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Article | Global News Briefs

Brazil: Amendments to the Labor Code to promote the employment of women

February 28, 2023

Brazil’s Employ + Women Program allows employers to offer more flexible work arrangements, daycare reimbursements and various other programs to support women in the workforce.
Health and Benefits|Ukupne nagrade |Inclusion-and-Diversity|Benessere integrato

Employer Action Code: Act

Law No. 14,457/2022 has established the Employ + Women Program (Emprega + Mulheres Programa), including measures that expand existing programs to facilitate the employment of women and strengthen protections for women in the workforce. The program enhances a reimbursement option for the employer-daycare mandate and a more flexible working regime for working mothers with young children, support for pursuing external employment qualification programs for women, an extension of maternity leave under the Corporate Citizenship Program (Programa Empresa Cidadã – PEC), and measures to prevent and combat sexual harassment and other forms of violence in the workplace. Most of the changes took effect September 22, 2022.

Key details

  • Employers may now reimburse daycare costs to all workers with children up to age five years and 11 months as a non-taxable benefit (previously, generally only to female employees with children up to age six months). Employers providing this benefit will no longer be required to provide daycare facilities for female employees with children up to age six months who are still breastfeeding. The non-taxable benefit amounts and eligible schools/facilities are still to be determined. (Note: It’s long been possible for employers to offer reimbursement as an alternative, but payments were not tax-favored and did not relieve the employer of the requirement to have onsite facilities.)
  • Employers should give priority to employees caring for children age six or under (or disabled persons of any age) for the purposes of formal employer/employee agreements on telework, flexible work regimes, part-time work, and other forms of work-time savings or unconventional work schedules.
  • Maternity leave under the PEC (60 calendar days on top of the 120 days paid by social security) can now be extended by the employer to 120 calendar days at full pay on the basis of 50% working time and 50% paid time off, subject to employee agreement. PEC leave can also now be shared with the mother’s partner if the partner’s employer also participates in PEC and agrees in writing.
  • Employers may suspend the employment contract for two to five months, upon request and subject to formal individual or collective agreement, for a female employee to participate in courses or professional qualification programs for professional advancement. During this period, the employee will be granted an allowance from the Unemployment Fund (Fundo de Amparo ao Trabalhador) while the employer may opt to provide similar non-taxable financial support.
  • Companies that have Internal Committees for the Prevention of Accidents (CIPAs) must by March 20, 2023, adapt their internal regulations and rules of conduct to address sexual harassment and violence in the workplace and to provide training on violence, harassment, equality and diversity in the workplace to all employees at least every 12 months. CIPAs are required for companies with at least 20, 51 or 81 employees (depending on the business risk level associated with their main business purpose).

Employer implications

The law provides a variety of options for employers to consider as means of support for working women and working families in general with young children. The new law also created the Emprega + Mulheres label, awarded to companies that meet the required standards, that can be used for hiring, branding and marketing to promote the company as a preferred employer.

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