Brazil - HR & HR Software Guide

Country Overview:

Brazil’s economy is the 9th largest in the world with an estimated worth of natural resources being US$ 21.8 trillion. The country’s diverse and open economy has developed flourishing trade relationships with more than 100 different countries. According to the 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, the total foreign direct investment in Brazil was $62.7 billion. The Brazilian government promotes foreign investment in scientific and technological infrastructure. Brazil’s moderate climate, excellent infrastructure, supportive government and wealth of natural resources make it a highly favored destination for foreign investment.


Brazilian Real

Principal Language: 



Federal Constitutional Republic

Capital City: 


Major Cities: 

São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro

The federal constitution establishes “normal working hours” of 8 daily and 44 for every week, unless stated otherwise as part of a collective bargaining agreement. It may be mandatory for employees to work a maximum of 2 overtime hours every day. In an emergency, there may be a need for additional overtime if a specific agreement registered with the Ministry of Labor and Employment.

Workers get the right to 11 hours off in between 2 working days. For every uninterrupted work period lasting 6 hours in a workday, employers need to provide a 1 hour break for rest or a meal. Employers that fail to allow this rest break must compensate workers with a premium of 50% additional wages for the hour that should have been a break.

Employees get 1 day paid off each week, usually on Sunday unless the Ministry of Labor and Employment has given special approval to an employer’s request for carrying out work on Sunday. Underage employees cannot work night shifts.

Overtime Rules

Continuous work hours for more than 8 per day and 44 per week are deemed overtime, unless recommended otherwise in a collective bargaining agreement. Compensation for overtime must be a minimum 50% more than compensation for normal working hours. Employees get the right to double pay for work on holidays and Sundays. The entitlement to overtime pay is not applicable in the case of part-time employees.

Employees can be made to work a maximum of 2 overtime hours a day as the legal limit to the workday is 10 hours. However, the law considers a few exceptional circumstances valid for additional overtime.


Employees are entitled to 8 national holidays:

  • Jan. 1: New Year’s Day
  • April 21: Tiradentes
  • May 1: Labor Day
  • Sept. 7: Independence Day
  • Oct. 12: Our Lady of Aparecida Day
  • Nov. 2: All Souls Day
  • Nov. 15: Proclamation of the Republic Day
  • Dec. 25: Christmas

Brazil also identifies some optional holidays and optional partial holidays, which are:

  • Carnival (2 days prior to Ash Wednesday)
  • Ash Wednesday (44 days prior to Good Friday)
  • Good Friday (2 days before Easter)
  • Corpus Christi (on a Thursday about 2 months after Easter)
  • Oct. 28: Public Service Day (Date finalized according to the ordinance issued by Ministry of Planning)
  • Dec. 24 after 2 p.m.: Christmas Eve
  • Dec. 31 after 2 p.m.: New Year’s Eve

Based on the place of work of employees, they may also get local holidays. If a national holiday falls on a Sunday, employees can take an off on the following Monday.

Annual Leave

Employers need to provide paid annual vacation to employees for up to 30 days, but the exact number of days will be based on the number of unexcused absences that can be attributed to a worker, as follows:

  • Number of days of paid vacation for 5 or lesser unexcused absences: 30 days
  • Number of days of paid vacation for 6 to 14 absences: 24 days
  • Number of days of paid vacation for 15 to 23 absences: 18 days
  • Number of days of paid vacation for 24 to 32 absences: 12 days
  • Number of days of paid vacation for more than 32 absences: None

Vacation pay need to be at least one-third more than the employee’s usual salary. Generally, the vacation need to be taken all at once. Employers need to allow workers to avail their vacation within 12 months of their eligibility or the employers must double their regular pay when employees do take it. An employee may choose to take cash payment in lieu of up to one-third of total days of vacation.

Maternity Leave

Female employees are entitled to get maternity leave for up to 4 months (120 days), including up to a month prior to the due date. This leave can be extended by 2 weeks before or after childbirth based on the medical condition of the mother or child.

Employers need to pay the employee’s last complete salary (or the average of the last 6 months of salary in case of variable pay) as maternity pay — but the same gets reimbursed by the social security system later.

Upon notifying the employer about pregnancy, a female employee cannot be terminated without cause until 5 months after delivery. New mothers are entitled to go on 2 half-hour breaks every day to breast-feed until the child is 6 months old.

Paternity Leave

Fathers can take 5 days of paid paternity leave, and employers cannot discriminate against them for doing so.

Sick Leave

Employees who must stay away from work due to a non-work related injury or sickness are entitled to get their regular salary for the first 15 days of absence from work. If they remain absent longer than that, Social Security will pay the sick leave.

Workers who receive sick leave benefits from social security may need to undergo periodic medical examinations and, if they are unable to perform their job, must participate in vocational rehabilitation as part of their training for a new job. Workers that received sick leave social security benefits cannot be fired for up to 1 year after their return to regular work.

Other Leave

Employees are entitled to 3 days of paid leave for their marriage and 2 days of paid bereavement leave if a spouse, parent, child or sibling or any other dependent passes away.

In Brazil, a comprehensive Social Security system is run by its National Institute of Social Security (the Instituto Nacional do Seguro Social or INSS) under the Ministry of Social Welfare. The system manages contributions to provide for workers’ compensation, pensions, education funds, unemployment insurance, and other welfare provisions. Both employees and employers need to make social security contributions, which vary based on industry type and workplace risk.

Social security also grants benefits in the following areas: survivor pensions, aid for dependents of people who are incarcerated, savings funds, benefits for the elderly and those with disabilities, professional rehabilitation assistance, work accident payments, maternity leave payments, family salary support, and accident insurance and sick leave benefits. The legal age of retirement is 65 for men and 60 for women. To qualify for benefits, male employees need to have completed contributions for at least 35 years, women for a minimum of 30 years.

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