The Law no. 40 of March 31st, 2011 for amending and supplementing of the Law no. 53/2003 of the Labour Code was published in the Official Gazette, Part I no. 225 of March 31st, 2011. The amendments will come into force from May 1 2011.

According to Law no. 40/2011, the individual labour contract on definite period of time cannot exceed 36 months, as opposed to 24 months as the current Labour Code provides. The individual labour contract on definite period can be extended, as provided in Article 81 after the expiration of the initial term, with the written approval of the parties, for the period of creating a project, program, or work. Three successive individual labour agreements on definite period can be concluded between the same parties. The individual labour agreements on definite period concluded within three months from the termination of an individual labour agreement on definite period are considered successive contracts and may not have a term longer than 12 months each.

The Labour Code stipulates that the legal duration is 40 working hours per week, and the maximum legal duration is of 48 working hours including overtime. However Romanian Labour Code provides for that there are number of exceptions, namely working time (including overtime) may be extended over 48 hours per week if the average number of working hours calculated for a period of 4 calendar months does not exceed 48 hours per week (previously the calculation period was 3 months). For certain activities or professions, reference periods of more than 4 months can be negotiated however this period cannot be more than 6 months.

The Labour Code also provides for the increase of the bonus for persons performing night work. The employees performing night work shall benefit of: one hour of reduced day shift if they work at least 3 hours of night shift or a bonus of 25% of the base salary if the working time represents at least 3 hours of night during normal working hours.

The normal working hours for night workers who perform their activity in special or extraordinary working conditions shall not exceed 8 hours during in any 24 hours period, unless the increase of this duration is provided in the applicable collective labour agreement, and only if such provision is not contrary to express provisions established in the collective labour agreement concluded at superior level.

According to the law, hiring of employees below the minimum gross salary level (set by the law) represents a crime and it is punishable by imprisonment from 6 months to 1 year or criminal fine. Also by law abovementioned penalties applies to not to allow labour inspectors accessing in any of the company's premises or to make available the documents required, in accordance to the law.

Regardless of their nationality, hiring of more than five persons without concluding an individual labour contract represents an offense and it is punishable by imprisonment from 1 to 2 years or criminal fine.

The court may order and apply one of the following complementary penalties: a) total or partial loss of the employer's right to receive benefits, aids or public subsidies, including EU funds, for a period up to five years; b) the prohibition of employer's right to participate in awarding a public procurement contract for a period of up to five years; c) full or partial recovery of benefits, aids or public subsidies, including EU funds, assigned to the employer for a period of up to 12 months before committing the crime; d) temporary or permanent closure of the secondary location(s) where the crime have been committed or temporary or permanent withdrawal of a license for conducting the professional activity in question, if this matter is justified by the seriousness of the violations.

Collective labour agreements will be maintained. Employees' representatives have among other major powers the right "to negotiate the collective labour agreement", according to the law.

In order to verify the employee's skills, a trial period of no more than 90 calendar days for executive positions and no more than 120 calendar days for management positions can be established (compared to a trial period of no more than 30 calendar days for executive positions and no more than 90 calendar days for management positions, as the current Labour Code stipulates). A trial period of no more than 30 calendar days applies to people with disabilities.

During the trial period or at its end, the individual labour agreement may be terminated only by written notice, without warning, at the initiative of any of the parties without being necessary its motivation. During the trial period the employee has all rights and all obligations provided under the labour laws, under the applicable collective labour agreement, under the internal rules, and individual labour agreement.

For graduates of higher education institutions, the first 6 months after the debut in profession is considered internship period. For certain professions internship is regulated by special laws. At the end of internship period, the employer is obliged to issue a certificate endorsed by the Territorial Labour Inspectorate. The method of performing the internship will be regulated by special law.

Delegation can be ordered for a period not exceeding 60 calendar days in 12 months and can be extended for successive periods of maximum 60 calendar days, only with the employee's approval. The employee's refusal to extend the delegation period can not constitute a reason for disciplinary sanction.

The company must hold manuals regarding the internal company rules. The internal rules shall include at least the following provisions:

a) rules on the protection, hygiene and safety at work inside the unit;
b) rules on the compliance of the non-discrimination principle and of removal of any form of dignity violation;
    c) the rights and obligations of the employer and employees;
    d) the procedure for solving the employees requests or complaints;
    e) concrete rules on labour discipline in the unit;
    f) disciplinary offenses and applicable penalties;
    g) rules regarding the disciplinary procedure;
    h) methods for applying other legal or contractual provisions;
    i) job evaluation criteria and procedures for employees.

The amendment of the Labour Code is part of a wider program of the Government for creating jobs. These measures will be accompanied by some economic measures, and other programs like the program for supporting young entrepreneurs.

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.