Employment Flash No. 1/2021 – News on certain types of state support
04.01.2020 – The Government Emergency Ordinance no. 220/30.12.2020 on 2020 on the application of social protection measures after January 1, 2021 in the context of the spread of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, as well as for the amendment of some normative acts was published within the Official Gazette no. 1326 dated December 31, 2020.
First of all, this GEO provides a particular type of state support – received monthly, for a period of 12 months, for each employee from categories below and amounting 50% of the employee’s salary, but not more than RON 2,500 – for employers who, between January 1 and September 1, 2021, employ, for an indefinite period and on a full-time basis persons from the following categories:
a) persons over 50 years old, whose employment relationships were terminated for reasons not attributable to their person, during the state of emergency or alert;
b) persons aged between 16 and 29, registered as unemployed in specific local records;
c) Romanian citizens, included in the same age categories as above, whose employment with foreign employers from foreign states’ territories was terminated in 2020, for reasons not imputable to them, by dismissal;
In addition, the GEO at had provides a series of limitations and conditions to be met in order to access this type of state support, out of which we mention:
a) the obligation on the employers concerned to maintain employment for a period of at least 12 months after the end of the 12-month period during which the support is granted;
b) in case of breach of the obligation to maintain employment for the period specified above, the obligation of employers to reimburse the amounts received to employment agencies, plus the reference interest of the National Bank of Romania applicable on the date of termination of individual employment agreements in specific cases provided by the Labour Code – art. 55 b), art. 56 in. (1) d) and e) and art. 65;
c) the granting of this state support proportionally to the actual time worked by the employee;
d) the interdiction to access to such support, applicable to employers that are public institutions and authorities, as well as to those who are in bankruptcy, dissolution, liquidation or whose activities have been suspended or restricted at the time of the application for such amounts for other reasons than those caused by the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
Then, the GEO at hand provides a series of prolongations regarding the measures comprised within GEO no. 132/2020, as follows:
a) granting the state support for persons who provide occasional unqualified activity (daily workers) for a period of 3 months, as chosen by the beneficiary of the works, but no later than 30 June 2021;
b) granting state support for employees employed on a determined period of up to 3 months (seasonal workers), at the choice of the employer, but not more than for a period of 3 months, until 30 June 2021.
Other measures provided by the GEO at hand include the application, until 30 June 2021, of the legal framework on paid days off granted to parents to supervise their children, in case of limitation/suspension of educational activities requiring physical presence, as a result of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The Law no. 298/24.12.2020 on amendment of Law no. 53/2003 – the Labour Code was published within the Official Gazette no. 1293 dated December 24, 2020.
This law establishes a particular case of individual employment agreement suspension, at employer’s initiative, respectively during the temporary suspension and/or reduction of activity, following the state of siege or state of emergency, decreed according to the Romanian Constitution.
It is provided that employees affected by reduction or interruption of activity in the context of the decreed state of siege or emergency, having the individual employment agreement suspended, benefit from an allowance paid from the unemployment insurance budget, in the amount of 75% of the base salary corresponding to the position held, but not more than 75% of the average gross salary in force, for the entire duration of the state of siege or state of emergency, as the case may be.
In addition, the law at hand also provides a series of conditions and particularities regarding this general framework for technical unemployment, the main being:
a) the possibility of the employer to supplement the above-mentioned allowance, with amounts representing the difference of up to at least 75% of the base salary corresponding to the position held, if the employer’s budget for the payment of personnel costs allows for this;
b) in case of the gross sums provided above, the obligation of the employer to retain and pay the corresponding taxes and contributions;
c) the prohibition to benefit from the support mentioned above, in case the employee has concluded more individual employment agreements, out of which at least one full-time agreement is active during the state of siege or the state of emergency;
d) if the employee has several individual employment contracts and all of them are suspended as a result of the state of siege or emergency, he/she shall benefit from the allowance corresponding to the individual employment contract with the most advantageous salary rights.
e) the prohibition, for employers, make redundant the persons whose individual employment contracts have been suspended according to art. 52 para. (1), letters c) and f) of the Labour Code, for a period at least equal to the period of suspension for which they have benefited, for such employees, from the allowances specified above – under the sanction of returning the amounts received as allowance;
f) the possibility for employers to gradually take other measures to reduce or suspend work, as appropriate, under certain conditions (e.g. if the employer suspends the individual employment agreement, replacing, in whole or in part, the measure to reduce the weekly work schedule from 5 to 4 days according to the Labor Code, the payment of the allowance mentioned above is granted only from the date of suspension pursuant to art. 52 para. (1) lit. c) or f) of the Labour Code).
g) certain provisions on how to access the allowance for technical unemployment, as well as the necessary documents, such as:
(i) a request signed and dated by the legal representative of the employer, accompanied by an affidavit and the list of persons to benefit from this allowance, assumed by the employer’s legal representative – in accordance with the model approved by ministerial order;
(ii) the submission of the necessary documents in the current month for the payment of the previous month’s allowance, by e-mail, to the territorial employment agencies;
(iii) payment of unemployment benefits from the unemployment insurance budget within 15 days from the submission of the documents;
(iv) making the payment of the allowance towards the employee in maximum 3 working days from the moment when the employer receives these sums;
Note: The Ministerial Order containing the model documents will be published within the Official Gazette in 15 days from the publication date of the law at hand.
The Romanian version of this newsletter is available here.