Minimum Working Conditions
Employees are entitled to the rights established by Federal Constitution, Brazilian labour legislation, including all regulations and supplementary rights set forth by the respective collective bargaining agreement. Individual employment agreements and internal policies may also establish additional rights, which must always be greater than the rights established by law.
As per the Labour Reform, collective bargaining agreements should prevail over law, even when the conditions agreed are worse than the ones established by law, except as they relate to: (i) health and safety rights, (ii) third party rights (i.e. social security contributions) and (iii) labour rights set forth in the Federal Constitution, among other conditions established by law.
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. 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 the 30th of November, and the other half on or before the 20th of December. The national minimum wage (established by law) is currently BRL 1,320.00. Collective bargaining agreements may establish a “professional salary”, a minimum wage for a specific category that 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 can only work 6 hours per day, journalists and musicians can only 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 subject to the limits on working hours under the Labour Code, do not have their working hours controlled, thus are not entitled to overtime payments: (a) employees who perform activities outside of the company’s facilities and wherein those activities as such, are not compatible with defined working hours (called as “external” employees); (b) employees (such as managers) who occupy trust positions (called “cargos de confiança” in Portuguese); and (c) employees who work in a remote work system rendering services by production or task.
Per law, it is possible to negotiate with the Union that represents the employees, an agreement to determine that some positions which do not fit the exceptions above, should also not be subject to working hours control and not entitled to overtime payment. It will be necessary to show to the Union the reasons that justify the exemption condition to such additional positions. Furthermore, it is possible to negotiate an individual agreement about the matter with employees classified as “hipersuficiente” depending on the circumstances of the activities performed.
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 labour claims to request rights related to the employment relationship. Employees may file labour claims while working, or within two years as from the termination date, to claim rights related to the past five years, counted as of the filing date of the claim. 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.