Updates to the Labour Code: new rules of the game

√     Content of individual employment agreements
√     New types of leaves: absences for family emergencies and carer’s leave
√     Additional dismissal prohibitions
√     “Flexible working time arrangements”

Law No. 283/2022 regarding the amendment of Law No. 53/2003 – the Labour Code and the amendment of Government Ordinance No. 57/2019 – the Administrative Code (the Law) was published on 19 October 2022 in the Official Gazette of Romania and abundantly amends the current legislation. The Law implements two (2) European Directives (i.e., Directive No. 2019/1152/UE and Directive No. 2019/1158/UE) that should have been transposed into national legislation until the 1st and respectively the 2nd of August 2022. This legal update presents briefly the most important changes of the Labour Code.

1.     The employment agreement and employment relations

Individual employment agreement template

  • Employers must update their individual employment agreement (IEA) template to provide for information regarding the payment method for the salary, overtime conditions and compensation, ways to organize shifts and information related to the place of work (i.e., whether the transportation costs between different places of work (if the case) are borne by the employer). IEAs must also include information in relation to the payment of a private medical subscription, the contribution to private or occupational pension funds or other in cash benefits offered to the employees (if the case).
  • Employees must be informed in relation to the applicable collective bargaining agreement, the procedure for the use of the electronic signature and the professional training offered by the employer, but there is no obligation to include specific clauses in the IEAs in relation to these aspects.

Job description

  • The possibility for micro companies not to provide the employees with a job description was removed.

Trial period

  • No trial period can be established if a new IEA is concluded within the following 12 months after termination of the previous IEA between the same parties, for the same attributions.
  • An employee that passed the trial period and has a seniority of at least six (6) months within the company can request its transfer to a vacancy that has more favourable working conditions. The employer must answer this request by sending the employee a justified response within 30 days.

Multiple employment relations

  • Employees can work for the same or various employers based on several IEAs provided the working schedules do not overlap.

2.     New leaves

  • The Law regulates a new type of paid leave – the carer’s leave. The leave is granted to the employees that need to offer support and care to a relative (i.e., parent, child, or spouse of the employee) or a person sharing the employee’s household, as a result of a serious medical condition[1]. If not established otherwise by law or collective negotiations, the duration of the carer’s leave is of five (5) business days/year.
  • In case of family emergencies caused by accident or sickness, the employees have the right to be absent from work for a period of maximum ten (10) business days/year. The employer and the employees will mutually agree on the manner in which the absence period will be recovered by the employee.
  • The breach by the employer of its obligation to grant the employees the parental leave or the carer’s leave is sanctioned with fines ranging between RON 4,000 (approximately EUR 800) and RON 8,000 (approximately EUR 1,600).
  • The rights of the employees acquired before the carer’s leave, permitted absences, child caring leave, leave for caring for a sick child, paternal leave, professional training leave and accommodation leave are maintained during such leaves.

3.     Dismissals

  • Employees cannot be dismissed for the exercise of their rights.
  • Dismissals cannot take place during the parental leave, as well as during the newly regulated carer’s leave and permitted absences.
  • A specific justification for the dismissal decision must be offered by the employers if requested by the employees who believe they have been dismissed for reasons related to their information rights or rights related to notice period, professional training, parental leave, carer’s leave and permitted absences.

4.     Flexible working time arrangements

  • The Law defines the “flexible working time arrangements” as the possibility of the employees to adjust their working schedule by using remote working, flexible work arrangements, individualised working schedules and reduced working time arrangements.
  • Employers must answer within five (5) days from the employee’s request to establish an individualised working schedule.

5.     Other relevant amendments

  • The internal regulation must include rules regarding the notice period and the general training policy of the employer, if such a policy exits. The possibility of making the internal regulation available in electronic form was also specifically regulated.
  • A fine ranging between RON 4,000 (approximately EUR 800) and RON 8,000 (approximately EUR 1,600) was established for the breach of the non-discrimination provisions and the breach of the prohibition to dismiss employees for discriminatory reasons or for the exercise of their rights provided by the law (a similar sanction existed in the previous version of the Labour Code going up to RON 20,000 (approximately EUR 4,000)).
  • New information obligations and rules related to the organization of the working schedules are established for employment relationships not based on employment agreements (i.e., day workers, interns, public officers, priests etc.).

While the intention to establish a more protective regime for the employees is transparent and some of the amendments brought by the Law are more than welcome, there are still various miscorrelations between the Law and the current legislation, unnecessary repetitions, unusual flow of the articles and implicit repealing of certain legal provisions that will most probably trigger uneven approaches of the employers and a certain degree of ambiguity for the employees.

[1] The serious medical conditions that entitle the employees to request the carer’s leave will be established though a joint order of the Ministry of Health and the Labour Ministry.

 

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