Brazilian Labor Code Changes in 2020

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The Brazilian Labor Code has undergone more than hundred changes since it was first enacted in 1943. The most recent changes strive to simplify labor procedures and protect the employees, especially amid the coronavirus crisis. The article covers the most important aspects of Brazil’s Employment Law in 2020.

Consolidation of Labor Laws
The Labor Code in Brazil is locally known as Consolidação das Leis do Trabalho (CLT) or Consolidation of Labor Laws in English. It contains the basic principles regarding employer and employee relations in the country. However, several complementary rules and regulations, including Collective Bargaining Agreements, also play a part in governing labor relations to some extent.

Who is Covered Under the Labor Code?
The Brazilian Labor Code and the protection it offers, does not cover certain types of workers. This includes elected officers, independent workers, and some service providers, especially those working on a contractual basis.

Alternatively, the Code guarantees special protection to selected workers under employment legislation. This includes employees who are:

  • Directors of Labor Unions
  • Suffering from work-related injuries (or even specific diseases that may not necessarily be labor-related)
  • Serving on the Labor Accident Prevention Committee as elected representatives of the group of workers
  • Expecting a child

Mandatory Documentation
All workers in Brazil must record the terms of their employment contracts properly so that they can submit it to the relevant authorities whenever required.

Employers, on the other hand, must not only maintain detailed records of each employee, but also submit it annually to labor authorities in a specific electronic file format. This data is needed to generate the Annual Report of Social Information.

Labor Law Updates in Brazil Due to COVID-19
In March, the Federal Government released a Provincial Measure (MP) plan that modified a series of rules and regulation to protect both companies and their staff during the ongoing pandemic. The MP basically gives employers the right to form individual policies that can take a limited degree of precedence over the legal framework. Employers can create private agreements to allow their employees to:

  • Work remotely even if the office space is open
  • Suspend administrative work for health and safety purposes
  • Follow special hours compensation scheme later on due to impacted working hours in the current situation

Moreover, the Senate also approved a bill that promises a grant of R$ 600 (US$ 116) to workers as Emergency Aid. The financial relief is double – i.e., R$ 1,200 (US$ 232) – for working mothers supporting their families. Since April, the benefits of the Emergency Employment Aid have also been extended to teenage mothers and single men who are the sole bread earners of their households.

Leave Laws
According to recent changes in the Labor Code, any worker diagnosed with COVID-19 has a right to a medical leave for 14 days. During this time, they will be eligible to receive all job benefits as usual, except for transport vouchers.

Since paid leaves are determined at a company’s discretion, employers in Brazil can grant collective holidays to some or all of their workers. However, the respective employees must be notified at least 48 hours prior to the commencement of leave.

All in all, the updates to the Brazil Employment Law in 2020 give more flexibility to the employers and employees to negotiate their work conditions.


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