Chamber of Deputies passes new rules for remote work

Provisional measure allows companies to decide rules directly with workers; proposal will now be sent to Senate


The Chamber of Deputies passed Wednesday a provisional measure that allows companies to decide the rules of remote work directly with the worker, without the need for collective bargaining, and changes rules on the payment of food vouchers for employees. The proposal will be sent to the Senate.

The provisional measure was criticized by opposition parties. Deputy Afonso Florence (Workers’ Party, PT, of Bahia) says the measure brings important points, but the possibility of individual negotiation to establish a working-from-home regime opens the door to the “deepening of the logic of labor exploitation.” “It is a fact that hybrid and remote work is here to stay and is one consequence of the pandemic, but workers’ rights cannot be undermined,” he said.

The rapporteur of the provisional measure, Deputy Paulo Pereira da Silva (Solidarity of São Paulo), one of the leaders of the union organization Força Sindical, said he agreed that the negotiation should be collective and bring rules for hybrid work, not remote work. Yet, he cut a deal with the government to keep the rules proposed by the Executive branch. “There is some nonsense [rules] here. We are passing a law that, in a few days, we will have to correct because I think we are making a mistake,” he said.

On the other hand, the deputy government leader Ubiratan Sanderson (Liberal Party, PL, of Rio Grande do Sul) advocate the rule because, in his view, it prioritizes the individual opinion of workers over the position of unions that “many times do not represent the specific will of each worker.” “There is not the slightest possibility of damage to the worker. And if there is, this can be reversed in court. In fact, we are giving more attention individually, which is what people want, than talking to the union. And the opposition doesn’t want this, because they always want to put the union to speak on behalf of people who, many times, don’t even know what is being discussed.”

The lower house also rejected, by a 325-63 vote, the payment of food vouchers in cash. The New Party (Novo), the author of the amendment, argued that this would give autonomy to employees to decide where and how to spend the money. “Some parties have workers voting against workers,” said the party’s leader in the Chamber, Deputy Tiago Mitraud (Minas Gerais).

The proposal was rejected by the governing coalition and caused divergence in the opposition. According to the Brazilian Socialist Party’s (PSB) leader, Deputy Bira do Pindaré (MA), workers prefer to receive in cash rather than in a card. “The problem with receiving in cash is that all the labor charges can be levied on top of it. We need to make an adjustment so that this doesn’t happen,” he said.

*By Raphael Di Cunto, Marcelo Ribeiro — Brasília

Source: Valor International