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A recently enacted law allows companies in Brazil to retain temporary workers for up to nine months, under certain circumstances. Brazil’s Ministry of Labor and Employment issued the new regulation, which became effective July 1, 2014.
Brazilian law generally prohibits the use of temporary workers, allowing the practice only to substitute for an employee on leave or to assist during an “extraordinary” increase in workload, said Renata Neeser, a shareholder at Littler, based in New York City.
Previously, a temp’s tenure was limited to three months, she said. The client company could seek an extension for an additional three months but was required to justify this request to the government. “These restrictions, coupled with the difficulties of getting the tenure extended, created managerial nightmares for HR and, in many cases, resulted in noncompliance with the law,” Neeser explained.
The new regulation allows companies to retain temporary workers for up to nine months to substitute for employees on long leaves. The law, however, was not changed regarding coverage for an increase in workload.
“This amendment affords companies some flexibility to reduce disruption in services, such as in the case of a worker on maternity leave,” Neeser said. “Brazil’s law provides mothers with four months of maternity leave and grants tax breaks to companies that provide an additional two months of leave. In addition, women typically try to avoid using their vacation days prior to giving birth, so as to use all accrued vacation days to care for their newborn. … An employee’s maternity leave can extend to seven months.”
The new regulation permits a company to seek preapproval to cover employees on maternity leave for seven months. “If the period of leave is uncertain, the company can still engage the temporary worker for the estimated leave period and then apply for an extension up to the maximum of nine months,” she said.
Neeser emphasized that hiring temporary workers in Brazil is illegal unless the staffing agency is registered with the Ministry of Labor and Employment for the exclusive purpose of providing workers to fill temporary vacancies or to meet an unusual increase in workload.
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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