Brazil’s remote workforce is highly sought-after for its skilled and diverse talent pool. However, to attract and retain those top employees, companies need to offer competitive benefits packages. This starts with an understanding of Brazil’s local expectations with respect to things like paid time off, sick leave, pensions, and more.

What are the Main Employee Benefits In Brazil?

The main benefits offered to full-time employees in Brazil are social security benefits, paid time off, sick leave, disability leave, parental leave, a pension, and a 13th-month salary.

Statutory vs. Market-Driven Benefits In Brazil

Employment benefits are broken down into two categories: statutory and non-statutory. The first kind, statutory, is required by labor law and regulated by the Instituto Nacional do Seguro Social (INSS). In Brazil, every eligible worker has the right to social security, holidays off, annual leave, maternity/paternity leave, sickness leave, disability leave, and a pension. Non-statutory benefits can be thought of as ‘nice-to-haves’ – not required by the government and instead offered out of businesses’ generosity.

Read more: Employee Leave Policies in Brazil

Eligibility and Expectations for Statutory Benefits In Brazil

Eligibility for statutory benefits in Brazil depends on the specific program at hand. 

13th Month Salary

Anyone who has worked at least part of the year is entitled to a 13th-month salary payment proportional to their time on the job. Employees who have worked throughout the entire year receive a full payment.

Social Security

Social Security provides qualifying workers with financial support when death, disease, an accident, or imprisonment impacts their ability to earn an income.

Vacation and Other Paid Days Off

Brazilian Labour Law provides workers with a 30 calendar-day paid vacation after each period of 12 months worked. This time off is only guaranteed if taken within the subsequent period of 12 months. Brazil’s 13 national holidays are observed by virtually every non-essential business sector, so employees get these days of paid time off in addition to vacation.

Pension

Male individuals who are over 65 years of age and have paid a minimum of 240 monthly contributions to the INSS, as well as females over 62 years of age who have paid a minimum of 180 monthly contributions to the INSS are entitled to a pension.

Companies with employees who qualify under one of several defined ‘unhealthy working conditions’ must pay additional pension contributions depending on the level of risk staff are subjected to – between six and nine percent of their total salary.

Sick Days

If and when an employee becomes ill, they can take up to 15 days off work paid for by their employer. After that period, the INSS is responsible for paying out sickness coverage. It’s worth highlighting that claims of this benefit must be backed up by a doctor’s note.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

Female employees in Brazil are eligible for up to 120 days of paid maternity leave, and men five days, paid for by the INSS. Employers pay staff during this time off and deduct the total amount from their owed social security contributions.

The Demand for Additional Benefits: From Equity to Education

With things like paid sick days and leave being commonplace in most countries, employees have begun to expect more from the companies they work for in terms of benefits. Let’s take a look at some additional benefits that top talent is seeking in today’s job market.

Additional Leave Entitlements

Companies can decide to provide their employees with a private pension plan beyond what the public program offers. Typically administered through a third-party provider, these plans give employers the ability to customize the specific types and lengths of leave staff are entitled to. For example, you might find it beneficial to give parents extended time off work to care for a newborn or adopted child. Alternatively, you could offer paid sabbaticals after a certain number of years with the company. Brazil’s governing body over insurance, the Superintendência de Seguros Privados (SUSEP), has guidelines for these supplementary plans to ensure they meet certain standards of coverage and protection for employees.

Equity Participation

A competitive salary is great for short-term appeal, but equity participation schemes serve to attract and retain top talent for the long haul. These programs give employees a sense of ownership in the company, allowing them to share in its success and potential growth.

Project-Based Bonuses

Of course, you don’t want staff to feel as though their only incentive is tied to company success. That’s why project-based bonuses are another popular benefit. Bonuses are tied to individuals or teams achieving specific goals, whether it’s completing a project on time and under budget or exceeding sales targets. It’s a strategy that can work particularly well with high-achievers who want to define their own success and be rewarded for it.

Professional Development Opportunities

Top talent is always looking to learn and improve their skills, making professional development opportunities a highly sought-after benefit. This includes access to training programs, conferences, and workshops that can help employees stay at the top of their game in an ever-evolving job market.

Flexible Working Arrangements

COVID-19 has come and gone, but one thing that remains is a shift in attitudes towards remote work and flexible working arrangements. Many employees, especially those with families or long commutes, have expressed a desire for more flexibility in their work schedules. Giving staff the option to work from home a few days a week or have flex hours can greatly improve work-life balance and ultimately lead to happier, more productive team members.

Transportation Subsidies

When short or long-distance travel is required for work, transportation subsidies make it easier for employees to get around. It can take many forms, from discounted public transit passes to company vehicles to a bike-sharing program.

Food Vouchers

Providing employees with food vouchers is a simple yet effective way of showing appreciation for their hard work. With this benefit, staff are less likely to skip lunch or grab a quick, unhealthy bite on the go. It also encourages them to take breaks and recharge during the workday.

Health, Wellness, and Beyond: What Top Talent Wants

Health has long been tied to productivity in the workplace. This goes for both in-office and remote talent; when employees are physically and mentally well, they’re able to perform at their best in any setting. Companies can invest in the health of their team members by offering various wellness benefits, such as:

Gym Memberships

Many employees struggle to find time to exercise due to their busy work schedules. By providing gym memberships, companies encourage and support a healthy lifestyle for their team members while also potentially reducing healthcare costs in the long run.

