July 2021 – A new obligation is established for employers via the template employment agreement.
Order no. 585/20211 introduces two changes to the template employment agreement:
- the template employment agreement is now aligned to Government Emergency Ordinance no. 37/2021; thus, the template now expressly provides that job descriptions are not mandatory for companies with less than nine employees (a brief description of the activity is sufficient);
- the template employment agreement also introduces a new obligation for employers to inform their employees of the obligation to join a privately managed pension fund, with reference to the provisions of Art. 30 of Law no 411/2004 on privately managed pension funds.
However, the obligation of employers provided under letter (b) above is not reiterated by Romanian Labour Code.
The obligation to join a privately managed pension fund is regulated for individuals up to 35 years of age who are insured and contribute to the public pension system. For individuals between the age of 35 and 45 who are already insured and contribute to the public pension system, the law provides the option (not the obligation) of joining such a fund2.
Do these legislative updates trigger the conclusion of an addendum to the employment agreement?
Various representatives of labour authorities have informally confirmed that an addendum to employment agreements will be necessary. Basically, the conclusion of such an addendum would be the mechanism via which the employer fulfils its information obligation.
As an alternative solution (particularly in the case of an increased number of employees), the employer may also fulfil this information obligation by supplementing its internal regulation with such obligation.
Do these legislative updates generate other obligations for employers in addition to the information obligation?
One question facing employers is whether, in addition to the obligation to conclude addenda to employment agreements/internal regulations, it is necessary to carry out any additional formalities, e.g., to provide employees with a list of privately managed pension funds or to implement further internal rules on this topic, etc.
At present, it appears that an addendum to the individual employment agreement/internal regulation is sufficient.
However, as the purpose of these legislative amendments is to raise awareness among employees of the possibility to choose a privately managed pension fund and not to be randomly assigned one by the system, the employer could provide additional support to employees when choosing their privately managed pension fund.
It remains to be seen how the interpretation of these legislative updates will evolve.
Updates on digitalisation
Law no. 208/20213 sets out several amendments to further simplify the procedure of using electronic signatures in employment documentation, e.g.:
- parties can now use an advanced or qualified electronic signature at the conclusion, amendment, suspension or termination of the employment agreement4;
- the employer can use its electronic signature, advanced electronic signature, or qualified electronic signature or its electronic seal to draft all employment documentation;
- the possibility to carry out online training according to health and safety legislation, with the obligation to use a simple/qualified/advanced electronic signature to validate that the training is provided;
- expenses incurred by the employer in connection with the implementation of electronic signatures are deemed as deductible expenses.
Paid day off for Covid-19 vaccination
Romanian Law no. 221/2021, which entered into force on 29 July 2021, provides one paid day off for employees for each Covid-19 vaccination. This benefit is granted based on the vaccination certificate.
The benefit is not applicable to employees vaccinated before the entry into force of Law no. 221/2021. Also, such is not applicable if the employee is vaccinated at the workplace through the care of the employer.
One parent of a child under 18 (or under 26 in case of children with disabilities) who is vaccinated is also eligible for a paid day off from work. This benefit is granted based on the vaccination certificate and also based on a statement of the other parent stating that he/she did not benefit from a paid day off for the same reason.
1. Order of the Minister of Labour and Social Protection no. 585/2021 for amending and supplementing the template individual employment agreement set out in the Annex to the Order of the Minister of Labour and Social Solidarity no. 64/2003 (the "Order no. 585/2021").
2. The obligation does not apply to employees in the construction sector from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2028.
3. Law no. 208/2021 approving the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 36/2021 ("Law no. 208/2021")
4. The requirement that electronic signatures be accompanied by an electronic time stamp or a qualified electronic time stamp and the employer's qualified electronic seal is eliminated.
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.