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Labor modernization marks new historical moment in the country

Rights of the worker

This year's celebration of Labor Day is marked by modernization proposals to accompany the labor market

On May 1, 2017, the Consolidation of Labor Laws (CLT) completes 74 years of regulation of individual and collective labor relations. The date, which was a historic milestone in 1943 for establishing important rights for workers for the first time, now passes for one more symbolic moment in the country, the modernization of labor rights.

"We are in a process of modernization that perfects and adapts this same CLT to the reality of the 21st century, preserving and securing all the rights of the working class," explains Labor Minister Ronaldo Nogueira.

The CLT was the most important achievement of workers in a period characterized by inequality in labor relations. In the first half of the 20th century, the national economy was still essentially rural, but the urbanization process of labor already bore the first signs of a different future.

The workers were massively absorbed by the industry, in adverse conditions of work, marked by a great supply of labor, excessive journeys and low wages. Faced with this, there was no legislation regulating labor relations, which was done by the internal regiments of the factories.

This situation led to social and union movements, especially in the Rio-São Paulo axis, calling for a reduction of the workday, salary increases and improvement of working environment conditions. Although repressed, these movements led the Getulio Vargas government, starting with the 1930 Revolution, to publish the first norms of worker protection, even in an unorganized way.

Vargas then appointed a commission to study and organize the draft bill for unifying labor legislation. From this came a consolidated text, which gave rise to the CLT, approved by Decree-Law 5,452, of May 1, 1943.

Among other rights, it establishes an eight-hour day's work, weekly paid rest, minimum wage, vacation, maternity leave, night-time supplement and indemnification for workers dismissed without just cause. The CLT also resulted in the creation of the labor portfolio and the Ministry of Labor, in addition to the Labor Justice institution.


Over the years, legislation has undergone the first changes, including the recognition of the right to strike, the 13th salary, the protection of the rural worker and the institution of the family wage and the FGTS. The 1988 Constitution extended the rights, limiting the working day to 44 hours per week, guaranteeing weekly paid rest, maternity leave of 120 days and the creation of paternity leave.

But it did not stop there. Other advances have been added to the legislation. Among them, the regulation of the hiring of people with disabilities and the institution of quotas in the companies, in 1999; The compensation for moral damages and harassment by the employer in 2002; The regulation of hiring of apprentice in 2005; The statute law, in 2008; The proportional notice in 2011; And the regulation of domestic workers in 2013.


This history of progress, however, did not translate into general changes in the text of the CLT, capable of following the transformations of the labor market in these 74 years of history. Therefore, the Federal Government presented, at the end of 2016, a proposal for the modernization of labor laws, built by the Ministry of Labor together with representatives of the main trade union and business centers of the country.

With the proposal approved in the Chamber of Deputies in the last week of April, Brazil arrives on this 1st of May establishing new directions for its economy and with prospects of reviving the labor market.

To that end, the modernization of CLT is anchored in three axes: consolidating rights, legal security and job creation. The changes, which have yet to be approved by the Senate and sanctioned by President Michel Temer, will allow workers and companies to adapt to the reality of the labor market, as well as reduce the informality of the workforce in the country, promoting the resumption of economic development.