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Brazil – Calculating working hours during business trips 

Written by
Veirano Advogados, one of the leading and most renowned Brazilian business and employment law firms.
Brazil’s 2017 Labour Reform has increased the scope for individuals to agree on compensation for overtime individually with their employers; it also allows for new mechanisms to record time worked. This will simplify the previously complex issue of establishing what hours an employee works on a business trip.

The 2017 labour reform may help the management of working hours for employees on long distance trips.

Courts have consistently indicated that time spent commuting to the airport and waiting for boarding are time on duty, but night flight hours are off duty. Time spent in accommodation and at mealtimes on a business trips are also considered off duty.

The problem, however, comes with keeping track of this time away from the workplace, which is often a cause of litigation. Generally, the company bears the burden of proving its employee’s working hours and may end up with an unfavorable overtime ruling if evidence of how time has been spent on trips is inconclusive.

The 2017 labour reform enhanced methods of recording working hours and ways of compensating overtime and calculating time off duty. Now collective agreements or agreements with employees who are entitled to bargain in an individual capacity can stipulate alternative forms of recording working hours and a working hour account keeps track of hours worked.

Companies may now adopt travel reports supported by software as a method of recording working hours during business trips, and time off granted to compensate for overtime can take place during the trip itself. After all, it is not unusual to have spare time on arrival and departure days. The parties can also choose to delay taking compensation days for up to one year.

José Carlos Wahle
Partner - Brazil
Veirano Advogados