In a ruling issued on August 4th last, the Plenary of the Superior Labor Court of Appeals (TST) found unconstitutional the text of the caput of Article 39 of Law 8.177/91, which determined that the adjustment of the sums due before Labor Courts adopt the Taxa Referencial Diária (TRD) rate, which is the same that is adopted to adjust sums in savings accounts (cadernetas de poupança).

Accordingly, the labor credits amounts shall heretofore be adjusted based on the accrued change in the Special, Broad Consumer Prices Index (IPCA-E) calculated by the Brazilian Geography and Statistical Data Institute (IBGE), which was already being adopted to adjust the amounts of court payment decisions and orders amounting to small sums (RPV) of the Federal Government, as well as to the administrative decisions of the Superior Court of Appeals (TST) and Supreme Court (STF).

Such ruling envisaged to re-establish the right to full adjustment of the credit that was recognized in the court ruling, inasmuch as the TRD does not reflect inflation and this was causing an increasing decrease in the creditor's purchase power. In 2013, for example, the TRD corresponded to 0.2897%, while the IPCA-E corresponded to 5.91%.

Back then the Judges also modulated the effects of that ruling, which should retroact back to June 30, 2009, not affecting, however, the status of legal situations that were already consolidated, i.e. when the payment had already been paid, in which cases the pay obligation had already been performed and the obligation extinguished, being, therefore, acts that had already materialized according to the regulations that were in force when the acts were performed.

Thus, the effects of the subject ruling apply solely to cases that are pending where the credit is still outstanding, insofar as no right to be protected or a completed legal act that requires protection exists.

We emphasize that the table that applies to the adjustment of labor debts applying the new rate is already available and may be accessed in the Higher Council of the Labor Courts (CSJT) website.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.