Mental Health Resources

Mental health is just as important as physical health. The two are inexplicably intertwined, meaning you won’t be able to fully support staff wellbeing without providing support for both. Therapy or counseling services, mindfulness and meditation sessions, and other mental health resources are all beneficial investments that can help reduce stress and burnout among employees.

Remote Work Benefits: Bridging the Gap for Brazilian Talent

Brazil’s exceptional talent is very used to being offered job opportunities with basic statutory benefits. To make recruiting even more difficult, remote workers don’t necessarily respond to enhanced benefits packages the same as their in-office counterparts. Remote arrangements call for special consideration of what might make the biggest difference in someone’s working experience.

Top employee benefits in Brazil for remote workers include:

Home Office Allowances and Technology Stipends

Remote workers often have to set up and maintain their own home offices, which can incur additional costs. A home office allowance or stipend can help alleviate some of the financial burden on employees. This could cover expenses such as high-speed internet, ergonomic office furniture, and other necessary equipment. Stipends not only make it easier for employees to do their jobs on an individual level but also ensure equality and consistency across the team.

Flexible Hours and Work-Life Balance

Flexible hours are especially important for remote workers. Brazilian professionals typically follow 8-hour workdays with a one-hour lunch break. However, some remote workers may prefer to start earlier or later in the day depending on their personal schedule. Employers that offer flexible hours and promote a healthy work-life balance are more likely to attract and retain top talent.

Co-Working Space Memberships

Just because someone can work from home doesn’t mean they’ll always want to. That’s why co-working spaces are so popular among today’s remote workers. These facilities offer professionals a quiet place to get things done alongside many of the perks that come with traditional business offices like coffee, private meeting rooms, and printing equipment. Employers hiring individuals in Brazil can provide this to staff for a fixed monthly fee through companies like WeWork or Regus.

Technology Stipends

Providing employees with the necessary technology to work remotely is essential for success. This includes not only a laptop and a reliable internet connection but also software subscriptions and updated hardware. Employers could offer a technology stipend or reimbursement to help cover these costs for their remote employees. This can also ensure that everyone has access to the same tools and resources, promoting equality and consistency across the team.

Navigating Employee and Contractor Benefits Expectations

Employees and contractors may sometimes perform the same job duties, but their expectations for benefits and compensation can differ significantly. This is especially true for those with international experience, who may have different expectations when it comes to equity participation, project-based bonuses, and professional development opportunities.

The most obvious difference between an employee and a contractor is their employment status. Employees are considered full-time, permanent members of a company and typically receive a salary, benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans, paid time off, and other perks. Contractors are self-employed or work for an agency but do not have the same benefits or job security as employees.

When it comes to compensation, employees tend to have a more structured and consistent pay schedule. They may receive annual raises based on performance evaluations and have the potential for bonuses tied to company goals or individual achievements.

Both benefits and additional compensation can be used to attract great contractors – you just aren’t required to provide them.

Implementing Competitive Benefits Strategies In Brazil

We’ve established that good employee benefits are critical to remaining competitive as an employer in Brazil. But there’s still an unanswered question – how do you offer them? Benefits administration is a tough task when done domestically and gets even more complicated if foreign talent is involved.

Here are some strategies for businesses to efficiently manage and deliver competitive benefits packages that meet the expectations of Brazil’s top talent:

Research Local Laws and Regulations

It’s crucial to understand the laws and regulations surrounding Brazil employee benefits before diving into the creation of a benefits plan. The mandatory leave and vacation requirements we discussed in this article only apply to full-time staff but again can be worth offering if you’re searching for talent in a competitive industry.

Offer Flexible Benefits

Brazilian employees highly value flexibility in their benefits packages. This includes options for choosing different levels of coverage for health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefits. By allowing employees to customize their benefits according to their individual needs and preferences, you can better meet the diverse needs of your remote workforce.

Partner with Local Benefit Providers

One way to ensure that your company is providing competitive and high-quality benefits in Brazil is to partner with local benefit providers. These companies have a strong understanding of the Brazilian market and can offer tailored solutions that meet the needs of your employees. You won’t need to worry about complying with local regulations and can save time by working with experts who are well-versed in the Brazilian benefits system.

Author avatar
Article author
Vit Koval
Co-founder at Globy
A top Global Hiring voice on LinkedIn, co-founder of Globy, and host of Default Global. Using deep expertise in global hiring, remote work, and global business expansion to help companies excel worldwide with innovative strategies.

FAQs

Yes, Brazil offers retirement benefits through its social security system. These are payable when males over 65 years of age have contributed a minimum of 240 monthly installments to the INSS, and when females over 62 years of age have paid a minimum of 180 monthly contributions.

The employer contribution towards retirement benefits in Brazil is 20% of an employee’s salary. Companies in high-risk sectors are required to put down additional amounts – between six and nine percent of a worker’s salary.

The compensation policy in Brazil is based on the principle of “equal pay for equal work”. This means that employees who hold similar positions and perform similar tasks should receive equal remuneration, regardless of their gender, race, or nationality.

The unemployment benefits in Brazil are known as “Seguro-Desemprego” and they are provided by the Brazilian government through its social security system. This benefit is available to workers who have recently lost their jobs, whether due to being laid off, fired, or having their contract expire.

The workplace culture in Brazil is heavily influenced by the country’s diverse history, traditions, and customs. There is a clear distinction between managers and employees, with managers holding authority over their subordinates. A strong emphasis on relationships and personal connections is also a key aspect of the Brazilian workplace culture.