The Brazilian government recently amended parts of the Labor Code to make changes to the remote work system that was put in place early in the Covid-19 pandemic. The remote work system was originally designed for employees who worked predominantly outside of the company office, using company systems and information. This work was considered telework, and the labor code was adjusted for employees in this position. As remote and telework has adapted over the last 2 years, the labor code is now being amended again. These new measures are immediately in effect, which doesn’t give employers time to react and adjust to the new provisions.
What is the Impact to Employers?
The biggest change is that remote work was previously exempt from the laws governing working hours. With the new changes, only jobs based on tasks or production are exempt. All other regular jobs based on working hours are not exempt. Companies with more than 20 employees will have to implement electronic timekeeping systems for non-exempt employees if there was not one already in place. In addition, these new timekeeping measures will have to be approved by the employee unions.
Working Hours Control
In Brazil, working hours control is in place for employees hired by the hour (hourly or monthly). Employees who work on remote work systems, who provide services by production or tasks are exempt from working hours control. Companies will have to pay overtime if non-exempt employees work more than their standard hours. If work is performed remotely during “off-hours” it will now be considered overtime. Some employers are considering shutting down access after-hours so employees cannot access company systems and work during off time.
Who Qualifies for Remote Work?
Companies can create individual agreements with employees regarding working hours and communication, as long as legal rest periods for meals, etc. are guaranteed. Remote work systems can also be created for interns or apprentices, and companies must prioritize telework/remote work for employees with disabilities and employees with children younger than 4 years old.
Any collective bargaining agreement applicable to employees working in a telework or remote work system must be linked to the company location or office. If an employee chooses to telework at a different location than the company office, the employer is not responsible for any expenses arising from the employee returning to work. The law also applies to employees hired in Brazil who choose to telework or remote work outside of Brazil.
To learn more about payroll and HR compliance in Brazil, click here