New amendments in Romania to the Government Emergency Ordinance No. 132/2020 regulating support measures for employees and employers due to Covid-19 ("GEO no. 132/2020") will enter into force on 8 April 2021.
Legislative changes brought by the new amendments include the following:
In the event of a temporary decrease of activity caused by a state of emergency/alert/siege, employers can reduce the working time of the employees by up to 80% of the daily / weekly / monthly duration provided in the individual employment agreement.
The current version of GEO no. 132/2020 provides a maximum reduction of up to 50% of the working time.
Where there are trade unions / employees' representatives in place, the measure to reduce working time must be taken with the approval of the trade union / employees' representatives.
The current version of GEO no. 132/2020 provides the obligation to inform and consult the trade union / employees' representatives / employees.
The reference period for establishing the minimum period of Kurzarbeit (of five business days) is 30 calendar days.
An exception to the rule that the decision of an employer to reduce the working time, the working schedule and its distribution by days, as well as corresponding rights, is to be communicated to the employee at least five days prior to implementing such measure, has been introduced.
The decision of the employer must be communicated to the employee at least 24 hours before the actual implementation of the measure:
- in the event of a change in the working schedule due to an increase in the activity of the employer requiring additional staff;
- in the event of a replacement of an employee who is unable to work according to his/her work schedule.
With regard to the allowance corresponding to the reduction of working time, affected employees will benefit from an allowance of 75% of their monthly gross base salary corresponding to the hours reduced.
The current version of GEO no. 132/2020 provides an allowance of 75% of the difference between:
- the gross base salary provided under the individual employment agreement,
- the gross base salary corresponding to the hours actually worked as a result of the reduction of the working time.
An exception to the rule has been introduced prohibiting an employer (i) to hire staff for the performance of the same or similar activities as those performed by employees who have had their working time reduced, as well as (ii) to subcontract activities performed by employees who have had their working time reduced.
Hiring of new staff is allowed for the replacement of an employee whose working time has been reduced if the termination of his/her individual employment agreement occurs by effect of law, by dismissal for reasons related to the employee, or by resignation.
Companies incorporated within the period 1 January – 15 March 2020 with at least one employee now have the possibility to reduce the working schedule as per GEO no. 132/2020.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.