What is the new PAT – and what is already in effect

Find out what has changed in the program through which companies offer food and meal vouchers to employees and what could remain for 2024

At the end of 2021, the federal government announced changes to modernize PAT (Worker's Food Program), a public policy that was created in 1976 for companies to offer adequate food to workers in exchange for tax incentives.

As a result, new rules were determined for offering food voucher and meal voucher benefits that are distributed by companies to their employees. 

Among them are portability and interoperability in payment methods, which allow workers to choose the flag of their voucher and have more options of establishments available.

“PAT was created to benefit workers, and the new regulation gives them the power to decide which service best meets their needs, which card is accepted in restaurants and supermarkets close to their home, their work” , says Luiz Guilherme Paiva, head of public policies at iFood. 

What does the new PAT law say?

This new PAT regulation was defined in 2022 through Law No. 14,442 and has four main points:

End of rebate

The rebate was a discount given by food and meal voucher operators when negotiating contracts with companies that offer this PAT benefit. 

To compensate, the operators passed on the cost of this discount in the fees charged to establishments to accept payment with meal and food vouchers.

“The changes in the new PAT reduce fees for restaurants and increase the purchasing power of workers”, adds Luiz Guilherme.

Open arrangement

Encouraging open arrangements, which increases the acceptance network for food and meal vouchers. In the open arrangement, a payment method (such as a branded card) can be used in more commercial establishments that sell food and meals.

In the closed arrangement, payment methods can only be used on the network accredited by the card issuer. 


With it, workers will be able to choose the operator of food and meal vouchers (as is already the case with banks and cell phone operators) and migrate to the companies that best serve them.


It allows open and closed payment method arrangements to use the same network to accept payment. 

With this, the same machine can accept vouchers from different operators — and workers access a larger network of establishments.

Which points of the new PAT are in force?

The end of the rebate is already in effect; portability and interoperability, not yet. 

The regulation of portability and interoperability — that is, the more detailed definition of operational rules to put them into practice — should be done by May 2023. 

However, the federal government issued a provisional measure in May (MP nº 1173/2023) that seeks to extend the deadline for this regulation until May 2024.

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