27 Jun

Doing Business in Brazil 101 – Holidays and Vacation

Doing Business in Brazil 101 – Holidays and Vacation

Dear Gentle Reader,

In this next article of the Doing Business in Brazil 101 series, I thought we would look at the typical Brazilian work calendar.  In general terms, there are a few more holidays per year compared to North America, and vacation time is bit more restrictive in how it’s used because of the Brazilian labor laws (CLT – Consolidação das Leis Trabalhistas). Holidays and vacations are legislated by law as part of the CLT, and it’s important for business owners in Brazil to understand the rules clearly.

Brazilian Business – Holidays

Holidays (“feriados”) are broken into federal, state and city levels.  There are about 13-15 total holidays per year, depending on where you live and work.  In 2016, the federal holidays are:

·  Jan 1 New Years ·  Feb 08/09 Carnaval
·  Mar 25 Good Friday ·   Mar 27 Easter
·  Apr 21 Tiradentes ·   May 1 Labor Day
·  May 26 Corpus Christi ·   Sept 7 Independence Day
·  Oct 12 NossaSenhoraAparecida ·    Nov 2 Finados (Day of Dead)
·  Nov 15 Proclamation of the Republic ·    Dec 25 Christmas


In addition to federal holidays, there are typically 1-2 state and city holidays that vary based on where you work. Many times these state and city holidays celebrate local patron saints or significant historical events.  It’s also very typical for some companies to add a day (“emendar”) if the odd holiday falls on a Thursday or Tuesday for example, however that is up to each company.

Brazilian Business – Vacation

In addition to holidays, each worker is entitled to 30 days of vacation(“férias”) every 12 months under CLT.  It’s important to note that the 30 days is calendar days and not work days.  Companies are allowed to choose between collective vacation, where everyone takes that same month off, or they can be administered on an individual basis.  Because many companies find it difficult to shut down completely for a month, most just deal with vacation on an individual employee basis.

If employees choose, they can agree to “sell back” to the company up to 10 days of vacation where their vacation pay is converted into cash and paid to the employee.  In addition to normal pay during the vacations, employees are also entitled to an additional 33% on top of their normal salary, which must be paid prior to vacation period.  Usually, employees take the entire 30 days at once, although that can certainly be negotiated with key employees.

Keep In Mind

Doing Business in Brazil Special events like the World Cup or the Olympics in Rio may also change the normal workday hours and school vacations as officials usually adjust in order to minimize local traffic delays for venues.

The period between Christmas and Carnaval is one of the least productive periods in Brazil as many people travel.  The summer school break combined with the holidays make it hard to line up meetings and get things done.  It’s also hard to rely on many government officials and offices during that period.  If at all possible, it’s best to avoid important decisions and investments during that period if it requires outside inputs.

Closing Thoughts

In total, there are 30 vacation days (22 working days) and 13 to 14 holiday days for a total of 280 hours of time off per employee every 12 months.  Remember to include that in when you are putting your Brazilian business plans together.

We will go through CLT in more detail in a future article and walk through how that impacts doing business in Brazil.  Success in Brazil is about planning and execution. Brasil Insight is here to help.

As always, thanks for reading and send along any comments or suggestions.

Kind regards


About Richard Pearce

Bom dia! My name is Richard Pearce, and I’m an entrepreneur and founding partner of Brasil Insight Capital (BIC). If you liked this post and want more like it, please subscribe below by entering your best email address. Don't worry, no spam, no non-sense, just great content occasionally delivered.

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About Brasil Insight

doing business in brazil

Bom dia! My name is Richard Pearce, and I’m an entrepreneur and founding partner of Brasil Insight Capital (BIC). BIC is a boutique consulting and investment company focused on helping international companies intelligently establish operations or find investment opportunities in Brazil, as well helping Brazilian companies find international partners.

For the past decade I have been helping international companies understand what Brazil is and isn’t and successfully establish a presence or find investment opportunities in this dynamic marketplace. I’ve helped over 40 businesses in 17 Brazilian states and have an insider’s understanding of how to successfully establish, operate and grow a company. I’d love to hear more about your goals and objectives in Brazil.

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