Introduction

On June 27 2016 Law 13,301 introduced new rights and rules which have extended the duration of maternity leave for mothers of newborns infected with a disease transmitted by the yellow fever mosquito – that is, the Zika virus, Chikungunya fever and the Dengue virus.

The World Health Organisation has declared the Zika virus – one of the most dangerous diseases transmitted by the yellow fever mosquito – a global public health emergency, as it has led to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains.

In Brazil, there have been approximately 91,300 cases of the Zika virus since 2015.(1) By the end of May 2016, more than 100,000 people were infected with Chikungunya fever and almost 1.3 million cases of Dengue were reported nationwide. The number of people infected with diseases transmitted by the yellow fever mosquito in Brazil has grown in 2016 compared to 2015.

General rules

All woman employed in the private sector and who contribute to social security have the right to maternity leave.(2)

On January 1 2010 Law 11,770/2008 extended maternity leave from 120 days to 180 days. However, this additional 60 days is optional for private employers that voluntarily adhere to the Company Citizen Programme.

If granted the additional 60 days, the employee will receive the full amount of her last monthly salary, and the company can deduct the additional salary paid to the employee from its corporate income taxes.

New rights and rules

According to the new rules, employees who are eligible for maternity leave (considering the general rules) will have the right to 180 days of maternity leave if their child is infected by any of the diseases transmitted by the yellow fever mosquito, including the Zika virus and Chikungunya fever.

The newborn must have a neurological sequelae associated with the mentioned diseases. In these cases, employers must grant the additional 60 days of maternity leave.

The employee will receive the full amount of her monthly salary during this 60-day period.

Comment

Law 13,301 aims to provide better health options to children born with neurological sequelae as a result of the diseases transmitted by the yellow fever mosquito, who will have to undergo continuous medical treatments and long physiotherapy sessions during the first few months of life.

Considering that newborns should be closely monitored by their mothers during this period, Law 13,301 helps to prevent an even worse medical condition in the future and also reduces the risk that mothers will resign in order to care for their children.

For further information of this topic please contact Dario Abrahão Rabay or Paulo Henrique Campos at Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados by telephone (+55 11 3147 7600) or email (drabay@mattosfilho.com.br or phcampos@mattosfilho.com.br). The Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados website can be accessed at www.mattosfilho.com.br.

Endnotes

(1) www.brasil.gov.br/saude/2016/04/saude-divulga-pimeiro-balanco-com-casos-de-zika-no-pais.

(2) It also applies to the women who do not have an employment agreement but contribute to social security. This right is provided in the Article 392 of the Consolidation of Labour Law.

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