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.

By Pedro Souza
April 23, 2017

As one of the largest economies in the world, there are plenty opportunities for doing business in Brazil. As Brazilians are highly social people, they enjoy doing business personally, which means you might have to deal with face-to-face meetings. There are, however, some cultural differences you should be aware of when conducting business in Brazil. With this in mind, we have compiled some tips for you:

1. If you are introduced to a potential business partner through a mutual acquaintance, he will generally feel more comfortable and be more willing to negotiate. This is a good thing to keep in mind.

2. In Brazilian business culture, personal relationships and business often mix with each other. Sometimes it might take you befriending someone and earning that person’s trust before you conduct any actual business.

3. Another thing to be aware of is that there is a thin line between friendliness and professionalism that should be respected. This will take good social instincts and some common sense.

4. Learn some Portuguese phrases before you attend a meeting. Even if you fail at communicating properly in Portuguese, your effort will be appreciated and will earn you some points.

5. Avoid confrontation during business meetings. If you have to criticize someone, do it in a non-confrontational way.

6. Brazilians will usually engage in small talk and socialize for a few minutes before business meetings. This might be frustrating to people that want to get straight to the point, but it is a good opportunity to gauge your potential business partners.

7. Brazilians dress well and formally on business meeting, so you should do too. Women usually wear feminine suits and dresses, while men wear dark suits. Lighter colored suits are acceptable in summer. Three-piece suits are usually worn by executive workers, while office workers prefer two-piece suits.

8. Don’t be frustrated if you are kept waiting when going to a meeting. In Brazil, there is a certain tolerance for arriving late at meetings and other occasions. That being said, you should avoid being late.

9. Be prepared for dealing with physical contact. Brazilians are touchy-feely people, and might pat you on the back or place a hand in your elbow or shoulder. If you draw away from contact, it might be interpreted as nervousness.

10. Despite the formal dress code, Brazilians are quite informal. Conversations take a casual tone, with jokes being common as well.

11. When greeting, men shake hands firmly. Women greet each other with a kiss in the cheek and greet men with a handshake. Usually, a woman extends her hand first when greeting a man. Another thing to remember when people are introducing themselves is that Brazilians are usually introduced by their first name.

12. When engaging in small talk, it is recommended to avoid talking about politics. Politics in Brazil is highly polarized, and Brazilians are very sensitive when it comes to hearing criticism of Brazil from foreigners.

13. In Brazil, meetings should be scheduled at least two weeks in advance. It is also considered good form to confirm the meeting one or two days before it takes place.