Employment Flash No. 7/2020 – Latest news on the state of alert and the measures established
The Government Emergency Ordinance no. 70/14.05.2020 regarding some measures applicable starting 15 May 2020, in the context of the epidemiologic situation determined by the spreading of SARS-COV-2 virus was published within the Official Gazette no. 394, dated 14 May 2020.
This normative act establishes a series of measures in various domains, applicable during the state of alert instated as of 15 May 2020. The main provisions rom a labour law perspective are as follows:
- The effects of the provisions on technical unemployment support (as adopted and amended during the recently-expired state of emergency) continue to apply during the state of alert, namely until 31 May 2020, with the possibility of prolongation for certain domains where restrictions on activity will be maintained.
- As a rule, for the persons who, at the establishment of the current state of alert, are on child raising leave/ accommodation leave for adoption and receive the corresponding allowances, the rights they benefit from are prolonged until 31 May, 2020.
- The validity of collective labour agreements and collective bargaining agreements is maintained for a period of 90 days after the ending of the previous state of emergency.
- The possibility to benefit from paid days off granted to one of the parents for the supervision of their children during schools lockdown is established until the end of the current school year 2019-2020. These provisions are not appreciable to the employees from a series of domains, such as national defense system, prison system, public sanitary units and others, who are granted a salary increase instead, under certain conditions.
- Employers having more than 50 employees are obliged to implement individualized working schedules, without the consent of the employees, so that employees are separated by an interval of 1 hour at the start and end of the working schedule, over a span of 3 hours. Such flexible work schedule and the manner of daily allocation will be established by addendum to the individual employment agreement.
The Decision of the National Committee for Emergency Situations (CNSU) no. 24/14.05.2020 regarding the approval of the establishment, at national level, of the state of emergency and of the measures of infection prevention and control, in the context of the epidemic situation caused by the SARS-CoV virus was published within the Official Gazette no. 295, dated 15 May, 2020.
The main measures of impact from an employment perspective, applicable during the state of alert established, are the following:
- The employers have the obligation to organize activities so that work is performed from the domicile of the employees. If the activity performed does not allow for working from home, the employers have the obligation to take the following measures:
a) ensure the epidemiological triage consisting in the control of the temperature of the personnel and visitors it’s the control-access points within buildings;
b) the mandatory hands disinfection before entering the work spaces;
c) comply with specific rules regarding performance of activity in open space/joint offices (that will be published);
d) for entities with more than 50 employees, implementation work schedule deferral, so that the activity starts and ends at intervals of minimum 1 hour, over a span of at least 3 hours, by groups of minimum 20% of the employees;
- Economic operators who perform commercial activities/activities with the public, involving the access of persons inside buildings have to take special measures regarding activity organization, in order to avoid crowding, observe social distancing and avoid access of people showing signs of illness.
- Employers may further establish the measures of preventive isolation at the workplace or in specially designed areas (where persons from the exterior do not have access), for the employees who occupy essential positions for the operation of production, transport and distribution of electrical energy and natural gases, maintenance of equipment and specific installations and other such activities.
The Law no. 55/15.05.2020 regarding some measures for preventing and combating the COVID-19 pandemic effects was published within the Official Gazette no. 396, dated 15 May, 2020.
The law sets forth the framework for a state of alert, together with a set of rules and measures to be temporarily/gradually applied during this period and will enter into force on 18 May, 2020.
The main points of interest are the following
- This law sets out that, by means of joint ministerial order of the Minister of Health and the Minister of Internal Affairs, certain measures may be established:
a) the obligation to wear protection masks in enclosed public spaces, commercial spaces, public means of transport and at the workplace;
b) the economic operators’ obligation to ensure, at the headquarters entrance, the mandatory epidemiological triage and compulsory disinfection of hands, both for their employees and for other persons/visitors. (for the employees, the epidemiological triage consists in measuring the temperature by a contactless thermometer, and for other persons/visitors, such triage is performed by measuring the temperature.).
- During the state of alert, the employer may implement, with the employee’s consent, the organization of activity as teleworking or work from home, as well as the amendment of the work place or of the corresponding attributions.
- The validity of collective employment agreements and collective bargaining agreements that expire during the state of alert shall be prolonged during this period and 90 days thereafter. Regarding such collective agreements, the parties have the obligation to initiate collective negotiations within 45 days after the end of the state of alert, complying with the applicable provisions in this field.
- Employers with more than 50 employees may establish individualized working schedules without the consent of the employees, so that employees are separated by an interval of 1 hour at the start and end of the working schedule, over a span of 3 hours.
- During the state of alert, the Government may establish special measures of support for employers, as well as measures of protection for the employers and their families.
- The legal provisions adopted during the state of emergency, regarding the state support granted for technical unemployment situations continue to apply for domains where restrictions are maintained, until the ending of such restrictions, but no later than 31 December, 2020.
- During the state of alert, the provisions of the law on granting days off for parents during school lockdown are applicable until the classes of the current school year are finalized.
- During the state of alert, it is prohibited to declare, start or carry out collective labour conflicts in a series of units (e.g. the units of the national energetic system; the operative units from the nuclear sector; units with mandatory continuous activity; sanitary or social assistance units; telecommunications; those that ensure sanitation of cities etc.).
- Non-compliance with the measures provided may lead to disciplinary, civil, administrative or criminal sanctions. For example, non-compliance with the measures regarding the temporary suspension of certain activities triggers administrative fines ranging from RON 2.000 to RON 10.000 (approx. EUR 410 to 2,070).
Note: The Government Emergency Ordinance and the CNSU Decision entered into force on the day when they were published within the Official Gazette, while the Law enters into force in 3 days from the moment of publishing within the Official Gazette.
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