Congress should discuss reducing working hours Marcello Casal Jr./ABr
Reducing working hours without reducing pay should be among the proposals on the congressional agenda in 2024. In December last year, before the end of parliamentary activity, the House of Representatives Economic Affairs Committee passed a bill to amend the Consolidation of Labor Laws (CLT). to enable a reduction in working hours. The proposal still needs to be examined by the Chamber of Deputies and approved by the President of the Republic to enter into force.
The project, authored by Senator Weverton (PDTMA), gained renewed prominence after Brazilian companies joined an international experiment testing the fourday week model. In this case, the challenge is to reduce employee workload and maintain productivity. The companies participating in the tests received training, lectures, organizational diagnosis of the teams and individual support.
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The text approved by the Commission aims to set the negotiation period between employer, employee and union through collective agreements at 14 hours per week. The prerequisite for this negotiation is that the current salaries are maintained. This meant that the total working hours could be adjusted to up to 30 hours per week.
In addition to this proposal, at least two other bills are in the works that aim to reduce the current 44hour work week. One of the materials was presented 25 years ago by the then deputy Paulo Paim (PTRS), now a senator. According to the proposal, weekly working hours should be limited to a maximum of 36 hours, with a guarantee that salaries will not be reduced.
The other proposal is being considered in the Chamber of Deputies and was presented in 2019 by deputy Reginaldo Lopes (PTMG). According to the text, the Constitution would also be amended to reduce the working day to 36 hours per week. However, unlike the project currently in the Senate, the text sets a deadline of ten years for the idea to be implemented.
The proposals are supported by a study by the InterUnion Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies (Dieese), which says reducing working hours to 40 hours a week would create more than 3 million new jobs. In a second step, around 6 million jobs would be created with the reduction to 36 hours per week, according to the study.