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Brazilian employment law

In Brazil, Labour Law is protective of employees. Some basic principles implicitly or expressly provided by Law will govern any employment relationship in Brazil.

The most relevant principles are: (a) prevalence of facts: in the determination of labour consequences, the relevant facts surrounding an employment relationship will prevail over formal documents; (b) prohibition of detrimental changes: employers are prevented from making changes to employment terms and conditions that are detrimental to employees, whether or not the employee has previously consented with the change; and (c) joint liability (group of companies): companies belonging to a group of legal entities under the same control, direction or management are jointly liable for the obligations of any company belonging to such group with respect to employment relationships.

Key Points

  • The most common practice is hiring workers as employees.
  • Employment agreements in Brazil are usually for indefinite term; fixed term employment agreements are only allowed in specific situations.
  • All companies and employees are mandatorily represented by Unions.
  • Employments are at will, meaning that any party may terminate the employment agreement without cause upon mandatory prior notice and payment of the severance.
  • Work permits must be requested whenever a foreigner wants to work in Brazil.

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