Published 11/07/2022 06:00 / Updated on 07/11/2022 13:24
The Reducing working hours A four-day week with no salary change is a reality for thousands of workers in advanced economies, such as European countries – Belgium, Spain, France and Iceland – New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates and Japan. Although change has been adopted in other parts of the world, in Brazil, experiences of this kind are still limited to a few private companies that have decided to implement the routine.
in room for more than 20 years, Proposal to Amend the Constitution (PEC) No. 231/1995, which proposes to change the maximum workload stipulated in the Federal Constitution, from 44 to 40 hours per week, was never voted on. The order was approved with the support of all union mediators, the order was written by PCdoB deputy from Ceará Inácio Arruda and faced many Analytics since 1995. It was archived and de-archived several times until 2009, when it was approved by a special committee. It has since been waiting for an agreement to start voting in the first round.
Arruda, the current pre-candidate for the Federal Council, recalls the emergence of the Presidential Election Commission. “I was in the Constituent Assembly. The proposal was, at the time, 40 hours. It was one of the fiercest disagreements in the vote. In the end, there were 44, which we already considered an exaggeration. The fact that there is such a large scale of overtime requires so many people to work more than 50 hours a day. For this reason, in 1995, I created the PEC, ”says the former MP.
In addition to reducing hours, the text states that the additional increase will be 75% higher than a normal hour. The Brazilian constitution currently specifies an increase of at least 50%. The PEC must be approved in two rounds of voting, in the House of Representatives and in the National Senate.
Arruda admits that the chances of voting were greater soon after the time the Special Committee agreed to the vote. For him, Chamber presents itself today, for the most part, as “almost the enemy of the world of work”. Despite this, reducing working hours is still considered a fundamental debate, which should emerge in the coming years, primarily, “to ensure greater labor market involvement”.
According to labor lawyer Alexandre Fragoso, in Brazil there is a “favorable legislative environment” for the adoption of the four-day week. This is because Article 7 of the Constitution only sets a maximum number of working hours and days. The decisive is that you should not exceed 10 hours a day – eight normal and two extra hours – and 56 hours in a week – 44 normal and 12 extra hours. “Less than that (44 hours a week), I can do whatever I want. So, I don’t need to make big changes, because there is already a favorable legislative environment,” he explains. But the implementation of the four-day-a-week system as a rule in the Brazilian labor market does not seem imminent. For Fragoso, care must be taken, because no benefit from labor legislation can simply be withdrawn or suppressed.
Ari Aloraldo do Nascimento, National Secretary for Labor Relations at Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT), highlights that reducing working hours without changing salaries is a historic agenda for the organization. “We associate the reduction of working hours with the issue of technological developments that have put thousands of people out of work […] It is a way to alleviate the problem of unemployment, as it allows more people to access the labor market. It also concerns the health of the worker, “he says. For unionists, today, in Brazil, we have a situation very close to the brutality of labor relations. The solution is to change the law.” We believe that the new legislation should guarantee the freedom to do collective bargaining,” he said.
According to the legal director of the Brazilian Association of Human Resources (ABRH), Wolnei Ferreira, the entity does not support the reduction and believes that the issue should be subject to broad discussions. “Our defense is that it has to be an individual decision, company by company, of those who have the conditions and can adopt them. Generally in terms of legal regulation, we are not favorable. This would jeopardize Brazilian competitiveness,” he asserts. Ferreira says Brazil’s low productivity, combined with the country’s skilled labor shortage, will make it difficult to change weekly working hours. He adds, “If we reduce the working day, what will happen is that the worker will stick to other jobs and his health will deteriorate. The worker who has more free time seeks to increase his income.”
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