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Important labour law amendments

The evolution of technology has started to have an impact on improving the fast pace of labour relations and in simplifying all the documents that must be executed in the field of labour law.

As a result of this evolution, a digitalisation in labour relations is necessary, especially in the context of the current ongoing pandemic when most activities are taking place remotely.

In response to the above, on Wednesday 28 April 2021, the Romania Government approved a Government Emergency Ordinance no. 36/2021 ("GEO 36/2021") on the use of advanced electronic signatures or qualified electronic signatures accompanied by an electronic time stamp and the use of a qualified electronic seal of the employer and also to amend and supplement certain normative documents.

Under the new GEO 36/2021, the parties to an individual employment agreement (or any addendum to the same) may choose to use a qualified or advanced electronic signature accompanied by a time stamp when signing the documents, provided that both the parties use the same type of signature ie. handwritten signature or qualified/advanced electronic signature.

The GEO 36/2021 also includes provisions that increase employee protections by prohibiting the employer from requiring the employee to use an electronic signature and, in addition, the costs of purchasing the advanced or qualified electronic signature may be borne by the employer.

Additionally, the employer can use an advanced or qualified electronic signature accompanied by electronic time stamp to sign all the required documents in the labour relations field if they so wish.  

Such documents may be electronically archived by the employer and shall be made available to the competent control bodies, at their request.

In the field of teleworking, the GEO 36/2021 amends Law no. 81/2018 on the regulation of teleworking by eliminating the phrase "at least one day a month". As a result, this amendment has resolved the controversies in the doctrine and practice regarding the temporary or permanent nature of teleworking, which can now take place on a permanent basis.

Furthermore, an employee carrying out telework has an obligation to respect and ensure the confidentiality of the information used during the activity. The activity can be verified by the employer using information and communication technology, under the conditions established by the individual employment agreement, the employee handbook and/or the collective bargaining agreement.

GEO 36/2021 was published in the Official Gazette no. 474, part I of May 6, 2021.

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