Thursday, 25 April 2013

soul.set is celebrating 2 years this Sunday!

One of my favourite things to do on a Sunday afternoon here is head over to Lapa and hang out at soul.set. They are celebrating their 2 year anniversary this Sunday!

They're giving SP Night Social R5 discount / person! You can rsvp at

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

ANZAC Day Service & Commemorative Dinner

Last minute notice, tickets close today for the Anzac Day Service and Commemorative Dinner that is tomorrow evening, Thursday 25th April.

Dear Madam/Sir,

The Australian Consulate is briefly extending the deadline to register and pay for the Anzac Day Service and Commemorative Dinner that will be held this week on Thursday 25th April. If you had missed seeing the invitation before or haven’t had time to respond to it, now is the time to do so, before they have to close numbers for the event on Wednesday.

Information for the event is attached below. If you have already registered, why not pass the invitation to a New Zealand or Australian friend who may not yet know about it?

Monday, 22 April 2013

Essential reading: American Exbrat in Sao Paulo

My fellow blogger Ms Foxhole aka Born Again Brazilian has just published a book about moving to / living in Sao Paulo .. A great read for anyone moving here! Also great for those who are already living here, I laughed so much because it's all so true and every week you will have similar experiences. I was just living one particular experience (being asked for documents on a weekly basis instead of just being sent the list of required documents all at once). 

It's one thing learning about a new culture, but actually adapting to it is another. I don't know if the stress of being late for an appointment will ever go away (I absolutely hate being late), making plans last minute, doing things in not orderly fashion, or wearing a thong bikini will ever come naturally to me... 

Here's one of my favourite excerpts from the book:

"I had one of my Brazilian graduate business students explain it (process) to me this way.

Our American counterparts want us to follow a timeline of A, B, C, D and E, in that order, to get the project done. But we think B should go first, then we'll do A, then E and wrap it all up with C. Forget D all together. And the Americans get very upset.

That gave me an instant migraine." 

Thank god for caiprinhas that make those migraines go away!

Ms Foxhole will also be attending the SP Night Connect this Wednesday evening at PJ Clarkes. Come and meet her, have a few drinks (and buffalo wings and nachos, mmm!) give her great reviews of her book, share SP experiences (if you've already been living here for awhile) or learn from her experiences (if you've just moved here). 

Buy her book for kindle here.

Check our her Facebook page here.

Monday, 15 April 2013

A pure networking event - Wednesday 24th April, 8pm

Some people hate networking. Others love it. Even though I'm one of those who love getting out and meeting new people, I still don't like the actual term "network" - I think because traditionally, the idea of networking was going out to meet people who could benefit you. I think now networking has become a whole range of things, especially when you have just moved to a new country. It becomes just not just about business, but connecting with people who have similar ideals, lifestyles and beliefs as you. Finding friends, finding your soulmate, finding drinking buddies or if you're lucky you find one person that fits all, hah! But unless you are one of those social butterflies, with no shame or has no qualms of approaching a stranger, sober and saying hello - it can be an uncomfortable and strainful evening trying to find someone interesting to talk to.

Internation events use to be great for networking when I first arrived in town over 3 years ago. I really enjoyed their events and met some of my closest friends through the events and the online forums. Everyone went there for the same reason, to meet people for all different types of reasons. Now it's just turned into one big meat market... I can't talk to man without them assuming I'm hitting on them, or talk to another woman because I'm a woman and irrelevant in her focus for the evening. Not my cup of tea!

So the team from SPNM have come up with SP Night Connect which is pure networking. They help you meet people in a much more relaxed environment, introduce you to people and you get to have a few drinks at the same time. When you confirm your attendance, you fill out a questionnaire so they know what you are looking for and they will actively work that evening to make sure you meet people that you need to meet. It's productive, efficient and you won't leave the evening thinking - what a waste of time!

The next one is on Wednesday 24th April, hosted by PJ Clarkes in Itaim from 8pm onwards. The group will be diverse and dynamic, and if you end up sitting to someone you already know (and don't like), give one of the organisers a nudge so they can move you to another table. It costs R75 per person which includes a welcome drink, and three rounds of appetisers as you sit at each round of introduction and conversation.

Click here for more information.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Mini cupcakes at SP Night Market this Saturday

We will be bring back the mini cupcakes this Saturday 13th April afternoon at SP Night Market. We also have guest check Roxana Picado Reider who is bringing her delicious chocolate chip cookies and brownies! Come stop by and have a taster, check out the beers from Cevejaria Nacional, eat some ceviche, listen to some groovy musicians, buy some hats and of course eat cupcakes - and they are so small you can literally eat dozens!

