New Provisions on Work Organization and Obligation to Wear Protection Masks at Work
On 8 January, Government Decision no. 34/2022 (GD no. 34/2022) entered into force on the extension of the state of alert for 30 days throughout Romania as from 8 January 2022, as well as for the establishment of measures to be applied during the state of alert for the prevention and control of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Measures to be imposed by employers
- During the state of alert, employers shall arrange for at least 50% of their employees to work at home or telework, where the specific nature of the activity allows, in compliance with the provisions of the Labor Code and Law no. 81/2018 on the regulation of telework.
Provisions applicable to employers with more than 50 employees
- Employers shall, for at least 50% of their employees, organize work at home or by telework, where the specific nature of the activity permits.
- Where the employees of such employers are unable to telework or work at home, at least 50% of the employees must work staggered hours starting at 7:30 or 10 a.m. respectively, or in groups/shifts.
Provisions applicable to employers with fewer than 50 employees
- These employers are not obliged to organize staggered working hours or working hours in groups/shifts if their employees are unable to telework or work at home.
- In order to organize work in the workplace in compliance with the legal provisions, employers may ask employees for information on whether they have been vaccinated, by asking them to present the vaccination certificate, and employers may also ask employees for medical information on their state of health in relation to infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, by asking them to present the certificate issued in this respect by their family doctor.
The wearing of protective masks with certain characteristics is made compulsory
- From 8 January, it is compulsory to wear only a 3-ply medical type or FFP2 (N95) protective mask, so that it covers the mouth and nose, in all indoor and outdoor public places.
- Masks made of textile and/or plastic material are not acceptable as they are considered non-compliant.
Categories exempted from wearing a mask
- People who are alone in the office; people who carry out strenuous physical activity and/or in demanding working conditions (high temperatures, high humidity etc.); people with cognitive disabilities.
- In the case of persons suffering from diseases affecting oxygenation capacity, exemption from wearing the mask will be made only after a risk assessment by the establishment’s occupational physician.
Obligations imposed on the employer in relation to the wearing of protective masks
- The employer shall take measures to draw up its own procedures based on the risk assessment for each employee, depending on the work schedule, the specific nature of the activity carried out, the organizational structure, the structure of the premises.
- Occupational physicians will carry out the risk assessment and determine the conditions for wearing the mask for employees suffering from diseases affecting oxygenation capacity, with a view to exempting them from the requirement to wear a medical or FFP2 protective mask at work; they will carry out a risk assessment to decide whether there are other areas where the mask is not compulsory.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Officer will conduct occupational safety and health (OSH) training for employees.
Mandatory epidemiological screening and mandatory hand disinfection on entry to the premises for employed staff
- On entering the premises, it is compulsory to disinfect hands and carry out epidemiological screening, which does not involve recording personal data and consists of measuring the temperature by non-contact thermometer and observing respiratory signs and symptoms (frequent coughing, frequent sneezing, altered general condition).
- If the employee is found to have a temperature above 37.3°C or/and has other respiratory symptoms, he/she will be referred to the family doctor for consultation.
- Managers in each unit/structure are responsible for arranging for observational triage of directly subordinate employees, consisting of observation for possible respiratory signs and symptoms.
- Monitoring the health of employees is the duty of the occupational physician who will also carry out the training of employees in occupational safety and health.
Mandatory epidemiological screening and compulsory hand disinfection on entering the premises for persons other than employees
- Entry to the premises is allowed only to persons who have justified reasons for being on the premises. If it is only necessary to hand over documents, parcels etc., this shall be done outside the premises, directly to the person for whom they are intended.
- If it is necessary to enter the premises, hand disinfection and epidemiological screening is mandatory. If a temperature above 37.3°C or/and other respiratory symptoms are observed, the person shall not be allowed to enter the premises. If the temperature does not exceed 37.3°C and the person has no other respiratory symptoms, he/she will only be allowed access accompanied by a person from the premises and after registration of the office/room/department where he/she is going.
Penalties for failure to comply with protective measures in the workplace
- Failure by the employer to comply with the obligation to carry out an epidemiological screening and failure to comply with the obligations imposed by the wearing of a protective mask constitutes an offence in the field of occupational safety and health and is punishable by a fine.
- It is also an offence and punishable by a fine if individuals fail to comply with individual measures for the protection of life and for limiting the effects of the type of risk produced on the health of persons.
Other provisions on employment relations
- It is allowed to hold training courses, including vocational training requiring practical activities, workshops, conferences, with the participation of persons up to 50% of the maximum capacity of the space, indoors or outdoors, but not more than 150 persons, during the hours of 5.00-22.00, with a distance of 2 meters between persons and a minimum area of 4 square meters per person, wearing a protective mask and observing health protection rules, in counties/localities where the cumulative incidence rate per 14 days is less than or equal to 1/1,000 inhabitants. Participation is only allowed for persons who are vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 and for whom 10 days have elapsed since the completion of the full vaccination scheme, persons with a negative result of an RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 infection not older than 72 hours or a certified negative result of a rapid antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 infection not older than 48 hours, and persons between the 15th day and the 180th day after confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Training courses, including training courses requiring practical activities, workshops, conferences, are allowed to be held with the participation of persons up to 30% of the maximum capacity of the space, indoors or outdoors, but not more than 100 persons, during the hours of 5.00-22.00, ensuring a distance of 2 meters between persons and a minimum area of 4 square meters per person, wearing a protective mask and complying with health protection rules, in counties/localities where the 14-day cumulative incidence rate is more than 1/1,000 inhabitants. Participation is only allowed for persons who are vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 and for whom 10 days have elapsed since the completion of the full vaccination scheme, persons with a negative result of an RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 infection not older than 72 hours or a certified negative result of a rapid antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 infection not older than 48 hours, and persons between the 15th day and the 180th day after confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 infection.