The first week of September saw several remote work provisions added to Brazil’s labor codes, including updates to the work from home contracting requirements and food allowances.
Like many countries, Brazil is working to clarify and codify remote work provisions put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a report from Brazilian law firm Demarest, several important changes were codified as part of the country’s labor codes on September 2. With the goal of clarifying how remote work should be approached in individual and collective agreements, the changes are detailed below:
- In defining a telework arrangement, working remotely most of the time (the word used by Demarest is “preponderance”) is no longer a requirement for a work system to qualify as telework. This updated definition allows hybrid work systems to be covered by the labor codes. Thus, setting up hybrid and remote work systems must be included in individual employee contracts.
- Clarifies that only those remote employees hired “by production nor task” are excluded from time control systems.
- Establishes that employees which utilize digital tools (i.e., email) outside of normal working hours does not constitute “time available, readiness, or on-call” arrangements unless it is provided for in the individual contract or CBA.
- A company needs express authorization for teleworking apprentices and interns.
- The local legislation and CBA agreements of a company’s headquarters govern telework arrangements of an employee, regardless of the employee’s location.
- Companies need not reimburse expenses for travel for required office time if an individual is working outside of the agreed upon location, unless otherwise provided for in a contract.
- Priority for telework is given to those with young children or with disabilities.
- Refined the food aid supply contract provisions and clarified questions about discounts and transfer of payments.
HR Policy Global’s Take: Brazil, along with many other countries are just now catching up with the codification of work from home regulations which, out of necessity, were rolled out too quickly during the pandemic for legislative and regulatory mechanisms to handle. One particularly noteworthy change is Brazil’s mandatory inclusion of hybrid or flexible work arrangements in individual employee contracts. Originally only required for those who work remotely the “preponderance” of the time, these provisions may now need to be added to employee contracts.