The State of Alert replaced the State of Emergency in Romania on 15 May 2020. On 16 June, the State of Alert was extended for an additional 30 days. During the State of Alert period some restrictions regarding operating businesses remain in place.
Since the state of alert was first declared the Government gradually reopened some activities and announced that, depending on the evolution of the epidemic, most activities will likely be allowed by mid-July, when the current state of alert might end.
Closed-door activities, including restaurants, bars, cafes, playgrounds and indoor pools remain closed, but open air and similar facilities are allowed to reopen. For each activity that was suspended and is reopened the Government issues ministerial orders that include the minimum mandatory rules the companies have to observe. As general rules, protective masks are still mandatory at the workplace with the exception of employees who do not share a working space with anybody, employees who are performing activities in conditions of extreme temperatures or that require a great amount of physical activity, and also employees with health conditions that may lead to respiratory difficulties. Additional individual protective gear may be required for specific employees with high exposure to risk factors. Soap and disinfectants should be widely and readily available to employees.
The Labour Minister and the Health Minister have issued a joint order regarding the obligations that employers have during the state of alert, what actions are to be taken in case one of the employees is suspected of contracting the virus or confirmed positive for COVID-19, but also the obligations the employees have regarding their own health and safety. The order recommends employers with more than 50 employees to use individualised working hours that allow employees to start work at 3 different hours. The employer must properly inform the employees on the safety rules that are mandatory during the state of emergency and should ensure that the employees follow the mandatory rules. The order gives general guidelines on how the employer should act in case of suspicion of infection with COVID-19 or in case of confirmed infection with COVID-19, including how and when the workplace could be reopened. The order also includes a series of obligations for the employees regarding their individual conduct. The employers will check the temperature of all employees at the beginning of the working program and will not allow any employee who has a temperature higher than 37.3°C to enter the workplace. Also, the employer will not allow any employee who presents symptoms of respiratory infection to enter the workplace.
During the state of alert, the employer can still issue work from home decisions; however the employee’s consent is necessary. Under similar conditions, the employer can change the place of the activity of the employees and their responsibilities.
Collective agreements will remain enforced during the state of alert and for an additional period of 90 days after the state of alert ends. Collective negotiations will commence within 45 days of the date when the state of alert will end.
Employees who are still affected by the safety measures and cannot resume their activity, and continue to have their individual employment agreements suspended, will still receive the state funded indemnity of 75% of their salary, but no more than 75% of the average monthly salary for 2020. The state also subsidises part of the salary for employees who resume their activity after the suspension of their individual employment agreement. The employer can receive from the state 41.5% of the employee’s salary for up to 3 months after the employee resumes the activity, if that employee was suspended for at least 15 days. The employer should not dismiss the employee until 31 December 2020 in order to benefit from this state aid, with the exception of employers that have seasonal activities. Employers that hire individuals over the age of 50 years, who were dismissed as a result of the pandemic, can receive 50% of the salary of their new employee, but no more than 2.500 lei, for 12 months if they continue the employment for a minimum of another 12 months. The same state aid is available for employers that hire unemployed individuals (who are registered as such with the Unemployment Authority) between 16 years and 29 years old and also for employers that hire Romanian nationals who were dismissed for reasons that are not related to their conduct by foreign employers, while working in a foreign state. Employers that do not comply with the requirement of maintaining the employment for the required duration, will return the amounts received from the state plus the legal interest rate.
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