BanuEmployment LawLEGAL NEWS & INSIGHTS MARCH 2022

April 8, 2022

LEGAL NEWS

1. End of state of alert in Romania

9 March 2022 marks the end of the state of alert in Romania, after nearly two years (15 May 2020 – 8 March 2022).

Besides the lift of restrictions, this also triggered the end of certain exceptional employment measures applicable during the state of alert, which means:

  • employees are back at the workplace with remote work only possible with both parties’ consent – during the state of alert, companies were allowed to put in place remote work without employee’s consent
  • collective bargaining resumed – the duration of collective bargaining agreements is extended for an extra 90-day term after the end of the state of alert. It is legally required to start collective bargaining in no more than 45 days as of the end of the state alert ie. until 22 April 2022.
  • saying goodbye to unemployment indemnity due to covid-19 – However, ‘Kurzarbeit indemnities’  to be granted for another 3 months as of end of the state alert.

2. Electricity and Natural Gas Price Cap

As we are facing rising global energy prices, 22 March 2022 came with the entry into force of new measures for final customers on the electricity and natural gas market applicable for 1 April 2022 – 3 March 2023 (legal enactment: Emergency Government Ordinance 27/2022).

Here are a few of the new rules:

  • New electricity and natural gas price caps for household and non-household consumers were introduced.
  • There are no price caps for large electricity household consumers or for large natural gas non-household consumers.
  • The mechanism to compensate suppliers for the difference between the price cap and the cost price has been modified.
  • An obligation for suppliers to keep in stock a minimum of 30% of the total quantity of natural gas required to be delivered to final customers. The obligation applies between 1 April 2021 and 31 October 2022.
  • A new obligation for natural gas producers (onshore and offshore) to sell quantities of natural gas to suppliers of household consumers and to thermal energy producers/suppliers at a regulated price of 150 RON/MWh and 250 RON/MWh respectively. However, the relevant gas quantities are exempted from the windfall taxes imposed by EGO 7/2013 and Offshore Law 256/2018.

LEGAL INSIGHTS

Dismissals triggered by workforce restructuring

Here are a few tips to consider by your company in view of dismissals triggered by workforce restructuringThis type of dismissal has at its core reasons not related to the employee – based on economic, financial, organisational grounds or technological transformations.

Under the Labour Code, an employee may be dismissed as a result of the elimination of his/her job position (from the Company’s organizational structure) for “one or several reasons which are not related to the employee“, subject to the condition that the elimination of the job position “has a real and serious cause” and is “effective“.

The elimination of the job position must have a real and serious cause being grounded on objective reasons (such as economic difficulties, the reorganization of the whole or part of the company’s activity for efficiency purposes) and it should not be aimed to remove the respective employee from the organization.

In case the restructuring implies the elimination of one job position out of several identical or similar ones, the company should establish and apply objective selection criteria in order to select the employees that would be dismissed. In the absence of such criteria, the dismissed employees could claim that the restructuring was subjective and discriminatory and, consequently, it should be invalidated.

In order to prove that the elimination of a job position is effective, the employer must prove that the position has been effectively eliminated from the organizational structure, it has not been in fact a change in the name of the position by keeping the same job attributions and it shall not be followed by the re-creation of the same position in a short period of time.

If the court of law decides to cancel the dismissal decision, it shall oblige the employer to pay an indemnity equal to the indexed, increased or updated salary together with the other benefits to which the employee would have been entitled and, at the employee’s specific request, it shall reinstate the employee in his prior job position.

Whether or not a lay‑off is considered a collective redundancy depends on the overall head‑count and the number of staff you contemplate to lay off:

Overall head-count Staff to lay off Period of lay off
20-100 Minimum 10 30 calendar days
100-300 Minimum 10% 30 calendar days
300 or more Minimum 30 30 calendar days

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is in no way exhaustive and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Readers of this Article should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.