The Meal Coupon is a benefit offered by companies to employees, so that they do not have to spend out of their own pockets to eat during the working hours.
According to labor laws, this is not a mandatory benefit. However, many companies offer meal vouchers to attract and retain professionals.
Usually, this add-on is offered in a card format, uploaded monthly by the company. The employee can use it in restaurants, bakeries and snack bars.
Do you want to answer the main questions about the operation of the meal voucher? Then take a look at this post! We will show you the advantages of adopting this benefit and what the law says about it. Follow us!
Is the meal voucher a mandatory benefit?
If the meal ticket is foreseen in the collective agreement or in the employment contract, it becomes a mandatory benefit. But what does the law say?
According to the Art. 458 of the Law of CLT, the value of food is already incorporated into the employee's salary.
Article 458 – In addition to the payment in cash, the salary, for all legal purposes, includes food, housing, clothing or other “in natura” benefits that the company, under the contract or custom, habitually provides to the employee. Under no circumstances will payment be allowed with alcoholic beverages or harmful drugs. (Wording given by the Decree-Law No. 229, 2.28.1967).
In Art. 81, the law explains the composition of the employees' wages, in which food is represented as one of the expenses that make up the wage. Look:
Art. 81 – The minimum wage will be determined by the formula Sm = a + b + c + d + e, in which “a”, “b”, “c”, “d” and “e” represent, respectively, the value daily expenses with food, housing, clothing, hygiene and transportation necessary for the life of an adult worker.
The difference between food stamps and meal vouchers
There are two benefit possibilities that companies can grant: meal vouchers or food stamps. We have previously explained what the meal voucher is for. He serves for the employee to pay for ready meals in specific establishments, such as restaurants and bakeries.
Food vouchers, on the other hand, benefit for supermarket products, which helps a lot for those who have family and do not want to spend so much on stock. This benefit is not accepted in the same places as the meal voucher!
How can companies choose the best benefit?
The best tip for those looking to offer this type of benefit is the following: let your collaborator choose the best one for him. The companies that give this possibility tend to please the majority, since people will have at their disposal the benefit that best suits their needs.
If it is not possible to leave the choice open, your company can do an internal search to find out which of the two is preferred by the majority: food stamps or meal vouchers.
Some companies even plan financially to offer both benefits. This is certainly an incentive strategy to attract and retain talent.
Establish good value for the meal voucher
As it is not a type of mandatory benefit, there is no minimum amount stipulated for the meal voucher. Who defines this expense is the company, which adapts it according to its possibilities.
For this reason, it is always very important that companies maintain a benefits policy compatible with your financial resources. It is good that the company is also aware of the values of food in the region where it is located.
It is ineffective to offer any meal voucher value if the region of the company has a high cost of living, expensive establishments. Therefore, organizations must take this point into account.
There is also the possibility of accepting the value established by the union in which the company is a member. Bearing in mind that in the case of the union, the values are defined in collective agreements.
Offer a voucher accepted in several places
Thinking of hiring a card service to offer the meal voucher? This can make life easier for the company and the employee himself! But stay tuned about the service coverage.
There is no point in offering a benefit that totally limits the employee to the places where he can eat! On the other hand, when there is the possibility to choose several establishments, you increase the satisfaction of your employees.
When offering a meal voucher, think about the practicality and ease that your employees will have.
What are the benefits of offering meal vouchers?
Even though it is not a mandatory benefit, during the recruitment many professionals keep an eye on companies that offer meal vouchers!
For this reason, offering employees the advantage of saving on food is a great advantage for their organization. There are countless benefits for both employees and companies. Meet some of them:
- attraction of new professionals;
- deduction of income tax for those who adhere to the Worker Food Program – PAT;
- savings in the employee's pocket, who will not have expenses with food;
- option of the collaborator to monitor in real time their expenses within applications, websites and etc;
- possibility for the employee to choose the place where he wants to eat;
- possibility for the employer to choose the benefit payment date;
- retaining talent.
