EU Directive 2019/1158, also known as the Work-Life Balance Directive, aims to improve work-life balance for employees in the European Union by introducing new rights for working parents and caregivers. The Romanian authorities have passed legislation to enact the European Union (EU) Directive 2019/1158 with the following new rights for employees:
- The right to be granted caregiver’s leave of 5 working days within a calendar year to provide personal care or support to a relative or a person living in the same household as the employee who needs significant care or support due to a serious medical condition. This leave is granted in addition to the classic care leave (sick childcare leave and adult cancer patient care leave, the latter being recently introduced as well). Failure to grant caregiver’s leave to employees who meet the conditions provided by the law will be sanctioned with a fine. The law also provides for employee insurance during caregiver’s leave from the social health insurance system without paying the contribution. The period of the caregiver’s leave constitutes a contribution period for establishing the right to unemployment allowance and allowance for temporary incapacity for work.
- The right to be absent from work in case of family emergencies for a maximum of 10 working days/year. This leave is subject to prior notification to the employer and with the recovery of the period of absence. The employer and the employee establish by mutual agreement the way to recover the period of absence.
- The right to increased paternity leave from 5 to 10 working days, and in the case of fathers who obtained a certificate of completion of the childcare course, this is increased by another 5 days, for each child, and not only for the firstborn, as it was before.
Paternity leave and the related allowance can be granted to all fathers who have the status of a worker, with an employment contract or a service relationship concluded in accordance with the law, and eliminates the old provisions that referred to their status as insured within the social insurance system of the state.
Moreover, it also applies to persons with sports activity contracts, individual labor agreements (cooperatives), mandate contracts, management contracts, those who carry out activities as a result of a position of public dignity, and persons with management and administration contracts.
During the period of paternity leave, the father benefits from an allowance equal to the salary corresponding to that period, and the period counts as work seniority. The payment of paternity leave rights will be supported, as before, from the employer’s salary fund.
In order to ensure that these new rights are fairly enforced, discrimination and dismissal are prohibited on the grounds that employees exercised their legal rights. The prohibition of dismissal also applies during parental leave, caregiver’s leave, or absence from work for family emergencies.
Additional Changes to Romania’s Labor Law
Other changes to the labor laws include informing employees about internal regulation provisions, including electronically, and informing candidates/employees about certain additional aspects, including the right and conditions regarding professional training offered by the employer and aspects that must be mentioned in the employment contract. The person selected for employment or the employee must also be informed about the:
- Possibility of ensuring or settling the employer’s travel between different jobs (in the absence of a fixed job).
- Constituent elements of salary income highlighted separately and the salary payment method.
- Normal duration of work, expressed in hours/day and/or hours/week, the conditions for performing and compensating or paying overtime, as well as, if applicable, the methods of organizing work in shifts.
- Duration and conditions of the trial period, if any.
- Rights and conditions regarding professional training offered by the employer.
- Employer’s bearing of private medical insurance, additional contributions to the employee’s optional pension or occupational pension, as well as the granting, at the employer’s initiative, of any other rights, when they constitute advantages in money granted or paid by the employer to the employee as a result of their professional activity.
If the employer does not inform the employee about all the elements provided by the labor code, he will be able to notify the Labor Inspectorate, and in the case of employers who have their own inspection bodies, the employee will be able to address them. In the event that the employer does not fulfill its information obligations, the person selected for employment or the employee has the right to refer the competent court and request compensation.
It is prohibited to establish a new trial period if, within 12 months, between the same parties, a new individual employment contract is concluded for the same position and with the same attributions.
Employees have the right to request a transfer to a vacant position that provides more favorable working conditions if he/she has completed their probationary period and has been with the same employer for at least 6 months.
Employees have the right to work for different employers or for the same employer, based on individual employment contracts, without overlapping the work schedule, benefiting from the corresponding salary for each of them, and none of the employers can apply unfavorable treatment to the employee who exercises this right.
By Law no. 283/2022, clarifications are made to the working time, specifying that the work schedule represents the way of organizing the activity by the employer, which establishes the hours and days when the work begins and ends.
Regarding the individualized work schedule, it is mentioned that the employer’s refusal to comply with the employee’s request regarding an individualized work schedule must be submitted, in writing, within 5 working days of receiving the request. The employee has the right to return to the original work schedule at the end of the agreed period or if the circumstances for which he requested an individualized schedule have changed.
The flexible way of organizing working time gives employees the opportunity to adapt their work schedule, including through the use of remote work formulas, flexible work schedules, individualized work schedules, or work schedules with reduced working hours.
Employers should ensure that employees are informed of their new rights and update internal regulations, collective agreements, and any other relevant internal policies to reflect these changes.