Newsletter no. 3/2020

I. Parents are given free working days to care for children under 12 years
of age when schools are closed in extreme situations (Law 19/2020)

A law has been adopted under which one of the parents is entitled to free working days for
childcare if their educational institutions are temporarily closed due to adverse weather
conditions or other situations deemed extreme by the competent authorities. Currently, the
educational institutions have been closed until 22 March due to the crisis caused by the
coronavirus.

The provisions apply to parents whose children are under 12 years of age and whose
workplace does not allow them to work from home or telework. The days off are granted for
the entire period for which the authorities decide to close the schools.

The remuneration for each day off is 75% of the salary corresponding to one working day, but
not more than the daily portion of 75% of the average Romanian gross salary. The employer
can request the amounts paid to be reimbursed by the guarantee fund. The exact procedure
for requesting the refund is determined by a government decision until the end of the tax year.

Paid days off are granted at the request of a parent or guardian in the case of single parents.
The regulations apply on the basis of an affidavit signed by both parents, with the exception
of single parents, which must be submitted to the employer by the parent supervising the child
during this period.

 

II. Preventive recommendations of the Ministry of Labour and Social
Protection for employers and employees against COVID-19 infection

In connection with the emergence of the risk of infection with COVID-19, the Ministry of Labour
and Social Protection (MMPS) makes a number of recommendations to ensure the safety and
health of workers, but also to support employers in the performance of their current activities.
MLSP recommends three measures to make working relationships more flexible when
schooling in educational institutions is discontinued and therefore one of the parents has to
stay at home to care for the minor child, but also in cases where the presence of workers at
the workplace could pose a risk:

1. drawing up individual work programs with the consent or at the request of the
employee concerned, in accordance with Article 118 of Act No 53/2003 Labour Code, in
compliance with the statutory maximum duration of working time

2. temporary change of the place of work at the employee’s place of residence, in
accordance with the provisions of Articles 108-110 of the Labour Code, unilaterally, in
accordance with the provisions of Article 48 of the Labour Code, or by agreement of the
parties, with the special note in the resolution or, if applicable, in the annex to the
employment contract relating to the change of the place of work, of the following elements:

– the fact that the employee works from home
– the period for which this measure applies
– the program within which the employer is entitled to inspect the activity of his employee
and the specific way in which the inspection is carried out
– the employer’s obligation to ensure the transport to and from the worker’s place of
residence of the raw materials and materials used in the activity, as well as the finished
products.

3. the performance of the activity through telework, after the conclusion of an annex to
the individual employment contract, in accordance with the provisions of Law No. 81/ 2018
regarding the regulation of telework, if the performance of the tasks specific to the
employee’s function, employment or profession involves the use of information and
communication technology

In the case of workers who cannot work from home, such as those working in production,
distribution, transport, sales, etc., employers may consider introducing some appropriate
protective measures, such as reducing working hours or requiring workers to wear protective
equipment provided by the employer.

The labour authority also points out that employers are obliged to inform
employees/workers about the most important measures to be taken:
– wash hands with water and soap or alcohol-based hand disinfectant as often as
possible
– use of protective masks by sick persons
– avoid contact with persons suspected of suffering from acute respiratory infections
– avoid touching the nose, eyes and hands with uninfected hands
– covering the mouth, nose when coughing or sneezing
– regular disinfection of contact surfaces with chlorine or alcohol solutions

III. Possibilities for employers to suspend employment contracts of
employees in crisis situations

Technical unemployment represents the interruption or temporary reduction of activity,
without the cessation of employment, for economic, technological, structural or similar
reasons. These reasons may lead to the suspension of individual employment contracts at the
employer’s initiative, without the consent of the employees without termination of employment,
pursuant to Art. 52, para (1), letter c) of the Labour Code. Employees shall be at the employer’s
disposal to resume work as soon as possible after the reasons for such action have ceased
to exist. Technical unemployment must be recorded in the General Register of Employees
(REVISAL) in accordance with Decision No. 905/2017 before the suspension takes effect.
In case of technical unemployment, the employer has two options:

  • For periods of more than 30 working days, the employer has the possibility of reducing
    working time from 5 to 4 days per week, with a corresponding reduction in wages and
    salaries, until the situation which caused the reduction is rectified, after prior consultation
    with the representative trade union at company level or the employees’ representatives,
    as appropriate;
  • granting days off, paid in accordance with Art. 122, para. (3) of the Labour Code, which
    may be offset against overtime worked in the following 12 months.

In the event of quarantine (Article 50(1)(c) of the Labour Code) or major force (Article
50(1)(f) of the Labour Code), the individual employment contract is suspended by law.

Suspension of the individual employment contract during quarantine

Emergency Ordinance No. 158/2005 on sick leave and sick pay, provides that sick leave and
sick pay for quarantine is granted to employees who are prohibited from continuing their work
due to a contagious disease for the duration of the period recorded on the sickness certificate
issued by the Public Health Directorate.
The pro rata gross monthly remuneration for quarantine is set at 75% of the assessment base,
which is also used to calculate the contributions for holiday and remuneration.
The period of leave for quarantine does not reduce the entitlement to sick leave days for other
illnesses of an employee. The minimum duration of quarantine leave is determined by a
certificate issued by the Directorate of Public Health.

Suspension of the individual employment contract due to major force

If the situation on site deteriorates and a case of major force is officially declared, this will
lead to the temporary suspension of the employer’s activities and, as a consequence, of the
employment contracts. During the period of suspension due to major force, employees are
not entitled to payment of wages or other remuneration.
The suspension may affect all individual contracts of employment or a part thereof, depending
on the employer’s decision based on the actual effects affecting some or all jobs.