The Brazilian consolidation of labor laws known in Brazil as Consolidação das Leis do Trabalho or simply CLT is the major legislation regulating labor activities in the country. It was issued in 1943 by Getúlio Vargas, President of Brazil. Recent legislative changes have strengthened the countries labor laws by affording greater protections to workers.
Hours & Pay Regulations
The Consolidated Labor Law (CLT) provides that the maximum weekly working journey in Brazil is of 44 hours per week or 8 hours per day. Differentiations may exist through an autonomous bargaining or collective labor convention.
Employees who work outside the employer’s establishment and those who occupy a management position are not subject to working time limitations. In addition, specific restrictions apply to specific types of workers:
- People who work in continuous rotational shift.
- Telephone Operators
- Bank Workers
- Air Service Employees
- Some apprentices
- Radio Broadcasters
Federal Constitution, 1998, art. 7, part XIII; Art 58 Law No. 10.243, dated 6.6.2001 and Law No. 13,467/2017
Collective Bargaining Agreements
Collective Bargaining Agreements prevail over the law when they provide for the following matters:
- Working hours;
- Annual banking of hours;
- Intra-day interval, observing the minimum requirement of 30 minutes;
- Working remotely, intermittent work and stand-by work;
- Productivity compensation;
- Registration of working hours regime;
- Holidays exchange, etc.
Law No. 13,467/2017
The regular 8 hours working day may be extended by 2 hours per day, being the employees entitled to a premium rate of at least 50% of their usual hour value for each worked overtime hour during the week and to a premium rate of at least 100% for each worked overtime hour on Sundays and holidays.
Employed persons are permitted to (and frequently do) forego part of earned overtime premiums in exchange for alterations in the workweek. For example, many factory workers work 2 hours daily over the regular 8-hour day for a 5-day week totaling 50 hours. In such cases, they have 2 weekly rest days instead of 1 and collect overtime premium for only 2 hours, which is the time worked in excess of the statutory 48-hour workweek. Federal Constitution, 1998, art. 7, part XIII; Art 59 Provisional Measure No. 2164-41 of 2001.
Night work is defined as work performed between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m for urban areas. Employees who work during night hours are entitled to receive an additional payment of at least 20% of the worked hour value. Minors are prohibited from performing night work. 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. Art 73 Decree-Law No. 9,666, 28.8.1946.
Between 2 working days, employees must be granted 11 hours for rest. If the daily work period is extended to 12 hours, it must be followed by 36 hours of uninterrupted rest. Employees are entitled to provide 24 hours paid weekly rest, preferably on Sundays.
Every employee whose working day exceeds 6 hours is entitled to a 1-hour paid break during the day.
Employers that fail to grant this rest break must pay workers a 50 percent wage premium for the hour that was supposed to be a break. When an employee is working 4 to 6 hours, they are entitled to 15 minutes break. Art 66-71 Law No. 229 of 28.2.1967 and Law No. 13,467/2017.
Breast Feeding Break
The female employee who is a mother can take up to 2.5 hours for a nursing break until the child reaches 6 months of age. Art 392-393 of Law 10.421, 15.4.2002.
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.
Employees are generally entitled to the following eight national holidays:
- New Year’s Day (January 1)
- Tiradentes (April 1)
- Labor Day (May 1)
- Independence Day (September 7)
- Our Lady of Aparecida Day (October 12)
- All Souls Day (November 2)
- Assumption Day (August 15)
- All Saints Day (November 1)
- Proclamation of the Republic Day (November 15)
- Christmas Day (December 25)
Brazil also recognizes the following optional holidays and optional partial holidays:
- Carnival (the two days before Ash Wednesday)
- Ash Wednesday (44 days before Good Friday)
- Good Friday (two days before Easter)
- Corpus Christi (on a Thursday about two months after Easter)
- Public Service Day (October 28)
- Christmas Eve (December 24 after 2 p.m.)
- New Year’s Eve (December 31 after 2 p.m.)
Employees who are required to work on a public holiday are entitled to double pay. Federal Law No. 605/1949, art. 9.
In Brazil, any worker has the right to 30 days of paid vacation per year. Such vacation can be annual, a period set by the employer for each individual or collective vacation for the whole company or just to some sectors of it.
The main condition that workers must follow to have the right to 30 day-vacations is to not have more than five unjustified absences in a year. If this happens, the vacation days are decreased as follows:
|Unjustified Absence||Days of Leave|
|6 to 14||24|
|15 to 23||18|
|24 to 32||12|
Art 129-138 Law no. 1,535, dated 13.4.1977; Law No. 13,467/2017.
The national minimum wage is 954 reals per month. A company that has hired an employee with a salary based on the minimum wage is not required to increase that employee’s pay if the minimum wage is later increased. Similarly, collective bargaining agreements may not include automatic cost-of-living increases in pay.
Employees working under dangerous conditions—such as those requiring contact with explosives, flammable materials or electricity are eligible for a 30 percent increase in their base salaries. Brazil’s states are permitted to establish and enforce minimum wages that are higher than the national minimum wage and may do so for some industry sectors but not others. Consolidated Labor Code, 1943, No. 5,452, arts. 73, 193.
A pregnant employee is entitled to 120 days paid maternity leave. 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. The employer is not allowed to terminate a pregnant employee from the period when her pregnancy is confirmed until 5 months after delivery. In cases of an adopted child, the employee remains entitled to maternity leave. Art 392-393 of Law 10.421, 15.4.2002.
A male employee is entitled up to 5 days paid parental leave. In 2016 paternity leave was extended paternity leave from five days to 20 days for employees who work for companies enrolled in the Citizen Company Program (Program Empresa Cidadã). In order to benefit from extended paternity leave, eligible employees must request the extension no more than two business days following the child’s birth and provide a certificate verifying that they have attended a paternity orientation program. Employees who apply for extended paternity leave may not perform any remunerated activity during the leave period, and the parents must be the child’s primary caretakers. Employees’ salary during the 15-day extension is paid by the employer. In cases of an adopted child, the employee remains entitled to paternity leave. Temporary Constitutional Provisions Act, art. 10; Law No. 13,257, of March 8, 2016.
In Brazil, 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. 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 because in all the cases of illness an injury, employees are entitled to paid time off. Art 129-138 Law no. 1,535, dated 13.4.1977.
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. Provisional Measure No. 2.16441.
Employees are entitled to 3 days of paid leave for marriage. Consolidated Labor Code, 1943, No. 5,452, art. 473.
The employee is entitled to 2 days of paid bereavement leave if a spouse, parent, child, sibling or other dependent dies. Consolidated Labor Code, 1943, No. 5,452, art. 473.
All employees are entitled to leave of one day per year to attend medical appointments with their children until the children reach six years of age. In addition, male employees are entitled to up to two days per year to accompany their wife to medical appointments during the wife’s pregnancy. Art 473 Law no. 13.257, dated March 8, 2016.
*For more information on Brazil Labor Law, kindly refer to the Global Compliance Blog Post published on June 10, 2018.
Last updated on: August 27th, 2019