Employment Law in Brazil: a Guide

If you are doing business in Brazil, or planning to enter the market, understanding and navigating Brazilian employment law will be essential to maintaining your good reputation with local authorities, while also maximizing your chances of success in Latin America’s largest economy.

A map of some key cities in Brazil, where investors will need to understand employment law
A map of Brazil and some key cities

Employment law in Brazil is similar in many ways to laws found in other regional markets, however it also has its own idiosyncrasies to navigate. That means you will want to secure the services of reliable corporate legal counsel in Brazil with a history of helping investors do business in the market.

For anyone intending a shorter-term operation, or who only needs a limited number of employees, hiring via a professional employer organization (PEO) in Brazil can be a good option — with the service allowing you to avoid company formation and liquidation, as well as guaranteeing compliance with local employment law.

A quick guide to employment law in Brazil is provided below, including standard working hours, the most common types of contracts you will be giving to employees, leave allowances for different circumstances, and statutory contributions for both employees and employers.

If you are interested in understanding more about how we can help you navigate employment law in Brazil, as well as many other aspects of doing business in the country, contact us today.

Standard hours set out by Brazilian employment law

According to employment law in Brazil, a standard working day is eight hours long, while a working week should be no longer 44 hours, with a working month totally 220 hours. 

Overtime hours are allowed, however they should be limited to two hours per day. 

There are 12 national holidays in Brazil over the course of a calendar year, while the country’s 26 states have a number of their own holidays.

Employment law in Brazil: main contract types

There are four main types of contract that are used in Brazil, which are used based on the nature of the job someone is hired for.

A stock image of someone signing paperwork, representing one of the four main types of contract under employment law in Brazil
There are four main types of employment contract in Brazil
  1. Indefinite-term employment contract
    This is the most common type of contract used in Brazil, under which no set period of work is established. Under the terms of such a contract, should the employer terminate the contract, the employee is entitled to receive an indemnification payment equal to one month of salary.
  2. Definite-term employment contract
    A definite-term contract can last for up to two years and is applicable under the following conditions:
    1. The nature of the service justifies the predetermination of the period of employment
    2. The business activity is of a temporary or transitory nature
    3. For probation agreements

Note that when such a contract ends, the employer does not need to pay for indemnified notice

  1. Temporary employment contract
    A temporary employment contract can only be used for particular types of work or roles that warrant them. Examples include seasonal work or cover for maternity leave or other types of extended leave periods.
  1. Intermittent employment contract
    An intermittent contract is provided for work that involves an irregular and ad-hoc working schedule, and for which the employee is paid on an hourly basis according to the needs of the employer. As such, an intermittent contract does not include a fixed salary.

Vacations, leave, and other absences under Brazilian law

After 12 months of working for the same company, employees are entitled to 30 days of leave over the following year. That allowance may be split into up to three separate vacation periods, which must be agreed with the employer. According to employment law in Brazil, one of those vacation periods must last for at least 14 consecutive calendar days, while any others must last at least five calendar days. Such leave is paid at an elevated rate equal to the normal salary, plus one third of the salary.

Sick leave
Employers are obliged to pay up to 14 days of sick leave as long as the employee has received authorization from a registered doctor. After that period, authorized sick leave will be paid by the National Institute for Social Security (INSS) agency for up to two years. 

Employees in Brazil receive leave for marriage

Maternity and paternity leave
In Brazil, maternity leave totals four months, or 120 days, which can be extended to 180 days, and is paid by the INSS. Paternity leave totals five days, but may be extended to up to 20 days.

Employment law in Brazil allows for paid bereavement leave in the event of the death of an employee’s parent, sibling, spouse, or child. Bereavement leave in each case totals two days. 

Marriage leave
Under Brazilian employment law, an employee is entitled to three days of paid leave when they get married.

Blood donation
Employees are entitled to take one day of paid leave every 12 months in order to donate blood, but must provide evidence of having made the donation.

Statutory contributions under Brazilian employment law

Employee deductions
Income tax deductions vary from 0% TO 27.5% based on salary, with the highest band being any salary above approximately $885 per month. Social security deductions similarly vary from 7.5% to 14%.

Employer contributions
Under employment law in Brazil, employers must make a contribution to the INSS that equals 26.8% of an employee’s salary, as well as a further 8% towards the government’s indemnity fund.

Under certain circumstances, the employer is also required to provide transport and meal allowances, while for some jobs employee’s are entitled to have certain benefits covered, such as health and life insurance.

Biz Latin Hub can assist you doing business in Brazil

At Biz Latin Hub, our multilingual team of business support specialists is available to assist you launching and operating in Brazil. We have a comprehensive portfolio of back office solutions, including company formation, accounting & taxation, and hiring & PEO, meaning we can provide a tailored package of integrated services to suit every need.

Whether you need help navigating employment law in Brazil, or doing business there or in any of the other 17 markets in Latin America and the Caribbean where we provide services, contact us now to discuss how we can support you.

Or learn about our team and expert authors.

Download this snapshot of employment law in Brazil below:

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