Brazilian employees are used to several benefits, from health insurance to higher education. Learn how Brazilians find their way to take advantage of initiatives created to improve their own working conditions.
In Brazil, employers have to afford the transportation of every employee living more than 1km away from his workplace. So at the moment the employee is hired, he is required to explain how is he going to make it to the workplace, so that the employer can figure out how much the employee will cost in terms of transportation.
What happens very often is that an employee who walks to the train station will claim that he needs a bus to get there. So the company is going to pay for the bus and for the train when, as a matter of fact, he only needs the train and will keep the money originally given to pay for the bus.
Several attempts were created in order to avoid this kind of fraud. One of them was the creation of a ticket that could only be used for public transportation, so that the employee would not receive the benefit in cash. However, it is already possible to sell these cards, even though it is illegal.
Fundo de garantia por tempo de serviço
Fundo de garantia por tempo de serviço – or simply FGTS -, is a collection of resources generated by the private sector (mostly companies) that are managed by Caixa Econômica Federal. Its purpose is to support workers when they are fired, get seriously ill and even for natural disasters.
The amount of money corresponds to one salary a year and, in theory, the employee can only have access to this amount once he is fired. However, what happens very often is to have an agreement between employer and employee in which the employer would pretend to have fired the employee and then hire him back again. This way, the employee would have access to his FGTS money without losing his job.
Every company with employees working more than eight hours a day is obliged to provide him at least one meal. When there is no restaurant in the company, the employer must provide cash or a credit card for his employees' meals. The amount per day varies from BRL 7,00 to BRL 35,00, depending on the company and on the employee's position.
What happens very often is to have the employee bringing food from home and selling the amount deposited in the credit card or spending it with other things. Some companies apply the reimbursement policy. For example, the company will reimburse up to BRL 35,00 per meal. It is not uncommon to have employees spending BRL 15,00 on a meal and asking for the restaurant's owner to issue a receipt stating that he had consumed BRL 35,00. This way, he will keep the extra BRL 20,00 for himself.
Could you fire me, please?
In Brazil, there are three major ways a person can be fired:
- Without “justa causa” – the employer tells his employee that he is no longer happy with his services and decides to fire him. This employee will receive all the benefits he is entitled to, such as Seguro Desemprego, proportional paid vacations, proportional 13th salary and the money he has saved on FGTS.
- With “justa causa” - if the employee has committed a crime against the company or within its dependencies, he will get fired without any rights to the previously mentioned benefits.
- Resignation – the employee comes to the employer and resigns. In this case, he will have no rights to Seguro Desemprego and will only have access to his FGTS money after he has been unemployed for more than three years.
As an attempt to avoid losing all these benefits, Brazilians try to ask their bosses to be fired. It is usually an unofficial agreement between the boss and the employee and it depends greatly on the relationship between the two of them. The employer usually does not even know about the existence of this agreement and the boss will give a neutral excuse to fire the employee.
When the relationship between boss and employee is not good, it is very common to have the employee creating situations that would lead the boss to fire him, such as arriving late, being absent very frequently, refusing to do his job and so forth.
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