On 6 November 2020, two new regulations impacting employment relationships in the context of the state of alert were published in the Official Gazette:
i. Government Emergency Ordinance no. 192/2020 amending and supplementing Law no. 55/2020 on certain measures for preventing and combating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for amending letter a) of article 7 of Law no. 81/2018 on the regulation of teleworking (“GEO 192/2020”); and
ii. Government Decision no. 935/2020 on amending and supplementing annexes no. 2 and 3 to Government Decision no. 856/2020 on the extension of the state of alert on the Romanian territory starting with 15 October 2020, as well as for establishing the applicable measures for preventing and combating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic during the state of alert period (“GD 935/2020”).
The applicability of the set of measures implemented by GD 935/2020 has been extended by Government Decision no. 967/2020 on the extension of the state of alert on the Romanian territory starting with 14 November 2020 (“GD 967/2020”), to be applicable for the period 14 November – 13 December 2020.
1. Employer’s Obligations
1.1. Mandatory implementation of teleworking / work from home
Under GEO 192/2020, during the state of alert period, employers shall implement teleworking or work from home, where the specifics of employee activity allows. GD 967/2020 settled a previous discrepancy between the provisions of GEO 192/2020 and those of GD 935/2020, by clarifying that the obligation to implement teleworking / work from home concerns all employers, not only those having more than 50 employees, as implied by GD 935/2020.
1.2. Personnel scheduling
When teleworking / work from home is not possible due to the specifics of the activity, employers with a number of more than 50 employees have the obligation to schedule the personnel by groups, which will begin / end their activity with a difference of at least one hour between them.
1.3. Amendments to the legislation regarding teleworking
GEO 192/2020 also modified Law no. 81/2018 on the regulation of teleworking and instituted the possibility for an employer to conclude a written agreement with the employees whereby teleworking will be carried-out using the employees’ own equipment, specifying the conditions of use.
1.4. Implementation of the new regulations
According to a guide published on the Labour Inspectorate website, employers targeted by the new regulations are permitted to institute teleworking / work from home, as well as the scheduling of the personnel by groups, by way of decision. Therefore, by way of derogation from the general labour law provisions, employers may implement the new measures unilaterally, similar to the regime on teleworking / work from home which applied during the state of emergency period.
2. Compliance check initiated by the Labour Inspectorate regarding the observance of the new regulations
In a press release issued on 11 November 2020, the Labour Inspectorate announced that it has initiated a campaign to check, among other issues, the employers’ compliance with the regulations on teleworking / work from home, personnel scheduling and occupational safety & health in the context of the pandemic. The campaign will take place between 10 and 24 November 2020.
The compliance check for teleworking / work from home and personnel scheduling targets employers with more than 50 employees, while the compliance check for OSH measures targets all employers.
By Kodru Mansour, Associate, PeliPartners