Changes in the Labor and Social Protection Area During the State of Alert
What does the state of alert mean for employers and employees?
The Parliament has adopted the Draft Law on Certain Measures for Prevention and Fight against the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, following that the law becomes effective at the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.
What does the law regulate?
- the object of the law will be the instituting, during the state of alert, of temporary and gradual measures meant to protect the rights to life, physical integrity and health protection, including by restriction of the exercise of other fundamental rights and freedoms.
What is the state of alert?
- the law defines the state of alert as being the response to an emergency situation of exceptional magnitude and intensity, determined by one or more types of risk, consisting in a set of temporary measures, proportionate to its manifested or foreseen level of gravity and necessary for the prevention and elimination of the imminent threats against persons’ lives and health, the environment, important material and cultural values or property;
- state of alert is instituted by the Government by decision, for a limited period of time, which may not be longer than 30 days, but which may be prolonged whenever the analysis of the risk factors indicates the necessity to maintain the amplified response for an additional period, which may not be longer than 30 days;
What are the implications of the state of alert for employment relations? Special measures to support employers and to protect employees and their families
- during the state of alert, any employer may decide, with its employees’ consent, to conduct its business by teleworking or work from home, change of the workplace or of the employees’ responsibilities. We consider that the legislator has had in view the possibility that employers dispose that their activity be conducted by teleworking or work from home by decision, followed by their employees’ written consents by means of remote communication;
- during the state of alert, employers from the private area, central and local public authorities and institutions, autonomous companies, national companies and companies with share capital fully owned or majority owned by the state or by an administrative and territorial unit, with a number higher than 50 employees, may establish individualized working hours, without the employees’ consents, so that an interval of one hour at the start and at the end of the working hours, in a period of 3 hours, is ensured between the employees;
- Government Emergency Decision no. 30/2020, which introduced technical unemployment, will continue to apply, uninterruptedly, from the end date of the state of emergency, for all the areas of activity where restrictions are maintained, until their lifting, but not later than December 31, 2020;
- Law no. 19/2020 on the Granting of Days-Off to Parents for supervision of their children, in case of temporary closing of the education units, will apply until the end of the courses of the school year;
- during the state of alert, the managers of the public institutions involved in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic may order the secondment, with the prior consent of the employee and of the employer that seconds, provided that the employer where secondment is made activates in the same area of activity;
- the managers of the public institutions involved in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as against its effects may dispose unilaterally the interruption of the rest leaves, additional rest leaves, unpaid leaves and leaves for the professional training of the employed personnel and the resuming of the activity for their own personnel;
- during the state of alert, the employees from the public system will remain available for the fulfillment of their job duties, depending on the workload of the institution, in observance of a number of maximum 48 hours per week, including overtime;
- furthermore, any persons from the public institutions with powers and duties in the prevention of contamination and fight against the effects of COVID-19 may be suspended from office for the serious non-fulfillment of their job duties related to the instituting and application of the measures ordered during the state of alert. In this case, suspension terminates by operation of law at the end date of the state of alert. Thus, the positions that have become temporarily vacant by application of suspension may be occupied by public servants or contractual personnel, by appointment by the competent authority, without any competition being organized, but any appointment so ordered shall terminate by operation of law at the end of the state of alert;
- during the state of alert, in public institutions and authorities any type of competition for occupying the vacant and temporarily vacant positions or offices will be suspended;
- collective employment contracts and collective employment agreements remain valid during the state of alert, as well as for a period of 90 from its end;
- declaration, initiation and carrying out of collective work conflicts in the units of the national power system, in the operative units of the nuclear sectors, in the full-shit units, in the sanitary and social assistance units, telecommunication units, public radio and TV units, railway transport units, units ensuring public transport and town sanitation, as well as the supply of the population with gas and electric energy, heat and water is forbidden during the state of alert;
- in the case of the personnel employed in the sanitary, social assistance, medical and social assistance units and in the defense, public order and national security institutions, the prior notice terms do not start running, and, if they have started running, they will be stayed during the entire state of alert.