Every 1 May is Labour Day in Brazil to recognise the accomplishments of Brazilian workers and to address unsolved workers’ rights issues.
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Labour Day has been celebrated by Brazilians since 1895, but it wasn’t until 1924 that it gained official status as a pubic holiday. During these early years, it was common for there to be labour strikes, civil unrest, and even violent protests on Labour Day.
But when president Vargas took office, although he was an unelected dictator, Labour Day became a time when new labour laws and workers’ rights regulations were instituted.
During the 1940’s and beyond, the Vargas administration set up a minimum wage, a Labour Court, an 8-hour work day, child labour laws, guaranteed vacation time and pension plans, and more. This made him popular enough to get elected for his final years as president, after ruling unelected for many years.
In Brazil, 1 May is a time when the minimum wage is often raised or when other labour laws are enacted. It’s also a time of parades, festivals, and just spending time at home with family.