The unemployment benefit in Brazil is a constitutional right for the employee in relation to unfair dismissal as long as they fulfil certain criteria. 

On 30 December 2014, the Provisional Measure No. 665/2014 altered the Law No. 7998/1990 (the "Law") that regulates the unemployment benefit, and came into force on 28 February 2015.

Prior to this change to the Law, to be eligible for the unemployment benefit an individual (i) must have worked consecutively for at least six months prior to unemployment, though not necessarily with the same employer, and (ii) must not be in receipt of other social security benefits or sufficient income to support themselves and any dependents.

Following the change to the Law, the eligibility criteria for receiving the benefit have become much more rigorous. To be eligible now, employees must have received salary payments and been working for minimum periods (as set out below) prior to termination of their employment.

By “receiving salaries” it is understood that receipt could have been even one day in the month, and by “month worked” it is understood that the employee must have worked at least 15 days in the month.

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Social security contributions are paid directly by the employer, or in the case of domestic staff by the employing individual.  In the case of domestic employers, contributions must also be made to the Guarantee Fund for Severance Pay (FGTS), which, at the moment, are still voluntary on the part of the employer. The amount contributed will determine the amount the person receives and for how long.

The benefit is granted for a maximum of five instalments, one after each vesting period of sixteen months (calculated from the date of the last dismissal which enables the worker to receive the unemployment benefit), as set out below:

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