Minimum Wage in Brazil – Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a separate legislation relating to minimum wages in Brazil?

In Brazil, the minimum wage was created in 1940 through the Decree-Law 2.162. In 1984, in order to reduce existing values disparities between regions and professionals categories occurs the unification of minimum wage in all states. The legislation guarantees periodic adjustment of minimum wage to preserve its purchasing power. Actually the minimum wage is determined by the Law 12.382/2011 that defines the minimum wage valorisation policy in long term, with annual increase of it from 2012 to 2015.

Do one or more minimum wages exist that is/are determined by law?

More than one minimum wage exists in Brazil.

At what level is minimum wages determined at?

The Law 12.382/2011 sets the national minimum wage valorisation policy, with annual upratings from 2012 to 2015. The Complementary Law 103/2000 establishes the regional minimum wage for workers without minimum salary provided by the federal law or collective agreements. Each state has the autonomy to define the minimum wage proportion according to the length and to the complexity of work (Article 7º, subsection V of the Constitution Federative Republic of Brazil). The Consolidation of Labour Laws-CLT/1943 provides collective bargaining agreements. These documents may be set minimum salaries with bases on several economic sectors since the national minimum wage be considered (CLT, Art. 120, Section VI). To domestic workers is paid a special minimum salary, based in hourly earnings, thus the national minimum wage is defined to 44 hours per week. In this case, social contributions is calculated as a fraction of the minimum wage per hour, proportional to the length of the service of domestic worker to the domestic employer (Minimum salary - Regime Geral de Previdência Social (RGPS) General Social Welfare Policy ).

On what basis is minimum wage calculated?

Minimum wages are calculated on an hourly, weekly and monthly basis. The basis of minimum wage per hour applies to the workers who work less than eight hours or less than forty four hours weekly, in part-time. To the domestic workers, the minimum wage is calculated by the hours worked. In this case, the minimum wage/per month of R$ 724,00 (BRL) is divided by the hours per month of 220 hours in order to obtain the salary/hour of R$ 3,29 (BRL). The Consolidation of Labour Laws provided the minimum wage per hour to the lowest-apprentice workers for a maximum workweek of 30 hours, in part-time (Salário mínimo especial - Regime Geral de Previdência Social (RGPS) - Portal Brasil, Federal Government - Art. 428 of the CLT). The minimum wage, determined by the Law 12.382/2011 is related with a monthly value upratings annually in base of accumulated inflation rate of last year according to National Consumer Price Index (INPC - Índice Nacional de Preço ao Consumidor-IBGE) more net gain in accordance with the variation of the penultimate year in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the penultimate year (Ministry of Labour and Employment). The annual promotion of the upratings of minimum wage provides the month, day and hour values.

In case of weekly/monthly minimum wage, are they based on any fixed number of hours?

The minimum wage is fixed in full-time in 8 hours per day of working or 44 weekly hours. Can be reduced to part-time workers (Portal Brasil, Federal Government).

Are governmental bodies, employer and/or trade union representatives involved in minimum wages setting?

The Executive, through a decree based in the Law 12.382/2011, determine the national minimum wage policy criteria from 2012 to 2015. In the next few years, the federal government shall forward to the National Congress a new proposal to extend the policy to the raising of the minimum wage till 2019. The mobilisation of Brazil trade union confederations has had a crucial role in the results involving the minimum wage valorisation policy. One of the most important outcomes was to ensure the permanent policy to increase the minimum wage till 2023, based in the inflation of the period plus the variation of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) penultimate year.

How are upratings (adjustments) of minimum wage/s decided upon?

The Brazilian minimum wage is upratings in accordance by the Law 12.382/2011 that provides to the Head of State, till 2015, autonomy to upratings the value of minimum wage through presidential executive order. The local government through the Complementary Law 103/2000 may establish a local minimum salary.

What are the components of minimum wage in Brazil?

The minimum wage of Brazil has only a fixed component.

How frequently is the fixed component of minimum wage updated?

The legislation establishes the directions to the raising of the minimum wage from 2012 to 2015 and practices annual upratings (Law 12.382/2011).

What is/are the yardstick/s on which minimum wage upratings are based?

The upratings of minimum wage according to National Consumer Price Index (INPC - Índice Nacional de Preço ao Consumidor-IBGE) of last twelve months and more net gain in accordance with the variation in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the penultimate year.

What is National Poverty line?

Click here to know the national poverty line in context with Minimum Wage, living wages and actual wages. Select the currency (Euro or national currency) to know national poverty line.

What is the incidence of minimum wages(s) in the national labour force (wage earners only)?

According to Pnad, the incidence of minimum wages(s) in the national labour force in 2012 was 86.511.298. It was below 19%, equal to 12.50% and over 68.64%.

How is minimum wages compliance regulated?

The competent authority of the Ministry of Labour and Employment assesses the compliance of legislation of work (Law 12.382/2011).

Which legal sanctions can be applied in compliance is lacking?

The competent authority of the Ministry of Labour and Employment has the task to implement fines in case of non-compliance with the minimum wage law by the notice of violation "ato de infração" (CLT, Art. 120 - MTE).

Are sanctions often being applied?

All Regional Superintendence of Labour and Employment (SRTEs), in total 27 units, control periodically the situation of work in the companies and pressure to the regularization of minimum wage (MTE).

Are employer and/or trade union representatives involved in compliance procedures?

The main partnerships of the working relationship are Secretariat of Labour Relations of MTE, unions and trade unions federations and employer federations, State Labour Department (MTE).

To whom/Where can individuals complain, if they think they are earning less than minimum wage?

The worker can complain to the labour inspectors (MTE), to the trade union representing (MTE) and to the Public Labour Ministry (MTE).

Which month of the year is minimum wage rate revised in Brazil?

Minimum Wage is revised in the month of January every year.