SP Night Market is on this Saturday 13th April from 2-7pm at Escola Sao Paulo, Rua Augusta 2239.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Mommy & Me Class

Just an advert for one of my friends here who is running a Mommy & Me Class. If you have babies under the age of 12 months she runs once a week classes. It's a great opporuntity to meet other mother's / babies same age, and share a glass of wine (this is why she's my friend : )

Hello Mummies and Daddies- Little Peanut is starting a special 4-week mini session next week for babies ages 8 - 12 months. Each week there will be a new theme.
Week 1 - Indoor Beach Party
Week 2 - Mush & Gush (Arts and Crafts) - Take home a keepsake of your baby's hand and feet
Week 3 - Outdoor Explore
Week 4 - Taste Test (try 4 of my favorite finger foods that your baby will be eating as he/she get more adventurous with textures and flavors) and take home recipe cards-- also share your favorite baby foods with one another

email me at for more information
visit to learn more about Little Peanut Mommy and Me

Monday, 1 April 2013

New household help laws

So if you haven't heard, the empregada unions have won the right to FGTS. FGTS is a tax that is paid by all employers (up until now, this was not a legal requirement for household help) and is essentially a redundancy pay out. I'm torn over the idea of this being a good or a bad thing for Brazil. If the idea is to move domestic employees into better paying jobs then there needs to be the support in place first before it happens. Training, education, job search agencies, a waiting period instead of changing overnight... There is an estimated 850,000 maids that will be fired because of this new law as families can't afford the rising costs. I'm going to let go of our weekly ironing lady - essentially the money that I pay her would be of more value in extra-hours for my full time empregada. I've come from 2 different backgrounds - growing up in New Zealand where my mother was a full-time mother who gave up her job to look after me and my sisters, to the second part of my life where we had a live-in filipino maid in Hong Kong. I wouldn't call either of these developing countries, so then the argument for Brazil's progress is redundant.

AND after attending the fantastic Women Changing Brazil Symposium the other week, I get my back up because I really want to set up a business here. I'm now trying to wrap my head around how our monthly expenditures are going to shoot through the roof as I try and juggle the children's schedules, keep track of our empregada's working hours, and bake cupcakes all day ; ).

The below information is from Patricia de Luna (our famous lawyer-dentist at the INC) who runs the course on domestic employment for the International Newcomer's Group of Sao Paulo. I blogged here about her presentation on household help last year. You must be a member to join her presentation which will be later this month once the law comes into effect (tomorrow). I would highly recommend becoming an INC member, if anything to have access to this knowledge base. She has kindly given me permission to copy over some of the information below she has been posting on the INC Facebook page (again, you need to be a member), as well as some answers to questions I had at the bottom. If you can't make the workshop at the end of the month (date to be confirmed), I will be blogging about it of course!

* Here is an online calculator to work out how much more you will be spending
** Reuters article on law change
*** More information from Folha, though in portuguese


TODAY, the Brazilian Senate approved the Constitutional Amendment that grants additional labor rights for domestic employees. It is is expected to be promulgated next Tuesday, April 2nd in a session of both houses of Congress.

The new legislation will take effect on that date for all domestic employees. However, some of the rights granted by the new legislation will require regulation and will not take effect immediately.

What rights are expected to be effective immediately?
- Domestic employees may not earn less than minimum wage;
- Salary protection (it is a crime to retain payment);
- Work hours limited to 8 hours per day, and 44 hours per week;
- Overtime pay (50%);
- Legal recognition of collective agreements;
- Reduction of labor risks;
- Differences in salary, tasks and admission criteria based on sex, age, color or marital status are prohibited.
- Discrimination of disabled employees is prohibited.
- Minors under 18 may not work at night or in circumstances that offer danger or health risks. Minors under 16 may not be employed.

What rights are expected to require regulation?
- Compensation in case of unfair dismissal;
- Unemployment insurance and family allowance, to be paid for by the government;
- Additional pay for work after 10pm;
- Daycare assistance;
- Insurance against accidents in the work environment.

No predictions have been made regarding when laws regulating these rights will pass.

How this new legislation will affect employment relations is still unknown and a number of questions have not been answered, including…
- How should you control and document work hours in your home?
- Will overtime pay and additional pay for work at night apply to employees who live in your home?

Please note that these changes are not applicable to independent daily workers, such as faxineiras.

For now, that’s all the information we have. INC is planning a workshop soon, and we will have more information.

Patricia de Luna1 April 18:30

The new law for domestic maids (registered empregadas) will take effect tomorrow.

