 

Overtime

Any work performed beyond 8 hours per day shall be considered overtime work. Employees shall not perform more than 2 hours of overtime work per day. 

 

Pay – Employees shall be entitled to a 50% premium for each hour of overtime work performed. Employees are entitled to take compensatory days off for overtime work. 

 

The salary increase may be waived if, by virtue of an agreement or collective bargaining agreement, the excess of hours on one day is compensated by the corresponding decrease on another day, so that it does not exceed the foreseen weekly working hours, nor is the maximum limit of 10 hours per day exceeded within a maximum period of 1 year.  The time banked may be agreed upon by individual written agreement, provided that compensation occurs within a maximum period of six months.

 

In an emergency, additional overtime may be required if a special agreement is registered with the Ministry of Labor and Employment. Art 59-60 of the Consolidated Labor Code. 

Night Work

Night work, which is the work performed between 10.00 pm on one day and 5.00 am. on the following day. For purposes of calculating night work, each completed hour corresponds to 52 minutes and 30 seconds, which means seven hours of work at night is equal to eight hours of work in day hours. 

 

In the case of mixed schedules, understood as those that cover day and night periods, the night work provisions shall apply to the hours worked during the night period.

 

Pay for Night Work

Employees who work during night hours shall be entitled to a premium of at least 20% of the regular rate of pay. The increase, in the case of companies that do not maintain, due to the nature of their activities, habitual night work, will be made, taking into account the amounts paid for daytime work of a similar nature.

 

With companies whose night work is due to the nature of their activities, the increase will be calculated based on the general minimum wage in force in the region, and will not be due when it exceeds this limit, plus the percentage. Art 73 of the Consolidated Labor Code. 

Breaks

Every employee whose working day exceeds 6 hours is entitled to a 1-hour unpaid break during the day. When an employee is working 4 to 6 hours, they are entitled to a 15-minute break. Rest breaks will not be included in the duration of work. The minimum limit of one hour for rest or meal may be reduced by the act of the Ministry if it is verified that the establishment fully meets the requirements regarding the organization of cafeterias, and when the respective employees are not under extended working hours.

 

Employers that fail to grant this rest break must pay employees a 50 percent wage premium over the value of the remuneration for the normal working hour. Art 59-60 of the Consolidated Labor Code. 

 

Daily Rest Periods
Between the end of a workday and the beginning of the next workday, employees must be granted 11 hours of rest.

 

Weekly Rest Period

Every employee will be guaranteed a weekly rest period of 24 consecutive hours, which, except for reasons of public convenience or imperative need for service, must coincide with Sunday, in whole or in part.  Work on Sunday, whether total or partial, will always be subject to prior permission from the competent authority. In services that require work on Sundays, except for theatrical casts, a relay schedule will be established, organized monthly, and consisting of a table subject to inspection.

 

Pay for Work on Weekly Rest – Employees who work on weekly rest days shall be entitled to a 100% premium on the regular rate of pay or may take compensatory time off in lieu. Art 9 Law nº 605/49.

Public Holidays

The employee is entitled to paid leave on national and religious holidays. Employees are entitled to 9 national holidays:

  • Jan. 1: New Year’s Day
  • April 15: Passion of Christ
  • Tiradentes
  • May 1: Labor Day
  • Sept. 7: Independence Day
  • Oct. 12: Nossa Senhora Aparecida
  • Nov. 2: All Souls Day
  • Nov. 15: Proclamation of the Republic Day
  • Dec. 25: Christmas

Brazil also recognizes the following optional holidays and optional partial holidays:

  • Carnival (2 Days)
  • Ash Wednesday (optional until 2 pm)
  • Corpus Christi
  • Public Service Day 

Depending on where employees work, they also may be entitled to local holidays. General and state elections are also considered public holidays. If a national holiday falls on a Sunday, employees are allowed to observe the holiday on the following Monday.

 

Pay – Employees who are required to work on a public holiday are entitled to a 100% premium or a compensatory day off.  Federal Law No. 605/1949, art. 9, ORDINANCE ME NO. 14,817 OF DECEMBER 20, 2021.

