Employment Flash No. 9/2022 – Latest news in the labor law field

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05.09.2022 – Latest news in the labor law field regarding legal provisions concerning paternal leave

The Government Emergency Ordinance (GEO) no. 117/26.08.2022 for the for amending and supplementing the Law no. 210/1999 on the paternal leave was published in the Official Gazette no. 845 dated August 29, 2022.

This GEO partially transposes the Directive (EU) 2019/1.158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on the work-life balance of parents and carers (the “Work-Life Balance Directive”).

The changes introduced by the new GEO focus on the purpose of paternal leave, redefined to also include facilitating the reconciliation of professional and family life for workers who are parents. We therefore present below the main changes and additions brought by the new legal instrument:

  • The sphere of application of the Law regarding paternal leave is configured to target workersdefined as the persons providing an activity based on an employment or service relationship concluded in accordance with the law, that are also understood to assimilate categories such as:
    • persons providing activity based on management contracts, as per the specific law in this field;
    • directors providing activity based on mandate contracts, as per the companies law;
    • persons providing activity on the basis of individual employment arrangements concluded in accordance with the law regarding the organization and functioning of cooperatives;
  • The paternal leave shall be granted as follows:
    • the father of a newborn child who is a worker is entitled to 10 working days paid paternal leave (this basic entitlement was previously of 5 working days);
    • if the father of the newborn child has obtained a certificate of completion of the childcare course, the duration of paternal leave granted as per the above shall be increased by 5 working daysthis prolongation may now be accessed for each newborn child, regardless of the moment when the required certificate was obtained (previously, the possible prolongation was of 10 working days, but was only available once).
  • Further, the new provisions outline that employers are obliged to grant this leave to fathers and prohibited to dismiss employees who are on paternal leave (this prohibition does not apply in case of dismissal resulting from judiciary reorganization or bankruptcy of the employer);
  • As regards the rights of the paternal leave beneficiary, the new legal provisions also introduce, among others, the following aspects:
    • The rights acquired prior to the granting of paternal leave / that are in the process of being acquired by the worker on the date on which paternal leave begins shall be maintained for the duration of the paternal leave and shall apply also after return from such leave.
    • Upon returning from paternal leave, the worker shall benefit from working conditions that are not less favorable, as well as from any improvement in working conditions to which he would have been entitled if he/she had not taken the leave.
    • Applying a less favorable treatment to the father that requested / has taken paternal leave is strictly prohibited;
    • It is expressly clarified that the period of paternal leave represents work, service and specialization seniority and shall be taken into account when determining the rights to be granted in relation thereto;
  • In terms of sanctions, a new series of provisions are introduced, as follows:
    • Employer’s non-compliance with the obligation to approve and grant the paternal leave or, as case may be with the obligation to maintain the rights of an employee on paternal leave – administrative fines between RON 4,000 and 8,000 (approx. EUR 800 to 1,600);
    • Termination by the employer of the employment or service relationship while the worker is on paternal leave (out of other reasons than those exceptionally permitted by law) – administrative fines between RON 3,000 and 10,000 (approx. EUR 600 to 2,000);
    • Employer’s non-compliance with the obligation to ensure the employee returning from paternal leave working conditions that are not less favorable, as well as from any improvement in working conditions, as case may be – administrative fines between RON 3,000 and 10,000 (approx. EUR 600 to 2,000).

Lat but not least, within 30 days from the date when this GEO enters into force, the Methodological Norms for the application of the paternal leave law will be accordingly amended.

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