Last updated on: April 27th, 2022
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. 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 determine 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.
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, in relation to employees who perform, in the same functions, full-time. Art 58 of the Consolidated Labor Code.
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. Art 41, 74 of the Consolidated Labor Code.
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.
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, which is the work performed between 10.00 pm and 5.00 am. For purposes of calculating night work, each completed hour corresponds to 52 minutes and 30 seconds, which means a seven-hour period of work at night is equal to eight hours of work in day hours.
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. Art 59-60 of the Consolidated Labor Code.
Every employee whose working day exceeds 6 hours is entitled to a 1-hour paid break during the day. When an employee is working 4 to 6 hours, they are entitled to a 15 minutes break.
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. In services that require work on Sundays, with the exception of 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 a compensatory time off in lieu. Art 9 Law nº 605/49.
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
- May 1: Labor Day
- Sept. 7: Independence Day
- Oct. 12: Our Lady of Aparecida Day
- 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.
Employees are entitled to 30 calendar days of annual leave, but only after they have completed 12 months of work for the employer. The annual leave must be taken within 12 months after it accrues.
The main condition that employees must follow to have the right to 30 day-vacations is to not have more than 5 unjustified absences in a year. Otherwise, the vacation days are decreased as follows:
- 30 calendar days when the employee was absent for no more than 5 days;
- 24 calendar days when the employee was absent between 6 and 14 days;
- 18 calendar days when the employee was absent between 15 and 23 days; and
- 12 calendar days when the employee was absent between 24 and 32 days.
Provided that the employee agrees, vacations may be taken in up to 3 periods, one of which cannot be less than 14 calendar days and the others cannot be less than 5 calendar days each. Employees shall not start vacations in the period of 2 days preceding a holiday or paid weekly rest days.
Holiday Pay – Holiday pay is based on an employee’s monthly salary. Employers shall provide one-third of an employee’s monthly salary as a holiday bonus. In case the employee does not take the holiday within 12 months following the accrual period, the employer shall pay double remuneration during annual leave.
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. Art 129-143 Consolidated Labor Code.
Effective January 1, 2022, the national minimum wage in Brazil is BRL 1,212 per month.
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.
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 additional 60 days of paid maternity leave and recover that paid amount from tax benefits granted by the federal government. In cases of an adopted child, the employee remains entitled to the same maternity leave provisions. Art 391-400 of the Consolidated Labor Code.
A male employee is entitled to up to 5 days of paid parental leave. An employer can grant an additional 15 days of paid paternity leave and recover the paid amount from tax benefits granted by the federal government. In cases of an adopted child, the employee remains entitled to paternity leave. Temporary Constitutional Provisions Act, art. 10.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
*For more information on Brazil Labor Law, kindly refer to the Global Compliance Blog Post published on June 10, 2018.