If you have not done so yet, sit with your maids and revisit their working hours to make sure you are both clear on what those times will be. Beginning tomorrow, work hours are limited to 8 hours per day (plus one hour for lunch, mandatory) and a total of 44 hours per week. It is recommended ( but not mandatory) that you document these hours, either with a simple spreadsheet or by using a "Livro de Ponto" which can be purchased at any office supply store (including Kalunga). The maid should, in her own handwriting, write down what time she arrived, what time she stopped for lunch, what time she came back from lunch and what time she left work and sign it every day. If you do decide to document these hours, please make sure it is documented to the exact minute. A document showing that an employee began work every single day precisely at 8:00am, had lunch precisely from 12pm to 1pm and left precisely at 5pm will appear to be phony.

It is not clear yet whether the 4 hours on Saturdays can be carried over to the weekdays without union approval - we should have more information soon.

At the end of each month, you will need to check how many hours were worked and overtime must be paid with an additional 50%.

It does not look like FGTS will be a concern just yet. It will officially become a mandatory right tomorrow, but will most likely require an additional law to regulate it. If you do not pay FGTS yet, my recommendation is that you do not begin to do so before it is regulated.

If you feel that the cost of having an empregada may be of concern, there is an online cost calculator (see link below) that you can use to estimate what your monthly cost will be. Please note that it is only an estimate, does not include all of the details outlined in the new law and costs may vary.

If you are considering firing your maid, this is the time to do so.

No; to do so is illegal.

There is no legal impediment. However, it may leave room for doubt as to whether the employment relationship continued (ie: fraud) so please consider this with care.

We are waiting for the law to be signed tomorrow and for certain rules to be made clear, so that we may provide you with the most accurate information possible. We expect to have the workshop in late April so watch for the weekly emails from INC!

Some other related information:

Does it still count as time and a half if they are sleeping?

   * No; you will only count the time that is being worked.

Can we carry over hours from week to week?
   * In theory yes. However, it is still not clear whether this will require going through a union to do so, as is the case with other employees.

What if she needs time off for sick child or to go to doctor, do we count hours she has not worked?
    * If she brings proof of her consultation or hospital visit, her absence is justified and those hours cannot be deducted.

Do we add up all extra hours and pay at end of month?
    * Yes - and do document this as such.

Do we pay inss and fgts on total salary including overtime or is just for their base monthly salary?
     * It will be owed on the full amount.

Does she contribute any % to fgts?
     * No - that will be yours to pay. It looks like it will be 8% and it looks like this will not take effect immediatly (it requires regulation by another law), though the empregada union argues differently. Will wait to see how that works out.

Does the employer pay fgts starting month of april? I.e should be included in inss tax book and paid by may 15th for april?
    * See question above. However, the FGTS is not added to the INSS. 

Yellow fever vaccine

We gave our girls (1 year and 3 years at the time) yellow fever injections before our trip to Bonito. Our doctor advised for, but have others that were told not to bother. I'm not one of those mother's who love to vaccinate their kids and would've thought twice about doing it, but we were also travelling to South Africa later. Here is a map of Brazil noting where yellow fever is mainly concentrated.

First thing, try and get your vaccine 10 days before travel at one of the official clinics and ask if you can get an international vaccine certificate / stamp. Hospital Clinicas, Av. Dr. Enéas de Carvalho Aguiar, s/n, 4º andar, open from 8am - 4pm, Monday to Friday. You don't need to make an appointment. Your dose lasts for 10 years so if you are travelling regular from Brazil to one of these countries, then it's a no brainer.

If you get it done at another clinic, you will then have to pre-register online before your trip and then go to the ANVISA office at the airport to have them issue you an international yellow vaccine certificate which will be accepted by the country you are travelling to. I saw the list of countries and was surprised by how long it was!


I've been to CEAGESP before on Tuesday and Friday mornings for the flower market (amazing, really worth the time to go especially if you want to decorate your apartment / house!) It's located close to Parque de Vila Lobos, a little north of Pinheiros. I've always known they have a weekend market as well but have just never managed to get there.

Well we flew in on Saturday night from our holidays, jetlagged, woke up at 4am so thought, what better time go to and check out the market! 

Where the flower market usually is under the giant covered area, is replaced with dozens (i'm tempted to say hundreds) of stands selling fruit and vegetable, meats, fish, nuts, pastels (a palmito pastel and a coconut water is always a great mid-morning snack!), spices and herbs. It was SO much cheaper than my normal feira. For example, I bought small 10 mexican avocados for R3 (all together, not each!). I'm going to try and make this my regular week shop for fruit and vegetables, another option for a family outing in Sao Paulo AND it was not crowded either, this was at 8am on Sunday morning.