About the Worker Food Program
Your company already adheres to the Worker Food Program?
Companies that adhere to it, an initiative proposed by the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MTE), can deduct up to 4% of income tax. Recalling that, through the program, food expenses are no longer considered part of the salary.
This fact is regulated by Law No. 6,321 in its Art. 1. and Art 3, which describes the advantages for the companies that adhere to this program. Check it out in full:
Art. 1 The legal entity may deduct, from the Income Tax due, an amount equivalent to the application of the applicable Income Tax rate on the sum of the costing expenses incurred, in the base period, in Workers' Food Programs, previously approved by the Ministry of Labor. and Social Security (MTPS), under the terms of this regulation.
Art 3rd. The contribution paid in natura by the company is not included as a contribution salary in the feeding programs approved by the Ministry of Labor.
Recalling that, when the employer pays this benefit in kind, this expense will be part of the monthly salary, resulting in social charges in the payroll. If the company pays through card or ticket, it becomes exempt from charges.
What are the trends of this type of benefit for the coming years?
As we have seen, adopting meal vouchers can bring countless advantages to companies, especially when the aim is to retain talent and attract good professionals.
Even if this is not an obligation for your organization, it is an incentive to leave the worker motivated, satisfied and in better health. In addition, there is the question of the economy, since he will not need to pay his own wages for lunch.
It is important to note that before offering a meal or food voucher, the company needs to be up to date with your financial planning. Measuring expenses is essential so that this benefit does not bring losses to the company!
The role of HR, together with the financial sector, is essential to control this investment and please the majority of the team.
Knowing this, it is time to know the main trends when it comes to corporate benefits. This way, you stay informed and competitive in the market!
This is a possibility that has attracted the attention of many companies, especially the most innovative ones. With this benefit, employees are able to redeem the salary for the days already worked at any time and quickly, without having to wait for a new month to start.
But how does this benefit companies?
Well, for the employee, this represents a chance to pay debts and cover emergencies without having to pay overdraft interest. Soon, less stress and more productivity in the work environment.
For companies, on-demand wages contribute to making them more competitive and attractive within the market. Today professionals do not seek only an interesting salary, but quality of life. The more benefits an organization offers, the more wellness options the employee has access to!
According to a survey by CareerBuilder, conducted in 2017, 78% of respondents are barely able to settle accounts with their salary. In addition, of the more than 3,000 respondents, about ¾ of them attested that they have one or more accumulated debts. A sign that something needs to be changed, do you agree?
O on-demand salary it is a modality that has been gaining strength in the market and aims to add flexibility so that employees receive for hours worked, but not yet paid. This alleviates many of the financial problems – and those generated by the challenges of closing accounts.
Let's look at a simple example? If the company is in the habit of making payments for its human resources only on the 30th, or on the fifth business day of each month, professionals are limited to that.
If a pending account is going to earn interest in that period, and there is no more money in the account, the debts pile up. However, with the offer of on-demand salary, the professional can rand get paid for days already worked when you want. Best of all, he has the flexibility to plan his month!
Changes in the benefit in the face of the pandemic
Considering our current pandemic scenario and work home office, Provisional Measure 927 provides in its article 2 that, during the state of public calamity, the employer and the employee may enter into an individual written agreement, in order to guarantee the permanence of the employment relationship.
He also says that it can be adopted the understanding that, if agreed with the employee the suppression of the meal voucher or the substitution for another benefit (as basic basket), this agreement will be valid.
The meal voucher has an indemnity nature, but if there is no “damage”, there is nothing to indemnify. If the worker is working at home during the pandemic and does not need to eat outside, the payment of the meal voucher is no longer mandatory within the parameters of the company.
We saw that the meal voucher is a benefit worth including within companies, since it contributes to the well-being and satisfaction of all employees. But you can also opt for other possibilities if you want to add value to your organization!
If you want to adopt this idea in your business, analyze the financial situation of your company very well so that it can handle this type of expense.
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