Carnival is so traditional in Brazil that it can even be mistaken as a holiday, but it is not. The four days of celebration dedicated to King Momo are extremely popular and many companies let employees go at this time of year.
But, legally, lawyers warn, Law 9,093/95 establishes that only those declared by federal law or the main date of each state of the federation will be considered holidays. The rule also provides for granting municipalities the possibility of declaring up to four religious holidays per year, including Good Friday.
According to the lawyer and partner in the labor area at Marzagão e Balaró Advogados, Carlos Balaró, there are court decisions in this regard. “Rest takes place on a large scale in several companies and the payment for Monday and Tuesday in full and from Wednesday until noon is part of a custom among the Brazilian people, practiced by many companies. But it’s important to emphasize that this is not the company’s obligation”, he explains.
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According to the partner of the labor area at Innocenti Advogados, Libya Alvarenga de Oliveira, Law No. 14,485/2007, which consolidates the commemorative dates, events and holidays in the city of São Paulo, considers Carnival as a commemorative date, but also does not establish the party as a holiday.
“As a rule, the majority of Brazilian municipalities declare only optional work hours, which makes it possible to suspend working hours in their departments or operate on a shift basis, leaving it up to the private sector to define their calendar”, he says.
Therefore, even with mobilization for events, companies can establish some conditions for release. Among them, according to Libya, are:
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- compensation of hours through a collective or individual time bank agreement;
- compensation of hours through a special compensation agreement;
- spontaneous and free release of the worker.
“Therefore, if there is no agreement establishing that Carnival is a holiday or spontaneous dismissal by the employer, work during this period must be normal and non-attendance will result in losses for the employee”, adds the lawyer.
This way, the employer can, for example, require the worker to attend on festival days, adds Cristina Buchignani, partner in the labor area at Costa Tavares Paes Advogados. “Only in the state of Rio de Janeiro is there a law decreeing the date as a holiday. It is also important that the employee and the boss check whether the collective work instrument, signed with union assistance, contains a clause guaranteeing rest during this period”, says the specialist in union relations.
Otherwise, if it is not designated as a holiday in your location, the company is not obliged to give you time off. “In this case, in the case of unjustified absence or delays, the professional may be penalized by the employer with the corresponding salary discount”, explains lawyer Rafael Felisbino, from the labor area at Peixoto e Cury Advogados.