Employment Flash No. 3/2020 – News on the new measures and amendments of some legal provisions, adopted in the context of the current crisis generated by COVID-19

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The Government Emergency Ordinance no. 30/18.03.2020 on the amendment and completion of a series of normative acts and establishing some measures in the field of social protection in the context of the current epidemic situation determined by the spreading of the coronavirus was published within the Official Gazette no. 231 dated March 21, 2020.

In addition, the Government Decision no. 217/18.03.2020 on the application o of the provisions of Law 19/2020 on granting some days off to parents to supervise their children in case of temporary closing of educational establishments has been published within the Official Gazette no. 230 dated March 21st , 2020.

I. The amendments and aspects regarding the application of Law no. 19/2020

The Emergency Ordinance no. 30/2020 provides the following main aspects:

  • The category of persons to whom the provisions of this law apply, comprised within the word “parents” is expressly defined, including a list of these persons, such as: the biological parent, the person who adopts a child, the person who has(receives) a child in placement or in guardianship etc.
  • Furthermore, the amendments to the law at hand imply a list of situations in which case the provisions regarding such days off are not applicable, namely when one of the parents is in one/more of the following situations:

a. is on child raising leave or childcare leave for the sick child, according to the provisions of GEO no. 111/2010 regarding the leave and allowance for child raise or is in the situation provided by art. 11 (2) of GEO no. 111/2010;;

b. is the personal assistant of one of the dependent children;

c. in case the other parent does not obtain an income from wages and assimilated to wages, income from independent activities, income from intellectual property rights, income from agricultural activities, forestry and fish farming, subject to income tax;

d. is on annual leave/unpaid leave.

  • As a further amendment, it is expressly specified that the provisions of the present law do not apply to persons whose labour relations (or the labour relations of the spouse) are suspended due to the temporary interruption of the employer’s activity (technical unemployment).
  • As a further aspect, it is expressly specified that the employers grant the paid days off to the employees under the conditions of Law no. 19/2020 only after having exhausted all the other options for organizing the activity provided by the legislation in force (e.g.  implementing an individualized/flexible work program).
  • At the same time, it is provided that the employers may only request the settlement form the state budget of the net value of this allowance, as it has been actually received by the parent.

The main aspects provided within the Government Decision no. 217/2020 are the following:

  • In order to access the benefits provided within Law no. 19/2020, the employee shall submit to the employer a request, as well as:

a. a personal declaration (affidavit) of the other parent, (according to the official template), from which it results that the other parent has not requested such benefit from his/her employer and is not on annual leave/unpaid leave;

b. the copy/copies of the birth certificate/certificates of the child/children.

  • As regards the procedure for obtaining the settling from the state of the sums granted as allowance under Law no. 19/2020, the employer shall submit a request to the Agency for Workforce Occupation from the area where the employer organizes its activity, as well as the following documents:

a. a list of the employees who benefited from days off, as well as the allowance granted during this period;

b. copies of the payment records from which results the granting of the allowance;

c. a personal declaration (affidavit) of the legal representative of the employer certifying that the persons mentioned within the list comply with the conditions prescribed by the Law no. 19/2020;

d. the proof of payment of the contributions and taxes corresponding to the month when the allowance was granted.

  • The employer’s request shall comply with other additional conditions regarding form and content, which are detailed within the Decision, all the documents (the request and the others) being submitted to the Agency for Workforce Occupation at county level within a maximum of 30 days from the date when the payment of contributions and taxes corresponding to the allowance was operated. According to this legislative act, the settlement of the sums will be operated within 60 calendar days from the moment when the documents are registered.

II. The granting of state support for the employees who enter technical unemployment during the state of emergency

  • The Emergency Ordinance no. 30/2020 provides that, during the state of emergency instated following the President’s Decree no. 195/2020, in care of employers that suspend the individual employment agreements for technical unemployment (as a consequence of the temporarily interruption or reduction of their activity as a consequence of economic, technical or structural reasons or any other similar reasons), the allowances that the employees in this situation benefit from, according to the law (which are established at 75% of the base salary corresponding to the position held) are borne from the unemployment insurance state budget, but no more that 75% of the average gross salary (which is now of RON 5.429, resulting in a maximum of RON 4.071,75 borne by the state).
  • More exactly, there are two categories of employers that benefit from these provisions, under different circumstances and subject to different conditions:
    • The first category is represented by the employers who totally or partially interrupt their activity based on the decisions issued by the competent authorities, during the state of emergency and are in possession of the Certificate for emergency situations issued by the Ministry of Economy, Energy and the Business Environment. Within this category are the employers with activity is directly affected by the measures imposed by the authorities.
    • The second category of employers is represented by those who reduce their activity following the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic and do not have the financial capacity necessary to pay all their employees. For this category, the state support in value of 75% of the base salary corresponding to the position held (but no more than 75% of the average gross salary – see above) may be accessed only as regards a maximum of 75% of the employees of the company, who have active individual employment agreements at the moment when the GEOenters into force.
  • The procedure to be followed in order to access this state support for the second category of employers is based on a personal declaration (affidavit) from which it results that the company registered a reduction of revenue (of the previous month) by a minimum of 25% in comparison with the average revenue from the period of January, 2020 to February, 2020, as well as that the company does not have the necessary financial capacity to perform the salary payments to all its employees.
  • In addition, in order to benefit from the state support for technical unemployment, the employers submit other additional specific documents, which are presented within the GEO. The payment of the sums representing the state support for the cases described above is operated based on the documents submitted by the employers in the current month for the payment of the sums corresponding to allowances granted during the previous month. In the same manner, it is established that the settlement of these sums is operated within a maximum of 30 days from the moment of the submission of the necessary documents, from the unemployment insurance state budget.

III. Amendments of the Emergency Ordinance no. 158/2005 on leaves and allowances of social health insurances

  • The new GEO establishes that the insured persons are entitled to medical leave for quarantine and the corresponding allowance without having to fulfill the condition regarding the minimum insurance period (precisely, without the obligation to have contributed to the system for a minimum of 6 months during the latest 12 months).
  • At the same time, it is established that, as regards the medical certificates granted during the state of emergency that comprise the 91st day of medical leave or exceed 183 days, these are issued and settled without the official notice of the expert social insurance medic (which would have been mandatory in this situation).

Note:  The present Emergency Ordinance and Government Decision entered into force on the date of publication within the Official Gazette.

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