Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Brazil: New Rules for Unemployment Benefits and Bonus Salary Approved by Federal Senate

(June 2, 2015) On May 26, 2015, the Brazilian Federal Senate approved a provisional measure that amends existing law regulating the unemployment insurance program (programa do seguro-desemprego) and salary bonuses (abono salarial). (Medida Provisória No. 665 (Dec. 30, 2014), PLANALTO, amending Lei No. 7,998 (Jan, 11, 1990) PLANALTO.)

The measure changes the rules for unemployment insurance and salary bonuses. Now any employee who files for unemployment insurance for the first time must have worked for 12 consecutive months in a formal position (com carteira assinada) in the 18 months prior to being dismissed. An employee who files for the benefit for a second time must have worked for 9 of the preceding 12 months and after that for six continuous months in order to qualify for the benefit. (Medida Provisória No. 665, art. 1; Law No. 7,998, art. 3(I)(a)(b)(c).)

In regard to salary bonuses, which are yearly bonuses in an amount equal to the minimum monthly wage (salário mínimo) (R$788, about US$258) paid to an employee who made no more than two times the minimum wage per month in the previous year, the measure imposes the requirement that the person must have worked in a formal position for 90 days. This is an increase over the previous requirement of 30 days; the amount of the bonus will be proportional to the length of time worked. (Law No. 7,998, art. 9(I) (§2).)

As the measure had been previously approved by the Chamber of Deputies, it will now be forwarded to President Dilma Roussef for her signature, so that the modifications can enter into force. (Senado Aprova Regra Mais Dura do Seguro-Desemprego, O DIA (May 27, 2015).)

Authorization for the Adoption of Provisional Measures

Brazil’s Constitution provides that “in relevant and urgent cases” the President of the Republic may adopt provisional measures that have the force of law. Such measures must be submitted immediately to the National Congress. (CONSTITUIÇÃO FEDERAL, art. 62, PLANALTO.)