The National Congress approved this week a provisional measure that changes rules for food stamps and meal vouchers.
Among the measures, which still need presidential sanction to be valid, is the possibility for the worker to withdraw the food stamp after 60 days of receipt.
Before the end of this period, the approved rules also seek to ensure that the benefit is used only for food. Normally, while food stamps can be used in supermarkets, meal tickets are accepted in restaurants, cafeterias and bakeries, as long as they are accredited.
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VA and VR will be used for food only
The measure establishes new rules for payment to the worker, aiming to ensure that the benefit is used exclusively for the payment of meals and food.
According to information from the Ministry of Labor, there are indications that the benefit would be used to pay for streaming services, cable TV, even gyms.
With the ban, any non-food products can be banned. For example: the use of the benefit for the purchase of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes is prohibited, even if these are sold by supermarkets.
If fraud remains, companies can be fined or even disqualified from the service. This applies both to the establishment that is selling products not related to food, and to the company that accredited it.
The application of the fine can be from BRL 5,000 to BRL 50,000 which can be doubled in case of recidivism or embarrassment to inspection.
Unused balance can be withdrawn after 60 days
Another novelty provided for by the law concerns unused VA and VR balances. If the worker does not spend the benefit amount within 60 days, he will have the right to withdraw this amount in cash, and use it as he sees fit.
The provision was not in the original MP and was included by Congress, now pending presidential sanction.
The worker can ask the company for free portability between VA and VR service plans — that is, they can change the company that operates the payment of the aid at no cost.
This rule depends on the presidential veto and, if sanctioned, will only come into effect on May 1, 2023.
Whoever accepts a flag must accept all
The text also provides for the so-called interoperability between flags . In other words, the worker will be able to use the card in restaurants that are not accredited by his brand – it is enough for the establishment to accept payment in meal vouchers for him to be able to use his credits.
The measure will also only be valid for next year, scheduled for May 1, 2023.
What changes for companies
The MP starts to prohibit the granting of discounts at the time of contracting companies that supply food aid.
Until then, ticket providers offer discounts to employers who hire their services. On the other hand, they charge higher prices for restaurants and supermarkets, passing on the discount value to these establishments.
In the government’s assessment, this makes food for the worker more expensive, as the value is passed on by the companies to the final consumer.
Therefore, companies that maintain this practice may also be fined from BRL 5,000 to BRL 50,000, which can be doubled in case of recidivism or embarrassment to inspection.
These bans do not affect current contracts. They only take effect 14 months after the law is published.
* Under supervision of Ligia Tuon
Source: CNN Brasil
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