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New support measures for employers

Emergency Ordinance no. 132/2020 ("EO 132/2020") on support measures for employers and employees in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for enhancing employment, was published in the Official Gazette of Romania no. 720 on 10 August 2020.

EO 132/2020 sets out measures for reducing working hours, settlement of the allowance to employers, as well as measures to significantly influence the labour market by settling part of the salary of new employees

Additionally, as a result of the need for physical distance between employees, measures were introduced for the development of teleworking.

1. Reducing working hours

In the case of a state of emergency, alert or siege, employers may reduce the working hours of their employees by up to 50% of the hours provided for in the individual employment agreement (“IEA”) after consultation with the union, employees' representatives or employees, and prior to communication of the reduction to the employees themselves.

Particulars are as follows:

(a) the conditions which need to be fulfilled by the employer in order to benefit from the reduction of working hours and the settlement of the allowance are:

  1. the measure must affect at least 10% of the employees; and
  2. the reduction in activity is justified by a decrease in turnover from the month prior to the application of the measure or by a reduction of at least 10% compared to the same month in the previous year.

(b) the reduction of working hours shall also apply to cases of shift work and unequal working programmes;

(c) the reduction of working hours is established on the decision of the employer for a period of at least 5 consecutive working days;

(d) the decision of the employer on the reduction of working hours, the associated work schedule and how to distribute it by days, together with the related salary rights, shall be communicated to the employee at least 5 days prior to the applicability of the measure and shall be registered in Revisal no later than the day prior to its effects;

(e) the employee shall receive an indemnity of 75% of the difference between their full salary and their reduced salary resulting from the decrease in their working hours, in addition to the due salary rights, calculated by reference to the actual time worked;

(f) the indemnity is borne by the employer and is settled from the unemployment insurance budget;

(g) during the applicability of the measure, it is forbidden to hire personnel to perform activities identical, or similar, to those provided by employees whose working hours have been reduced.  It is also forbidden to sub-contract out any activities carried out by employees whose working hours have been reduced;

(h) during the applicability of the measure, the employee will continue to benefit from all the other rights provided for in their individual employment agreement and the collective bargaining agreement, calculated by reference to the actual time worked;

(i) the employer, during the reduction of working hours, cannot initiate collective dismissals and the employees cannot carry out any overtime for the same employer; and

(j) in cases of the temporary reduction of the activity, professionals from the Civil Code (individuals who derive a benefit from an undertaking) and the persons who have concluded individual labour contracts (in Romanian conventie individuala de munca) will benefit, upon request, from a monthly allowance of 41.5% of the average gross salary provided for by law based on the social insurance budget for 2020 (ie. average gross salary of 5,429 lei and a maximum allowance of 2,253 lei).

The settlement procedure for the relevant amounts, as well as the duration of the measures, provided for by EO 312/2020 shall be established by Government decision.

2. Measures for day labourers

For day laborers, an amount representing 35% of the remuneration due for the working day is granted from the state budget for a period of 3 months, at the choice of the beneficiary of the work, and not later than 31 December 2020.

3. Settlement of part of salary

  • For a maximum period of 3 months, but not later than 31 December 2020, and at the choice of the employer, all employees with whom the employer concludes an IEA for a determined period of up to 3 months, will receive part of their salary from the unemployment budget.  The amount will represent 41.5% of their salary based on the days worked and working hours of 8 hours per day, but will not be more than 41.5% of the average gross salary (ie. 2,253 lei); and
  • the settlement of the indemnity shall be made within 10 days of the submission of the application by the employer.

4. Teleworking

  • To carry out teleworking, employers will be granted a one time financial support package for each employee of RON 2,500, in order to purchase the necessary technological goods and services required for teleworking.
  • The amount will be granted from the unemployment budget in the order that
    applications are received up to 31 December 2020, and within the limits of the funds available, through the National Employment Agency and  is  for employees who carried out
    teleworking for at least 15 working days during the state of emergency.
  • The method of granting the financial support and the categories of goods that can be purchased with it will be established by order of the Minister of Labour and Social Protection, and will be published in the Official Gazette of Romania within 10 days of the publication of EO 132/2020.

5. Cumulation

The measure set out in point 1 above is not cumulative for the same employee with the measure set out in  point 3 above, or with the active support measures granted according to Articles I and III of Government Emergency Ordinance 92/2020 for the establishment of active support measures for employees and employers in the context of the spread Covid-19, nor with the amendment of some normative acts or with the measures to stimulate employers financed from the unemployment insurance budget under Law no. 76/2002 and its subsequent amendments and supplements.

6. Sanctions

Any employer who allows one or more employees to work outside the reduced working programme will be sanctioned with a fine of RON 20,000 for each individual, up to a maximum amount of 200,000 lei.

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