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Brazilians are paid monthly in arrears and are required by law to receive their salary by the 5th working day of the following month. That's not unusual, but the fact that they receive 13 monthly salaries per year is! The 13th salary was established in Brazil by then President João Goulart on 13th July, 1962. João Goulart was the last elected President prior to Brazil's Military Dictatorship, which started in 1964 and ceded power in 1985.

Goulart determined that every year, in December, all employees should receive a Christmas reward from their employers. This reward was aimed at promoting a more joyous Christmas for the employees and stimulating industry and business, increasing sales and consequently, tax revenue.


How is the 13th salary calculated?

The calculation is quite simple, employers total their employees salary over the previous 12 months, divide it by 12 & then pay that amount as an extra salary at the end of the year. This calculation results in employees who have worked for less than a year receiving a proportional amount.


When is the 13th salary paid?

The 13th salary is divided in two installments, each one containing half of the value of the full amount to be paid. Legally, the first instalment must be paid between February, 1st and November, 30th and the second instalment by December, 20th. The reality is that most employers pay the 13th salary in two instalments on 30th November and 20th December(or the working day before if either or both of those dates are weekends).

Employees are permitted to ask for the first of their 13th salary instalments to be paid with their holidays however this is very unusual and I'm yet to find an employer that does this. Employees who were dismissed with “just cause”, forfeit any right to receive the 13th salary, whether they are dismissed in January, November or any other time. Any employee dismissed without cause is entitled to receive(among many other things) whatever proportion of the 13th salary they have earned that year.



Overtime worked, night shift allowances, danger money and regular bonuses are considered additionals and are included in the calculations for the 13th salary.

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