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Lula Reelected Brazil’s President, Labor Reform Expected

Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, elected to be the next president of Brazil, represents the return of the left into power, albeit in a much more divided country. 

The former trade unionist and ex-president promised to revise the 2017 labor reform, but likely will not have enough political leverage to completely repeal it. His primary goals on labor and employment will be to strengthen collective bargaining and promote union density, gender pay equity, and platform worker regulations. 

Lula will likely focus on the following labor and employment policy areas:

  1. Regulating platform and gig workers to help manage their working hours and guarantee paid weekly rest.

  2. Allowing unions to decide on workers’ contributions, without overturning the 2017 labor reforms or making union fees mandatory again. However, it remains unclear how much the dues would be and how a union would collect them.

  3. Changing intermittent and temporary work rules to tighten conditions for the use of temporary contracts and strengthen collective bargaining. The new administration could incorporate provisions in Spain’s labor reform to restrict companies from using temporary contracts.

  4. Revoking the obligation to pay court costs and lawyer fees if the employee loses a case, a change made by the 2017 labor reform.

  5. Promoting gender pay equity.

Outlook: The former president and now president-elect is facing a country that is politically more polarized and financially more unstable than during his previous terms. His priorities will be uniting the nation and working with a Brazilian Congress that is dominated by supporters of Bolsonaro, the soon-to-be-former president. Despite his long-term experience and passion for the labor movement, Lula is not likely to be able to pass aggressive labor reforms. 


Published on: November 4, 2022

Authors: Wenchao Dong

Topics: Employment Law, Latin America

Wenchao Dong

Director, Global Affairs, HR Policy Association

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Contact Wenchao Dong LinkedIn

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