Government Emergency Ordinance no. 132/2020 (“GEO 132/2020”) establishing new support measures for employees and employers in the context of the current epidemiological situation was published in the Official Gazette on 10.08.2020.
Under GEO 132/2020 the Government adopted the following measures:
Supporting by the State of an indemnity in case of temporary reduction of the employer’s activity due to the establishment of a state of emergency/alert/siege.
In case of temporary reduction of the activity determined by the establishment of the state of emergency/alert/siege, the employer has the possibility to reduce the working time of the employees up to maximum 50% of the duration provided in the individual employment agreement (“IEA“).
During the reduction of working time, the employees affected by the measure benefit, in addition to the salary rights for the actual working time, from an indemnity of 75% of the difference between the gross basic salary provided in IEA and the gross basic salary for the hours actually worked following the reduction of working time.
The indemnity is borne by the employer and is paid on the date of payment of the salary for the respective month.
The indemnity will be reimbursed from the unemployment insurance budget after the employer fulfils the declaratory and payment obligations related to the income from salaries and assimilated to the salaries from the period for which the request is made. The procedure for the indemnity reimbursement, as well as the period for which the measure is applicable will be established by Government Decision.
According to GEO 132/2020, in case the employer does not recover the indemnity from the unemployment insurance budget, it does not have the right to recover it from the employee.
The employer can dispose the measure of working time reduction and request the reimbursement of the indemnity if the following conditions are cumulatively met:
- the measure affects at least 10% of the number of employers in the unit;
- the reduction of the activity is justified by a decrease of turnover in the month preceding the application of the measure or, at most, in the second month preceding the application of the measure by at least 10% compared to the same month of the previous year.
The reduction of working time is established by the employer’s decision for a period of at least 5 consecutive working days, the employer having the obligation to establish the work schedule for the entire month.
The employer’s decision on the reduction of working time, the work schedule, its distribution by days and the related salary rights must be communicated to the employee at least 5 days before the effective application of the measure and shall be registered with Revisal no later than the day before its occurrence.
The employer has the obligation to inform and consult the union/employees’ representatives/employees, as the case may be, prior to communication of the decision to the employees.
During the application period of the measure:
- it is forbidden hiring of staff for the performance of activities identical or similar to those carried out by employees whose working time was reduced, as well as subcontracting activities carried out by employees whose working time was reduced. The prohibition also applies at the level of branch, subsidiary, or other secondary offices;
- the employees affected by this measure cannot perform overtime for the same employer;
- working time of the affected employees cannot be reduced under art. 52 paragraph (3) of the Labor Code (i.e. reduction of the working schedule from 5 to 4 days per week);
- the employees benefit from all the other rights provided for in the IEA or in the collective labor contract, proportionally to the actual time worked. By exception, granting bonuses as well as other additions to the basic salary for the employer’s management structure is made after the end of the measure application period;
- the employer is forbidden to initiate collective redundancies in the months in which the reduction of working time is applied;
- the employer owes the employment insurance contribution both for the salary rights related to the worked time and for the above-mentioned indemnity.
The indemnity shall not be cumulated for the same employee with:
- measure provided at point 2 below;
- support measures granted according to art. I and III of GEO no. 92/2020 (i.e. the state support of 41.5% of the salary for employees who were technically unemployed during the state of emergency or alert, the state support of 50% of the salary for young/elderly unemployed persons hired until 31 December 2020);
- measures for stimulating employers and financed from the unemployment insurance budget according to Law no. 76/2002 (e.g. for hiring graduates of educational institutions, disabled graduates, unemployed persons over age of 45, young people at risk of social marginalization, etc.).
Reimbursement of part of new employees’ salary in case of fixed-term IEA
- in case of concluding fixed-term individual employment agreements of up to 3 months, the state will bear part of the salary granted to the respective employees, representing 41.5% of the salary for the worked days, for a working period of 8 hours/day, without exceeding 41.5% of the national average gross salary;
- the measure is applicable until 31 December 2020, only for a period of maximum 3 months, at the choice of the employer;
- the employer will pay in full the salary; the percentage of 41.5% will be subsequently reimbursed by the National Unemployment Agency;
- the reimbursement of the amount borne by the state is made upon the request of employers based on a sworn statement accompanied by the list of persons for whom payment is requested, after the employer fulfills the declaratory and payment obligations related to salaries income/ assimilated to salaries;
- the payment is made within maximum 10 days as of the date of submitting the request, based on a procedure that will be approved by Government decision.
Financial support for telework activity
- for organizing the telework activity, the employers are granted, only once, for each teleworker a financial support amounting to Lei 2,500 in order to acquire technological goods and services necessary to carry out the telework activity;
- the above-mentioned amount shall be granted to employers, until 31 December 2020, within the limits of the funds allocated for this purpose, for employees who have carried out the activity in teleworking regime during the state of emergency for at least 15 working days;
- the way of granting and the categories of goods that can be purchased will be established by order of the Minister of Labor and Social Protection;
- within 30 days as of the granting of the support the employer must send to the National Unemployment Agency supporting documents regarding the acquisition of the goods; otherwise, the employer must return the whole amount received within 30 days as of the expiry of the aforementioned term.