At Work in Rio de Janeiro

Work Usage in Rio de Janeiro

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Working hours are usually between the hours of 8am and 6pm. The Federal Constitution and the Labor Code stipulates that the maximum working week in Brazil is 44 hours, not exceeding eight hours per day. Employees are entitled to a weekly rest of at least 24 hours, which is usually taken on a Sunday. An employee cannot work more than two overtime hours per day since the workday cannot exceed the legal limit of ten hours. The minimum additional overtime pay is 50 percent of the regular hourly rate, but it may be higher if established in a collective agreement. Employers must allow an interval of 11 hours of rest between two working days.


All employees are entitled to up to 30 days holiday after a full year of work with the same employer. Brazilian public holidays are legislated at the federal, statewide and municipal levels. Brazil's strong connection to Catholism has it observing eight Christian holidays.

Federal Holiday

Tiradentes Day (April 21)
Independence Day (September 7)
Proclamation of the Republic Day (November 15)

Observed Religious Holidays

Carnival (forty days before Easter, ending on fat Tuesday)
Ash Wednesday (first day of Lent occurs forty-six days before Easter. It can occur as early as 4 February or as late as 10 March.)
Good Friday (on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday)
Easter (varies between March 22 and April 25)
Corpus Christi (celebrated on the first free Thursday after Paschaltide)
Our Lady of Aparecida Day (October 12)
All Souls Day (November 2)
Christmas (Dec 25)


The minimum monthly wage in Brazil is R$380.

Business Norms

Brazilians prefer for business contacts to also be on friendly terms. Brazilian culture stipulates that to work effectively, people must know each other. This includes meeting face-to-face and treating the individual as more important than the company. Directness can be quite undesirable and foreign businessmen should take care to take interactions slowly and try to get to know their business partners before bringing up the business at hand. Despite the social nature of business, Brazilians insist on drawing up detailed legal contracts.

Brazilian's sense of sociability makes it a group culture and it is extremely important that one is not embarrassed. Favor is bestowed on many male high ranking officials by referring to them as doutor (Doctor). This is simply a honorific title. The culture remains male-dominated with female elementary school teachers sometimes given the familiar title of tia (aunt). First names are also off limits in the work place unless explicitly stated as acceptable. Formal pronouns should be used such as "o senhor" for men and "a senhora" for women.

Dress is also indicative of respect. Brazilians dress to impress and will expect the same in a professional setting. Suits and designer dresses are expected in formal settings with even casual environments being somewhat dressy. For example, jeans are very popular but should be ironed, worn with belts, and without holes or patches.

Disrespecting a college or business partner is also very serious. If an individual was to criticize another, it would cause both parties to lose face. Interrupting someone who is speaking is also seen as disrespectful. Being late, on the other hand, is dealt with much more casually then in other places. Do not misunderstand this lose conception of time as laziness or procrastination, people and situations are just considered much more important than timelines.

Employment Agreement

The Labor Code of Brazil requires that each employee will be employed under the terms of an employment agreement. Execution of the agreement in Portuguese is recommended. A fixed term agreement may not exceed two years, and may be renewed only once. A provisional agreement may not exceed ninety days and may not be renewed. An employment agreement must be registered and reported within 48 hours of the commencement of the relationship, clearly entered in the work book of the employee and the records of the employer.


The termination of an employment contract may occur of the employer (dismissal of the employee) or by decision of the employee (resignation). In the case of dismissal of an employee, it may be either for good cause or by unfair dismissal. When a fixed term agreement exists, the employer may terminate the agreement prior to the normal expiration date by the payment of one half of the remaining compensation due under the agreement.

If the employee is dismissed for good cause, he or she will be entitled only to the outstanding salary, accrued vacation and the additional one-third bonus in respect of the accrued vacation. Double accrued vacation remuneration is also due when the employer has failed to allow the employee to take the annual vacation during the twelve months following the acquisition period.

The employer may terminate a labor contract without notice in instances of grave fault, such as the employee violated basic duties (fighting, drunk, abused financial trust or benefits) or the employee has committed a serious criminal offence.

Update 29/05/2010


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