Brazilian Supreme Court maintains the end of compulsory employees’ union contributions


STF mantém fim da obrigatoriedade de recolhimento da contribuição sindical

In a decision rendered on June 29, the Federal Supreme Court endorsed the end of the compulsory character of the union contributions, in the exact terms established by the Labor Reform.

The 19 direct actions of unconstitutionality filed by Confederations, Federations and Unions, which claimed for the unconstitutionality of the articles that altered the Labor Code and suppressed the obligation of payment of the union contribution by the employers, regardless of the notification of the authorization by the employee.

The amendment, introduced in the Labor Code by the Labor Reform (which came into force in November 2017), made the financial transfer optional, establishing in its article 579 that “the discount of the union contribution is subject to the prior and express authorization of those who participate in a particular economic or professional category, or of a liberal profession, in favor of the representative union of the same category or profession”.

In other words, after the Reform, in order to have a discount of the union contribution of the employees, there should be an express authorization, while in the previous scenario, there should be the express opposition of the employee to avoid the discount.

This contribution corresponds to the salary of a work day, retained annually in the remuneration of the employee, for the maintenance of the union of his/her category and, until the introduction of the Labor Reform, had legal tax nature, since was instituted by law and compulsory.

However, after the decision of the Supreme Court, the contribution ceased to have a tax nature, since it became optional, and therefore, there should be a reframing of its legal nature.

Araújo e Policastro