Bem program ends next Wednesday

After the completion of approximately 23 million agreements between employer and employee, the Bem program will end this Wednesday, August 25th. The measure created by the Federal Government made it possible to make working hours more flexible, reduce wages and even suspend contracts during the pandemic. These possibilities were important to promote social distancing and, therefore, prevent the dissemination of Covid-19.

However, from the 26th, Thursday, all employment relationships related to the program must return to their normal conditions.

In all, there have been 23,367,948 agreements since its creation. The program ended up being closed during the end of last year. However, the increase in Covid-19 cases during the beginning of 2021 and after strong pressure from businessmen, the measure was resumed. In this sense, the federal government extended the program for another four months at the end of April.

What is the Emergency Employment and Income Maintenance Benefit (BEm)?

BEm is a Federal Government program aimed at workers. These, in turn, could enter into an agreement with their employers, during the pandemic period, for the reduction of wages, working hours or temporary suspension of the employment contract. All these measures, then, would be in accordance with the criteria of Provisional Measure 1.045/21.

The benefit is intended for workers who, due to the impacts of the pandemic, affirm:

  • Agreement to reduce working hours and wages;
  • Agreement for temporary suspension of employment contract.

Thus, the reduction could be 25%, 50% or 70% with a maximum term of 120 days. The first installment, therefore, would be made available from 30 days after the date of execution of the agreement, with the subsequent ones being released every 30 days.

Some workers were not entitled to the 2021 GOOD

However, the program excluded certain workers who fit into specific situations. In this sense, those citizens who fit into at least one of the scenarios described below did not have access to the benefit:

  • Public servants, public employees, holders of elective mandates who also have employment in the private sector;
  • Employee occupying a position in a free appointment and dismissal committee;
  • Persons who receive social security benefits, from the RGPS or RPPS, except for pension benefits for death or accident assistance;
  • Who receives Unemployment Insurance;
  • Who receives the Qualification Scholarship;
  • Employees with an intermittent employment contract.

How much was the benefit?

The main objective of BEm is to prevent companies from carrying out mass layoffs. Thus, the amount provided by BEm 2021 was calculated by the Ministry of Economy based on the worker’s last three months of salary. Thus, it corresponded to a percentage of the value of the Unemployment Insurance that he would be entitled to if he were dismissed from employment without just cause.

For example, a worker whose salary was reduced by 25% will have access to 25% of the amount of unemployment insurance he is entitled to. In the case of temporary suspension of employment contracts, however, the government pays 100% of the unemployment insurance amount to the employee, in companies that have gross revenue of up to R$ 4.8 million in 2019. companies with income above this amount will have to pay 30% of their salary, with the other 70% being calculated from the unemployment insurance amount.

Thus, the benefit had a maximum value of R$1,912.00, per installment, according to the type of contract between worker and employer.

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What were the most used modalities?

Regarding the most adopted modalities in the program, the reduction of working hours and salaries surpassed the number of suspension of contracts. This, in turn, only appeared in a considerable number during the most aggressive periods of the pandemic. Check out the numbers related to the measure below:

  • 10,117,441 of agreements for suspension of contract.
  • 5,187,642 of agreements for a 70% reduction in wages and hours.
  • 4,414,953 of agreements for a 50% reduction in wages and hours.
  • 3,465,339 of agreements to reduce wages and hours by 25%.

In the last four months, the services sector was the area with the highest number of agreements made, reaching half of the total number formalized. The sector includes bars and restaurants that still have to follow the Covid-19 virus containment restrictions.

Another point analyzed in the agreements was the large participation of women, reaching 53% of suspensions and reductions.

Project managed to fulfill its objective

According to the economist at Fecomercio-SP, Fábio Pina, the program managed to achieve its purpose of maintaining jobs.

In this sense, the economist understands that the program influenced a lower number of unemployed than previous projections. According to him, therefore, “we had 13 million unemployed and that number rose to 14 million, much less than the 20 million that were projected at the beginning of the pandemic. Which shows that the program was very important and was very successful”.

In addition, Fábio Pina also comments on the decrease in demand for aid that the program promotes over time and the recovery of the economy. Thus, he considers that these are points that show that the measure could already have been ended. Thus, he indicates that “in the current month, there are only 131 thousand, and could reach around 150 thousand. There are no longer so many voluntary demands from companies and I believe that the role of the program has already been fulfilled”.

However, during its first month of operation, in April of last year, there were almost 6 million agreements. That is, an expressive number and greater than the current one.

Federal Government May Create Similar Program for Emergencies

Going ahead, the Federal Government has been analyzing the possibility of creating a new alternative program that can be activated in emergency situations.

Thus, the maneuver is provided for in the text of the bill, which is intended to replace the Provisional Measure that reissued the wage suspension program. In addition, the text already has the approval of the Chamber of Deputies, and should be sent to the Federal Senate.

This way, if it has final approval, the project can remain for specific cases in the future. Thus, your benefits will be able to last in the labor market.

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