Holiday leave and vacation are guaranteed by law in Brazil; this article will explain a little more about the different existing types of vacations and holidays in the country
All aspects of working rights and benefits in Brazil are gathered up in one document: Consolidação das Leis Trabalhistas (CLT, or Consolidation of the Labor Laws). This includes legislation regarding weekly rest, vacation, holidays and paid leave.
In most cases, companies must obligatorily allow days off during holidays and annual vacations. These are usually granted and set up by the employers.
Within CLT, there are two types of vacations: annual and collective. There are also national, state and municipality holidays. Rules may vary according to the employee’s job and work location, which is the reason why there is so much confusion about this subject in Brazil.
In Brazil, any worker has the right to 30 days of paid vacation per year. Such vacation can be annual - a period set by the employer for each individual - or collective - vacation for the whole company or just to some sectors of it.
The main condition that workers must follow to have the right to 30 day-vacations is to not have more than five unjustified absences in a year. If this happens, the vacation days are decreased as follows:
- 24 days, if the employee had from 6 to 14 unjustified absences
- 18 days, if the employee had from 15 to 23 unjustified absences
- 12 days, if the employee had from 24 to 32 unjustified absences
- none, if the employee had more than 32 unjustified absences in a year
CLT states that a company can consider as unjustified any absence that does not fit the following:
- In the case of the death of spouse, ascendants, descendants, siblings or any economic dependents, the employee can miss two consecutive days
- If an employee gets married, it is possible to miss three consecutive days
- If an employee’s child is born, it is possible to miss five workdays during the baby’s first week of life
- In case of blood donation, a worker can miss one workday in a 12-month period
- Employees can miss up to two workdays if they list themselves as a voter
- Absences that happened due to military service
- Absences that happened while the worker was doing vestibular (Brazilian test to enter college)
- Absences that happened while the worker was attending court
By law, vacations in Brazil are remunerated: employees must receive the wage corresponding to that period plus an additional one-third of salary no later than two days before the vacation is initialized.
After each 12 month period, workers have the right to annual vacation. The employer is the one responsible for selecting the vacation period, but commonly both parties come to an agreement.
Employees have the right to get a vacation bonus instead of taking leave from work. This means that up to 10 days of vacation can be converted in actual money. This is the worker’s right and cannot be denied by the employer.
Many companies in Brazil prefer to grant collective vacation instead of arranging individual periods for each employee. The employer can concede two periods of collective vacation per year, and both of them must be of at least 10 days.
Companies willing to concede collective vacation must notify the Ministry of Labor at least 15 days in advance. For those employees that have worked for less than 12 months in the company, vacation will be granted proportionally.
It is possible to replace collective vacation for a vacation bonus, but an agreement must be set between the employer and the respective labor union.
According to Brazilian law, its is forbidden to make employees work during national and local holidays, unless the job on that day is considered essential for the operation of the company. If this is the case, companies must either grant a compensatory day off or pay double the salary for that day.
In Brazil there are various types of holidays: the local ones, which include the city’s anniversary or other specific dates; and there are also national holidays, granted to every worker in the whole country. The Brazilian national holidays are:
- January 1st - New Year’s Day, also known in Brazil as Confraternização Universal
- April 21st - Tiradentes
- May 1st - Labor Day
- September 7th - Independence Day
- October 12th - Our Lady of Aparecida Day (also Children’s Day)
- November 2nd - Day of the Dead, known as Finados
- November 15th - Proclamation of the Republic
- December 25th - Christmas
Traditionally, there are other holidays considered national or at least celebrated in the vast majority of states, although they do not have a fixed date. They are:
- Carnival, or Carnaval, that antecedes the catholics’ lent; it is celebrated on the Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday
- Holy Friday, or Sexta-feira Santa, which is celebrated on the Friday prior to Easter
- Corpus Christi, celebrated on the Thursday after the Trinity Sunday
The same conditions that are valid for national holidays are also applied to state and municipal holidays; the main difference is that if an employee works in a company which is not affected by local holidays, no paid leave must be conceded. For example, Black Awareness Day, or Dia da Consciência Negra, is a holiday in the city of São Paulo, but not in Taboão da Serra, a neighboring municipality. If an individual resides in São Paulo and works at a factory in Taboão da Serra, they would work as normal on Black Awareness Day.