On August 24 2015 the Supreme Court issued a preliminary injunction granting the Civil Court of Children and Youth the power to issue entertainment work permits to minors.
In Brazil, minors can work as apprentices from the age of 14 and as ordinary workers from the age of 16, with some restrictions. However, some exceptions exist – for example, minors may perform artistic work with valid work permits, which can be obtained through a voluntary judicial procedure.
Until September 16 2013 the Civil Court of Children and Youth was competent to issue work permits for minors in relation to the performance of artistic work. However, as of September 17 2013 the Sao Paulo Labour Appeal Court issued a determination that it alone was competent to issue such work permits.
In December 2014 the general inspector of the Sao Paulo Court of Justice, the general inspector of the Labour Appeal Court of Sao Paulo and Campinas, the coordinator of children and youth of the Sao Paulo Court of Justice and the State Prosecution Office and Labour Prosecution Office of Sao Paulo and Campinas – as well as the same authorities from Mato Grosso – jointly issued Recommendation 1/2014. The recommendation proposed that the right to issue work permits to minors be transferred to the labour courts.
Based on this recommendation, the labour courts began analysing work permit requests for minors in relation to artistic work.
The matter recently received public attention when a labour court issued two decisions refusing to grant work permits to four minors (two of the minors hosted a famous Brazilian television show and two were going to perform a musical act).
According to the court, the claimants failed to prove that the minors' participation in the artistic work would not hinder their day-to-day activities (eg, attending school regularly).
The claimants appealed, arguing that the court had failed to consider the global aspect of the request and challenging the court's competence to issue the work permits.
In response to these claims, the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television filed a motion before the Supreme Court alleging, among other things, that the labour courts' competence to issue work permits to minors should be provided for by law. Since no such law exists, any decision or recommendation issued by the labour courts in this regard violates the constitutional principle of legality.
On August 24 2015 the Supreme Court granted a preliminary injunction to the association, suspending the labour courts' competence to issue work permits to minors.
The injunction was granted based on the Supreme Court's understanding that although all labour matters should be decided by the labour courts, the issue of work permits to minors is a civil matter, as it is considered a voluntary procedure. As such, the Civil Court of Children and Youth is competent to decide whether a work permit should be issued, as the protection of minors relates to their social and cultural development, health, education, leisure, dignity and freedom.
Until the Supreme Court has issued a final decision on the association's action, the injunction will remain and only the Civil Court of Children and Youth will be permitted to issue work permits to minors.
For further information of this topic please contact Vilma Toshie Kutomi or Nathiê Tielle Mattos Luz at Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados by telephone (+55 11 3147 7600) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados website can be accessed at www.mattosfilho.com.br.
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