BRAZIL: Court says Raízen to pay workers for commute time

Published: 05/17/2018, 5:13:46 PM

A local court in the Brazilian municipality of Araraquara, São Paulo state, ruled that sugarcane processor Raízen will have to pay for the time its workers spend commuting to work and back to home, reports Agência Estado newswire.

Noncompliance will result in a daily fine of BRL5,000 per worker.

Transportation is usually provided by some Brazilian employers to workers when the workplace is located in areas of difficult access and not served by public transportation.

Raízen said via statement that "it fully complies with the labor legislation in force in Brazil and values a constant improvement in its relationship with its employees.

Raízen also said that it is "in an advanced phase of negotiations with the vast majority of unions", regarding payment of commute time, and that it intends to appeal the court decision.

Public prosecutors initiated an investigation at the company after having access to documents showing that Raízen intended to stop paying for commute hours.

A mediation hearing was attempted, but the company kept its intention to change contracts, claiming support in Brazil's new Labour Law Reform, adding that it had already begun to change calculation of working hours from December 2017.

Raízen's employees who used transportation saw a 20% salary reduction after the company implemented the change, according to the Prosecutors' Office.

Prosecutor Rafael de Araújo Gomes said that the transportation provided by Raízen is not a "convenience" but should be considered "means of production, without which the company could not develop its activity."