15 de September de 2023

Change of understanding in the Brazilian Supreme Court authorizes the collection of assistance contribution from non-unionized employees

After a long discussion, the Brazilian Supreme Court authorized the unions to charge assistance contributions from all employees.

The change brought by this decision is that the union now can charge contributions from all employees, even those who are not unionized (who voluntary decided to be union members), including now the ones who are just mandatorily represented by the unions.

In addition, the charge of the contribution will happen unless employees oppose to it.

Before the entry into force of the Labor Reform, which made it optional for employees to pay union contributions, the understanding of the Supreme Court was that unions could not collect these contributions from employees who were not unionized.

Even after the labor reform, it was still understood that it was not correct for the union to collect contributions without there being a difference between the employees’ willingness to become member of the union or the fact that they were only represented by the union by a legal obligation, treating all employees, in practice, as if they were forced to become “voluntary” members of the union.

However, now in 2023, the matter was again discussed by the Supreme Court which, taking into account that the unions had been weakened by the optional payment of union contributions and the importance of collective negotiation, which benefits all employees (union members or not), as it can be seen in the case law of the Supreme Court, decided that: “It is constitutional to establish, by collective agreement or convention, the imposition of the payment of assistance contributions to all employees of the category, even if not unionized, provided that the right to oppose is guaranteed.”

Based on this decision by the Supreme Court, which has not been published yet, companies may have to deduct from the salaries of employees the amounts corresponding to the assistance contributions under the terms provided for in the collective bargaining agreements and conventions if the employees do not oppose the collection.

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