Juliana Mello

Juliana Mello

The Brazil Business


Overtime in Brazil

Juliana Mello

Juliana Mello

The Brazil Business


Overtime is common practice used by companies in Brazil. According to the International Stress Management Association (Isma-BR), which surveyed workers from all categories, the workload in the country is increasing every year, decade after decade. Today, the working time varies from 50 to 54 hours per week, going against the maximum 44 hours per week allowed by law.

There is a true culture of overtime here in Brazil. Basically, there are three aspects leading Brazilian employees to work beyond their shifts. First, comes the money ambitious professionals, who use and abuse of overtime in order to accumulate more money (and not just the lower class, but the executives rely on that premise). In second, comes the fear of unemployment, which leads people to work beyond the expected, in order to impress their bosses for the “hard-work” attitude.

And finally, comes a cultural aspect. Brazilians working fluidity has its own pace. Picture that employees arrive to work, sip their coffees, chat with the coworkers, organize their things and there it goes a fraction of their shift. In the biggest cities, you can count with delays too, because of the traffic and the poor public transportation. But, this has nothing to do with laziness (sorry, sometimes it has) or lack of productivity, it is just that some Brazilian workers prefer to do things in their own rhythm, even if that means, going away after the head.

At the same time, companies use the overtime resource to increase production without incurring the cost of new hires, after all, employing a worker is almost double base salary because of additional mandatory taxes, benefits and contributions. That way, paying overtime to the employee sometimes become more worthwhile than hiring new personnel.

Overtime Legislation in Brazil

The Constitution and the Brazilian Labor Laws say that the duration of a normal workday must not exceed eight hours or forty four hours per week. Beyond this time, every minute configures overtime.

The remuneration of the extraordinary service has to be at least 50% superior than the regular service. Also, the Labor Laws establish that employees are allowed to work only two extraordinary hours, and that has to be done through a written agreement between employer and employee, or by collective bargaining agreement. This agreement will determine the value of the overtime hour.

It is worth mentioning that CLT also talks about the so-called Bank of Hours. It works like this: employees may be dispensed of the increase in their salaries if, under a written agreement or collective bargaining agreement, the excess hours worked get compensated by a corresponding decrease in another day. But the accumulated hours cannot exceed the sum of hours worked per week, in the maximum period of one year, or exceed the maximum limit of ten accumulated hours per day.

Employees subject to part-time work (maximum of twenty hours per week), cannot do overtime.

Brazilian overtime calculation

(Considering a 220 working hours per month, a wage of BRL 1200, and an agreement between employer and employee establishing that the extraordinary hours will value 50% more than the regular hours)

(=) Wage................................................. BRL 1.200

( :) Monthly journey ..................................220 hours

(=) Hourly wage .......................................BRL 5,45

(=) Hourly wage........................................ BRL 5,45

(x ) Overtime ........................................... 50% = BRL 2.27

(=) Hourly wage + Overtime ..................... BRL 8,18

Executives that never leave their phones ? Now it can be overtime!

In January 2012, President Dilma Rouseff enacted a law establishing that “the use of phone or e-mail for the contact between companies and employees are equal, for legal orders, to the ones given directly to employees in the workplace”.

The text suggests that employees who make or receive work phone calls or e-mails outside their workplace are doing overtime. And if that configures overtime than companies must pay for it. Good news for the people who never let go their corporate smartphones!

Actually, there is still a big confusion about the subject, the legal entities are not yet in agreement on how to proceed. The fact is that the text of the law equates the situations work both inside and outside the company, ensuring all labor rights for the employee who makes home office for example, who should also be paid overtime.

The text should also apply to professionals that work on call, such as doctors, engineers, night watchers, drivers etc. According to the new law, these people should get their overtime paid as well.

Other related content: