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AmCham Romania Resource Center for COVID-19 Response Business Advisory Kurzarbeit and other measures for the support of employees and employers in pandemic context

Kurzarbeit and other measures for the support of employees and employers in pandemic context

by bpv GRIGORESCU STEFANICA August 13, 2020

A new enactment recently published in the Official Gazette[1] introduces a new set of tools to support employees and employers in the context of the effects of the pandemic of COVID-19.

Kurzarbeit as a measure to ensure labour flexibility

Kurzarbeit is a measure, which helped to rebuild the German economy in repeated crisis situations and today can help rebuild the Romanian economy, through the new regulations introduced.

Thus, employers now have the possibility to reduce the working time of employees by up to 50% of the duration provided in the individual employment contract, through unilateral decision, under the following cumulative conditions:

i. the employers’ activity is temporarily reduced as a result of the establishment of the state of alert/siege/emergency;

ii. the turnover in the month preceding the application of the reduction measure or at most in the month preceding the latter was reduced by at least 10% compared to the same month of the previous year;

iii. the trade union, employees’ representatives or employees were informed and consulted;

iv. the reduction measure affects at least 10% of the total number of employees;

vi. the reduction is established for a duration of at least 5 consecutive working days;

vii. the work schedule for the whole month was established.

In addition to the income obtained by reference to the actual time worked, the affected employees will receive an allowance of 75% of the difference between the gross basic salary provided in the individual employment contract and the gross basic salary for hours actually worked as a result of reduced working time. This indemnity will be paid by the employer and will be settled from the unemployment insurance budget after fulfilling the declaratory and payment obligations for the salary and assimilated to the salaries incomes related to the requested month.

The employer’s decision on the reduction of working time, working hours, the allocation per days and the related salary rights shall be communicated to the employee at least 5 days before the effective application of the measure and shall be registered in REVISAL no later than the day before this change. Receiving the employee at work, including under telework or work from home arrangements in the interest of the employer, outside the work schedule thus established, represents administrative offence and the employer will be subject to a fine of up to 20,000 lei for each person so identified, without exceeding the cumulative value of 200,000 lei.

During the period of application of this measure, the following are prohibited:

hiring staff to perform activities identical or similar to those provided by employees affected by the measure;

subcontracting activities carried out by employees affected by the measure;

the provision of overtime work by the affected employees;

additional reduction[2] of the working hours of the affected employees, from 5 to 4 days, in accordance with the law;

granting bonuses, as well as other additions to the incomes of the management structure;

initiation of collective redundancies.

Additional allowances for various types of employees

For employees who conclude individual employment contracts for a fixed-term of up to three months, the settlement from the state budget of a part of their salary will be ensured, representing 41.5% of the salary related to the days worked in these jobs, for a program of 8 hours a day, but not more than 41.5% of the average gross salary (i.e., 41.5% of 5,429 lei, meaning 2,253 lei). The measure will be applicable until December 31, 2020, for a maximum period of three months, at the choice of the employer.

In addition, for day labourers [3] whose activity is interrupted or restricted as a result of the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus for a period of three months, at the choice of the beneficiary, but not later than December 31, 2020, an amount of 35% of the remuneration due for the working day will be granted from the state budget.

These amounts will be initially advanced by the employer, respectively by the beneficiary of works, and will be reimbursed from the state budget, in accordance with the law.

Grants for telework

Employers will be able to benefit from the one-time financial support of 2,500 lei for each teleworker[4] in order to purchase packages of technological goods and services necessary for the activity of telework. The amount will be granted in the order of submission of applications until December 31, 2020, for those employees who worked in telework during the state of emergency for at least 15 working days.

 

[1] Emergency Ordinance no. 132/2020 on support measures for employees and employers in the context of the epidemiological situation caused by the spread of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, as well as to stimulate employment growth, published in the Official Gazette, Part I no. 720 of August 10, 2020;

[2] Article 52 para. (3) of Law no. 53/2003 – Labor Code, republished in the Official Gazette, Part I no. 345 of May 18, 2011;

[3] Performing activity in accordance with the provisions of Law no. 52/2011 regarding the exercise of occasional activities carried out by day laborers, republished in the Official Gazette, Part I no. 947 of December 22, 2015;

[4] Carrying out telework activity, under the conditions of Law no. 81/2018 on the regulation of telework activity, published in the Official Gazette, Part I no. 296 of April 2, 2018.

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