By Pedro Souza
April 23, 2017
Despite the economic crisis, there are plenty of work opportunities in Brazil for foreigners. If you are thinking of working here, however, there are a few things you should know about the Brazilian labor legislation. The first thing you should be aware of if that in theory, you need a work permit from the Brazilian Ministry of Labor before you can get a job. To get a permit, you need to be sponsored by an employer before you enter the country. This can be tricky in practice, as some employers are not willing to pay the government a fine of more than R$ 2000 and to hire and train a replacement for you, which are the requirements for the permit.
Another thing that is important to know, is that foreigners are eligible for labor rights. In order to get access to these benefits, one first needs to acquire a CTPS (Carteira de Trabalho e Previdência Social). The CTPS is a workbook that keeps track of a worker’s jobs and employers, as well as granting him access to benefits such as unemployment insurance and social security benefits among other things. If a foreigner has a temporary, working or permanent visa, he can apply for a CTPS at a regional office of labor and employment.
In Brazil, there are two types of workdays. One consists of a six hour shift, while the other is an 8 hour long workday with a lunchbreak of 1-2 hours. Six hour shifts are usually coordinated so they end around lunchtime or start after lunch, but this is not always the case. If you are on a six hour shift and work less than 6 hours, you will be paid in proportion to how much you work. If you work more than six hours, you will be paid 6 hours plus an overtime. While workers are expected to work up to 44 hours a week, most companies demand 40 hours of weekly work.
The minimum wage in Brazil is R$788,00 at the moment, and is applied both to 8 hour journeys and 6 hour shifts. Companies must pay wages to their workers by the 5th day of the month. Every year employees also get paid a 13th salary, which must be paid by the 15th of December. Employers cannot pay different wages based on gender, race or religion, but they can choose to offer productivity bonuses.
Workers have to deposit 8% of their earnings into a savings account known as FGTS (Fundo de Garantia do Tempo de Serviço). The money deposited into the FGTS can be used to buy or build a house, or it can be redeemed to the employee if he gets laid off. If an employee gets fired without reason, his employer has to add 10% of what he has already accumulated to his savings.
There is also a public pension fund known as INSS (Instituto Nacional do Seguro Social). Everyone must contribute 20% of their wage to it, and it pays a retirement pension for anyone that has worked at least 35 years or has become incapacitated by work. The INSS also pays for sick leaves.
Women are allowed a maternal leave paid by the INSS starting the 7th month of pregnancy. After the leave, they must be accepted back at the same position with the right to the same wage as before. Men get a week of paternity leave when the child is born. This leave is paid by the employer and then reimbursed by the INSS. If a worker has a small salary, he also gets a bonus of R$37,18 when he has a child.