Annual Leave

Duration of Annual Leave – Employee is entitled to 30 calendar days of annual leave, but only after they have completed 12 months of work for the employer. Vacations may be taken in 2 annual periods as long as none of them is less than 10 calendar days.  

 

Employees hired for less than 12 months will, at the opportunity, enjoy proportional vacations, starting then a new acquisitive period. 

 

The granting of annual leave will be communicated, in writing, to the employee, at least 30 days in advance.  Annual leave will be granted by act of the employer, in a single period, in the 12 months following the date on which the employee acquired the right. The time when annual leaves are granted will be the one that best suits the employer’s interests. Whenever annual leave are granted after the period referred, the employer will pay double the respective remuneration.

 

Entitlement of Annual Leave – Annual leave can be divided into up to three periods upon agreement between employer and employee. One of them may not be less than 14 calendar days and the others may not be less than 5 calendar days, each.

 

Pay in Lieu of Annual Leave – Employees have the right to convert one third (approximately 33%) of their paid vacation (normally up to 10 days) to pay in lieu of vacation

 

Holiday Pay – The holiday pay is based on employee’s monthly salary. Employers shall provide one third of an employee’s monthly salary as holiday bonus. Employees hired for less than 12 months will, at the opportunity, enjoy proportional vacations, starting then a new acquisitive period. Additional payments for overtime, night shift, unhealthy or dangerous work will be included in the salary that will serve as the basis for calculating vacation pay. 

 

Vacation Bonus – For each day’s holiday enjoyed by an employee, he or she should receive the standard payment for that day plus a vacation premium of 25% of the daily wage.

 

Employees are also entitled to a year end bonus, sometimes referred to as a “13th month salary” or “Christmas bonus,” in an amount equal to one month’s salary. The Christmas bonus is divided into two installments, the first payable between Feb. 1 and Nov. 30, the second before Dec. 20. Typically, half the bonus is paid in November, the other half in December.

 

Reduction of Annual Leave due to Unjustified Absence – The main condition that an employee must follow to have the right to 30 days’ vacation is to not have more than five unjustified absences in a year. If this happens, the vacation days are decreased as follows:

      • 24 days, if the employee had from 6 to 14 unjustified absences
      • 18 days, if the employee had from 15 to 23 unjustified absences
      • 12 days, if the employee had from 24 to 32 unjustified absences
      • none, if the employee had more than 32 unjustified absences in a year

Termination of Employment – Upon termination of the employment contract, whatever the reason, the employee will be paid a single or double remuneration, as the case may be, corresponding to the vacation period to which he has acquired the right. The employee who is dismissed without just cause, or whose employment contract is terminated within a predetermined period, before completing 12 months of service, will be entitled to remuneration related to the incomplete period of vacation. 

 

Loss of Annual Leave – An employee will lose the right to annual leave if, during the vesting period, any of the following occurs – 

      • the employee leaves the job and is not re-admitted within the 60 days following departure;
      • the employee goes on paid leave for more than 30 days;
      • the employee does not work due to a partial or complete shutdown of the services, but continues to be paid, for more than 30 days; or
      • the employee is in receipt of a sick leave benefit paid by the INSS (Brazilian social security) for more than 6 months.

In such cases, a new vesting period will start when the employee returns to work.

 

Accrual of Annual Leave – The annual leave must be taken within 12 months after it accrues. Employee who does not take their annual leave and accumulates two periods in a row, the employer would have to pay a double rate for the accumulated leave.

 

Conditions for Annual Leave – For the purposes of annual leave, the following are deemed to be justified absences:

        • days when employees are entitled not to work under Article 473 of the CLT (the Brazilian labour code) such as, for example, licence days for marriage, blood donation, to enrol for compulsory military service and to enrol to vote in elections;
        • maternity leave (in the case of birth, stillbirth or abortion);
        • during sick leave paid by the INSS (Brazilian social security), either by virtue of illness or work-related accident (save when the employee is on sick leave for more than 6 months);
        • leave which is authorized or permitted by the employer;
        • when there is no work and the employee continues to receive salary (save if this lasts for 30 days or longer); or
        • during the suspension of the employment agreement for the employee to respond to disciplinary proceedings or if the employee has been remanded in custody and has not been charged or is acquitted

    Annual Leave coinciding with Public Holiday or Rest  Day – It is forbidden to start the vacation in the period of two days preceding a public holiday or paid weekly rest day.

