Maximum Working Hours & Overtime Laws in Brazil
The Brazilian working hours are typically 8:00 a.m. or 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or 6 p.m., with one hour of an unpaid break for lunch.
The number of weekly working hours is 40–44 (8 hours per day five days a week plus an additional 4 hours for those working on a Saturday). Hours worked beyond this quota must be paid as overtime.
Commonly, Sunday is a day off for those who work six days a week.
Forty hours weekly is the maximum for those working five days a week, and 44 for those working six days a week. Employees may not work more than two hours of overtime per day.
Employees cannot opt out of the maximum working hours weekly imposed by the Employment Legislation. However, employees in roles of trust (managers, executives) or working from home are exempt from having their hours tracked.
Working beyond the standard working hours stated on the employment agreement, typically either 40 or 44 hours weekly, triggers overtime compensation equal to 1.5 times the employee’s salary. Instead of monetary compensation for overtime, employers and employees may agree through CBAs to time off in lieu of extended workdays in exchange for a longer weekend.
Working on Sundays or on public holidays triggers double salary for the day.
Overtime pay does not apply to
- external employees;
- those in roles difficult to track, such as sales;
- employees working from home; and
- employees in positions of trust, such as managers and supervisors.
Employees working for more than four hours but less than six are entitled to a 15-minute break. Those working for more than six hours daily are entitled to a one-hour lunch break.
There should be at least (1) 11 hours between an employee’s working shifts and (2) one full day off weekly.
Employees working between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. are considered to work night shifts and are entitled to at least 20% more of what they would get while working during the day. Unions and CBAs may impose higher remuneration rates.
Time-tracking Obligations in Brazil
The Brazilian Consolidated Labour Laws (CLT) require companies with more than 20 employees to track the employees’ working day and their breaks. Companies are free to decide how to track the worked hours, including agreeing through a written agreement with employees individually about delegating the time-tracking obligation.
In the system mentioned previously, employees are required to input only those working hours that diverge from their standard hours. Through this mechanism, employees are presumed to have worked their regular work hours unless they input that they worked overtime on a given day.
The CLT also lists some employees who are exempt from having their hours tracked, given how difficult it is for employers to control the employees’ working hours.
- External employees — those working off the company’s premises
- To be able to legally classify employees as external and, thus, exclude them from getting tracked and paid overtime, the employer cannot have any means of tracking their working hours, activities, and daily routine. If there is any possible means of tracking their working hours, the employer must pay those employees overtime.
- Employees in positions of trust — supervisors and managers
- Assessing whether an employee holds a managerial position for the purpose of excluding them from tracking their hours and making them eligible for receiving overtime pay is performed following quite restrictive standards. The line between those deemed to be ordinary employees and those deemed to be holding managerial positions is drawn on a case-by-case basis and is thin.
- Remote workers — telecommuters and those working from home
- Defined as employees rendering services predominantly off the employer’s premises, using information and communication technologies.
If employees bring labour lawsuits against their employers regarding overtime hours that they were not paid for (which is very common in Brazil), employers have the burden of proof and will have to pay employees for their claimed hours unless they have documented evidence or witnesses to prove otherwise.