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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The Senate in Brazil on Tuesday approved three projects which senators hope will limit the so-called ‘super salaries’ for public servants. The projects, if passed as laws, will effectively limit wages for public officials and retirees in all government spheres, imposed by the country’s Constitution. The salary received by the country’s Federal Supreme Court Justices will be fixed to a maximum of R$33,700 per month.

Brazil, Brasilia,Senator Katia Abreu speaks in Senate plenary about end of super salary projects,
Senator Katia Abreu speaks in Senate plenary about end of super salary projects, photo by Moreira Mariz/Agencia Senado.

“If the limit is low, the minimum wage is even lower,” argued Senator Katia Abreu, the rapporteur of the projects. “In a country where the minimum wage is R$870 (per month) we can not have a ceiling (for public officials) the size of what exists in Brazil now. In other countries this difference is much smaller,” added Abreu.

According to the projects, ‘total wages’ earned by public officials consists not only of the monthly salary but also benefits such as housing allowances, daycare, and health care. Others forms of remuneration, such as grants paid by the public agencies for training and specialization courses, will not count towards the limit to be received.

According to Senator Reguffe it is inadmissible that even with the current laws there are some judges who can earn more than R$200,000 per month in Brazil. “If there are loopholes in legislation for someone to earn more than the ceiling, it’s up to us, lawmakers, to create a new law that will close that loophole,” he said at the Senate’s plenary session.

A survey conducted by daily O Globo in November shows that at least ten senators receive wages above the constitutional ceiling. The survey reveals that some of these legislators receive like of ex-governor pensions benefits along with their regular senator’s wages, which lead to ‘super salaries’ that range from R$52,700 to R$67,500.

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