    Special Leave

    Maternity Leave

    A pregnant employee is entitled to 120 days of paid maternity leave. The duration of maternity leave before and after childbirth may be increased by 2 weeks upon presentation of a medical certificate.  In the event of the mother’s death, the employee’s spouse or partner is entitled to leave for the entire period of maternity leave or for the remaining time to which the mother would be entitled, except in the case of the child’s death or abandonment. 

     

    An employee who adopts or obtains legal custody for the purpose of adopting a child or adolescent will be granted paid maternity leave for a period of 120 days. Maternity leave will only be granted upon presentation of the judicial term of custody to the adopter or guardian. Adoption or joint legal custody will result in the granting of maternity leave to only one of the adopters or guardians employed. 

     

    In the case of a non-criminal abortion, proven by an official medical certificate, the employee will have a paid rest period of 2 weeks.

     

    Breastfeeding Break – In order to breastfeed the child, even if resulting from adoption, until the child reaches 6 (six) months of age, the employee shall be entitled, during the working day, to 2  breaks of 30 minutes each.   

     

    The payment is made by the employer to the pregnant employee and reimbursed by the National Social Security. An employer can grant an additional 60 days of paid maternity leave and recover that paid amount from tax benefits granted by the federal government.  Art 391-400 of the Consolidated Labor Code.

     

    Paternity Leave

    A male employee is entitled up to 5 days paid parental leave for birth of a child or adoption of a child. An employer can grant a employee an additional 15 days paid paternity leave, although the benefit will only be valid for those who work in companies registered in the government program that grants tax discounts, so as to recover the paid amount from tax benefits. In cases of an adopted child, the employee remains entitled to paternity leave. Temporary Constitutional Provisions Act, art. 10.

     

    Sick Leave

    Duration of Sick Leave: An employee has the right to paid time off in the event of illness or injury, provided that they give a medical certificate stating the number of days that they must be absent from work.

     

    Pay – The first 15 days of time off are paid by the employer, at the usual salary rate. After the first 15 days of time is over and further days off are paid through fixed rates by the National Institute of Social Security (INSS) (a governmental institution). There is no entitlement to unpaid time since, in all the cases of illness and injury, employees are entitled to paid time off. Art 129-138 Law no. 1,535.

     

    Training Leave

    An employment agreement may be suspended for a period of two to five months for training program purposes, as long as the training suspension is provided for in the applicable collective bargaining agreement, and the employee expressly consents to it. During the period, the employee is not paid; however, the employer may provide the employee with financial aid. 

     

    Other Paid Leave

    The employee may take paid leave of absence for the below reason: 

    • Employees are entitled to 3 days of paid leave for marriage. 
    • The employee is entitled to 2 days of paid bereavement leave if a spouse, parent, child, sibling or other dependent dies.
    • 5 consecutive days, in the case of the birth of a child, adoption or shared custody
    • 1 day, in case of birth of a child during the first week of employment
    • 1 day, every 12 (twelve) months of work, in case of duly proven voluntary blood donation;
    • Up to 2 consecutive days or not, for the purpose of registering voters
    • The period of time in which the employee has to comply with the requirements of the Military Service 
    • On the days in which they are carrying out entrance exams for admission to a higher education institution
    • For as long as necessary, when he has to appear in court for court or jury duty.
    • For as long as is necessary, when, as a representative of a trade union entity, he is participating in an official meeting of an international organization of which Brazil is a member. 
    • Up to 2 days to follow up on medical appointments and complementary exams during the pregnancy period of the employee’s wife or partner;  
    • 1 day per year to accompany a child up to 6 years old for a medical appointment.    
    • Up to 3 days, in every 12 months of work, in case of duly proven cancer-preventive exams. 

    Art 473 of the Consolidated Labor Code.

    Disclaimer: The material provided above is for informational purposes only and is subject to change. We endeavor to keep all material up-to-date and correct but make no representations about the information's completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Laws vary by jurisdiction and are subject to change and interpretation based on individual factors that may differ between organizations. The material is not meant to constitute legal advice and we suggest you seek the advice of legal counsel in connection with any of the information presented.