Worker Food Program: what are the advantages?

Companies have already realized that investing in the well-being and quality of life of their employees is a strategic decision that improves productivity and ensures competitiveness in the market. The Workers’ Food Program – PAT is a government initiative that uses tax incentives to encourage employers to provide a benefit for the proper feeding of their employees, which can bring positive results for all involved.

PAT was instituted by Law No. 6,321 of 1976 and regulated by Decree No. 5, of 1991. It prioritizes the service of low-income workers , that is, who receive up to 5 minimum monthly wages. By guaranteeing the attendance of these employees, the company can also extend it to employees with higher salaries, but the benefit granted should not be greater than that of lower income employees.

The main objective of PAT is to improve the nutritional conditions of workers, avoiding cases of diseases related to malnutrition. Adequate food can improve the employee’s physical capacity and quality of life, which also has positive consequences for the company . Employees who are more satisfied with the company and in good health have fewer absences, are more productive and demonstrate greater quality in their services.

Who can participate?

PAT membership is optional and free. Participation in the Program can take place in different ways:

  • Beneficiary company: company that grants benefits to its workers.
  • Collective food supplier: company that will be hired by the beneficiary company to manage the supply of food to workers.
  • Collective Food Service Provider: company hired by the beneficiary company to administer a system of legitimation documents for use of the benefit, that is, tickets, vouchers, coupons or electronic cards, in the categories of food stamps or food stamps.
  • Nutritionist: nutrition professionals registered with PAT can offer their services to companies that participate in the Program.

Any company registered in the National Register of Legal Entities (CNPJ) can join the program. Included are individual microentrepreneurs, microenterprises, non-profit companies, as well as bodies and entities of the Direct and Indirect Public Administration.

Once enrolled, the company’s participation in the Program is automatically renewed, with continuous validity. Registration can be done on the website .


How does the program work?

The beneficiary company can choose between three ways to serve its workers:

  1. Offering its own service, that is, being responsible for the entire process of producing and serving meals, or distributing food in a basic basket.
  2. Hiring third party companies registered with PAT to offer the service. It may be to manage the company’s own kitchen, or to produce meals and deliver them to the company, or to produce and distribute food baskets to employees.
  3. Hiring companies providing collective food service registered with the PAT to operate offer the system of documents of legitimation.

The employer may adopt more than one modality. It is possible to offer more than one type of benefit to the same worker, as well as workers receiving different benefits from each other, as long as there is a justification for this. It is forbidden to use the benefit as a reward, and the total amount of benefits granted to low-income workers must never be less than the amount received by those with higher income.

If the company chooses to use voucher, ticket or electronic card systems, the value of the benefits must be sufficient for the purchase of food that complies with the nutritional requirements set by PAT, stipulated in Interministerial Ordinance No. 66 . ASSERT (Association of Meal Companies and Meal Companies for Workers) conducts an annual survey on average meal expenses in each region, and the amounts may serve as a basis for the adequacy of the benefit. Access the 2016 results here .

If the company decides to install a kitchen at the workplace and prepare meals there, municipal permits and Anvisa licenses may be required. Check with service providers regarding this requirement.

The worker contributes with the value of the benefits granted, but this participation is limited to 20% of the costs. The contribution can be the same for all employees or the company can choose to charge different percentages, proportional to the salary range, as long as the global participation of workers in PAT costs does not exceed 20%.

Advantages for your company

Without the PAT, the company’s expenses with food for employees are subject to tax. Beneficiary companies, on the other hand, are exempt from labor, social security and tax charges on PAT expenses , which already reduces the employer’s expenses with their employees without reducing the benefits received by them.

In addition, it is possible to obtain an additional advantage: the employer who chooses taxation based on the real profit can reduce his expenses with PAT up to the limit of 4% of the Income Tax due. In case of an excess in the amount to be written off, the difference may be written off in the following two years.


Stay tuned! Due to the tax bureaucracy demanded by the Real Profit, many companies end up accommodating themselves to simpler ways of calculating the tax, such as the Presumed Profit or Simples Nacional. But it is important to be aware of the possibilities that Real Profit allows for Tax Planning, and even companies that choose Simples Nacional can make a comparison, annually, to make sure about the best tax regime to be adopted. Find out more here . 

The receipt of benefits as the feed is a motivating factor for employees of any company. It can be decisive for the productivity and quality of services, in addition to contributing to the attractiveness of the company with employees. This has the positive consequence of reducing delays, absences and employee turnover .

With PAT, the company reduces the cost of the food benefit , being able to offer it to workers even without having the physical space for a cafeteria and without the need to spend on setting up a kitchen. The Program facilitates the implementation and control of the benefit, according to the needs and preferences of the company.


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