Food assistance: what it is and who is entitled to it. - Topics of the day
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Benefits

Food assistance: what it is and who is entitled to it.

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Carol Torres

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Food Assistance

Food assistance is a benefit granted mainly to public servants and employees of private companies, its main objective is to help cover food expenses. 

Requirements can vary widely depending on your individual situation and where you work. Therefore, workers must check with their employer or competent body the availability of assistance.

This is a right that can make all the difference in the quality of life of workers. To find out more information about the benefit, I invite you to continue reading!

Legislation and regulation

Food assistance: what it is and who is entitled to it - Source: Freepik
Food assistance: what it is and who is entitled – Source: Freepik

Law No. 14,442

Law No. 14,442, published in 2022, talks about the payment of food assistance to employees and amends Law No. 6,321, of April 14, 1976, and the Consolidation of Labor Laws, approved by Decree-Law No. 5,452, of May 1, 1943.

This law aims to regulate the payment of food assistance to workers, establishing rules and limits for granting this benefit.

Consolidation of Labor Laws (CLT)

Published on May 1, 1934, the Consolidation of Labor Laws (CLT) is a set of norms and rules that regulate individual and collective relationships in Brazil. CLT is fundamental to protecting workers' rights, establishing a relationship between employer and worker.

It is worth mentioning that the CLT also contributes to ensuring fair working conditions, promoting human dignity and reducing labor conflicts.

Worker meal program (PAT)

The Workers' Food Program (PAT) was developed in 1976 by the federal government. Its objective is to improve the dietary quality of workers with a view to promoting their health and preventing occupational diseases, through the granting of tax incentives.

Companies that participate in PAT can offer this benefit to their employees tax-free, as long as they respect the rules established by the program.

Rights and duties

Benefits for workers

The value of the benefit paid by registered employers is exempt from social charges. Any employer can receive food allowance payments, as long as it is not paid in cash, and this portion will not be considered as salary funds for legal purposes. 

Obligations of companies

According to the new law, companies that offer food assistance must follow certain obligations, such as:

  • Offer the benefit clearly and objectively to employees;
  • Do not require compensation or retention of values from workers;
  • Do not use the benefit to pay off other expenses or debts;
  • Do not offer the benefit in substitution for any other form of remuneration;
  • Do not deduct the value of the benefit in case of employee absences or delays.

Inspection and penalties

Food assistance: what it is and who is entitled to it - Source: Freepik
Food assistance: what it is and who is entitled – Source: Freepik

Supervision is carried out through audits and inspections at workplaces, where both the quality and the practical implementation of the program by participating companies are assessed.

If companies that adopted PAT do not comply with established standards and guidelines, they may be subject to various penalties. Fines depend on the nature of the infraction.

Brazilian legislation seeks to ensure that the benefits of PAT actually reach workers in a fair and adequate way, contributing to the improvement of the nutritional and health conditions of the workforce.

Payment methods

Payment of food allowance can be made in different ways, but it depends on the company's policies. Some companies adopt food vouchers, which can be used in commercial establishments, or meal vouchers, which are normally used to buy ready-made meals in restaurants.

Irregularities and fraud

Food Aid can also be the target of irregularities and fraud. This happens when workers use the benefit improperly or when there is an obstacle to inspection.

One of these irregularities occurs when the benefit is used for other purposes, and not to purchase food. It is essential that workers are aware of the importance of using the benefit appropriately and that they are punished if there are any misconduct.

Conclusion

Food assistance is a government benefit designed to help workers cover food expenses. It is intended for purchasing food, different from meal vouchers, used for ready-made meals in restaurants and similar items.

It's important to note that rules and requirements can vary widely depending on your individual situation and where you work. Therefore, workers must check with their employer or competent body the availability of assistance.

The aid is not mandatory by law, but there is regulation and a tax incentive for its provision. For employees, this right represents an increase in purchasing power, contributing to healthier eating and ensuring food security.!

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Carol Torres

Graduated in advertising and publicity and senior writer at Matérias do dia. My mission is to write impactful texts that make a difference in the lives of our readers!

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