With the declaration of a state of public calamity by the government of Rio Grande do Sul and the National Congress due to the heavy rains in the state, local employers were expecting the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MTE) to implement alternative labor measures that could contribute to job retention considering the challenges imposed by the disaster.

So far, the actions of the MTE and the federal government have been slow and far below what was seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Up to now, the MTE has only regulated a few alternatives labor measures, such as the suspension of the enforceability of Severance Guaranteed Fund (FGTS) payments and the suspension of some administrative requirements in occupational health and safety.

The Ordinance 729/24, dated May 15, regulated the suspension of the enforceability of FGTS payments for employers located in affected municipalities. Deposits related to the months of April to July may be made in up to four installments, starting in October, on the date scheduled for the monthly due payment.

On May 28, the MTE issued Ordinance 838/24, establishing that, for a period of 90 days, employers may adopt the following measures:

  • suspension of the risk assessment review that is part of the Risk Management Program (PGR) that expires during the state of public calamity in Rio Grande do Sul;
  • suspension of the obligation for periodic, clinical and complementary medical exams – except if the coordinating doctor of the Occupational Health and Medical Control Program (PCMSO) considers that the extension represents a risk to the employee’s health;
  • suspension of the requirement for the dismissal medical exam if the most recent medical exam was conducted less than 90 days ago;
  • suspension of the preparation of the Analytical Report of the PCMSO;
  • suspension of the obligation to conduct periodic training for current employees, as provided for in the regulatory standards for occupational health and safety. The theoretical part can be immediately conducted through distance learning;
  • suspension of the election of the members of the internal committees for accident prevention and harassment (Cipa).

Law 14,437/22, which regulates the labor measures applicable in situations of public calamity, however, establishes many other alternatives measures, such as the possibility of implementing remote work, anticipation of individual vacations and granting collective vacations, anticipation of holidays, use of the overtime bank, suspension of the enforceability of FGTS payments. In addition, the law establishes the rules of the Emergency Program for Maintaining Employment and Income during the state of public calamity.

The adoption of these measures, however, depends on an act to be issue by the MTE.

The most relevant measure, the implementation of the Emergency Program for the Maintenance of Employment and Income, which was essential for maintaining employees during the pandemic, has not been regulated yet.

This program allows the federal government to pay the Emergency Benefit for Maintaining Employment and Income (BEm) to employees of companies that opt for proportional reduction of working hours and salary or temporary suspension of the employment agreement. The objective is to preserve the employment relationship for a certain period.

In addition, the program allows employers to make monthly compensatory payments to employees without having to bear additional costs.

Other important measures, such as the flexibility of the overtime bank rules and the anticipation of vacation periods, are also pending regulation.

Machado Meyer Advogados will continue to monitor the evolution of the matter and its developments. Stay updated on our publications by subscribing to our newsletter.