Law 14,311/2022, enacted on March 8 by the Federal Government, reaches the forty-five of the second half to replace Law 14,151/21, and will be of little use to pregnant women and their employers. The text comes into force almost a year after it was proposed and is practically losing its purpose in the face of the imminent end of the state of public health emergency and under a protocol to prevent COVID-19 falling into disuse, such as the use of face mask or social distancing requirement.
It is important to mention that the previous law, although with the important purpose of protecting the health of pregnant women, ended up harming women who were, covertly, discriminated against and passed over in selective processes for new admissions, since many employers were fearful – in a scenario crisis – regarding the risk of employing collaborators who could later have to be removed from their duties – many of them impossible to be carried out remotely.
The benefit of the old law, of preserving the health and life of pregnant women, is now supplanted by the mandatory return to face-to-face work, only contemplating medical exceptions or even when remote work is possible, but mainly ignoring the constitutional prevalence of collective right. . The sanctioned text simply allows, on the basis of the pen, to work without vaccine, as long as the pregnant woman signs a term of responsibility under the seal of preserving the autonomy of the private will, ignoring judgments of the labor courts, as well as the health of colleagues and other workers who share public spaces.
The impression that remains is that the preservation of the life of the pregnant woman and the fetus are worth less now than they were before. If before they could not leave the house, because there was no vaccine and the risk of contagion was great, now, even with the availability of vaccine in health centers, without the obligation by law to vaccinate, using self-responsibility, pregnant women can commute to work, incurring the same initial risk for themselves and the baby.
To the extent that the peculiarity of the female universe of generating a life is preserved with all prenatal follow-up, ensuring possible removal by the INSS in case of risk in pregnancy – as it has always been possible to do – the treatment of the pregnant woman, as a worker, should be exactly the same for all workers.
Under the new law, pregnant women must stay at home only if they have not completed the vaccination cycle. It happens that, currently, either the pregnant woman is already vaccinated or she does not want to be vaccinated for any particular reason, but the condition of not having completed the vaccine cycle is increasingly rare, reaching a very small number of pregnant women.
In this context, it is obvious that a law was not needed to address the issue, it was sufficient for the impossibility of completing the vaccination cycle to be attested by a doctor to enable the removal of the pregnant woman by social security, guaranteeing the right to the respective benefit.
In short, the parliamentarians did not need to have had so much work. It would be enough to repeal the old law, have pregnant women work in person as they always did and, if they had any risk, in possession of a medical report, they would be removed, starting to receive the social security benefit.
And for those pregnant women who did not want to be vaccinated for any intimate reason, without plausible justification, that the same treatment as other people was applied, that is, encouraging vaccination and applying disciplinary penalties, including just cause, when applicable.
With the protocols against the spread of the disease being abolished, we will soon have within the companies only the concern of maintaining the periodic vaccine within the prevention planning imposed by health agencies, either to avoid the emergence of new variants or to promote health in the work environment, providing greater resistance to the consequences of the flu.
In this vein, in the near future, the vaccine will be part of everyone’s life and its proof will not even be required, as is already the case with other flu and respective vaccines.
Well, if the main objective was to repeal the old law and promote the return of pregnant women to face-to-face work, this new law is, at the very least, disastrous. With all its pyrotechnics, it arrives late and generates more doubts than solutions, with a strong tendency to be another ineffective law.
Between leaps and bounds, we continue life and work.