The former Labor Code was outdated and needed changing, agreed the HR specialists and attorneys present at the Employment event organized by Business Review last week. The presence of Valentin Mocanu, state secretary at the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection, was the occasion for long and heated debate, but he voiced his expectation that “in two-three years, the results will be positive”.
Some of the hottest topics aired at the BR event were the most radical changes that the freshly adopted code has brought to the labor landscape.
These include easier to conclude fixed-term labor contracts, individual work performance objectives, internships for recent graduates, the prevalence of performance-based selection criteria over collective criteria in mass redundancies, longer periods of notice prior to resignation, lower protection of employees’ representatives and union leaders and the compensation of overtime with paid free hours.
Evaluation criteria and axing of collective contracts excite debate
One of the most controversial issues among the estimated 100 attendees of the BR event was the new code’s requirement for stricter and more precise job descriptions for employees. This list of duties will later be used for evaluation purposes and will also need to be included in the company’s internal regulations. HR managers in the audience raised questions concerning the negotiability of these criteria between employees and employers.
“Certain aspects will be individually negotiated with each employee, which is another result of the ditching of collective labor contracts,” said Mocanu. Employees have the right to disagree with certain duties and could eventually be given a different role within a company, suggested Maria Crisu, payroll manager, TMF Accounting & Payroll. Mocanu was however more radical in his viewpoint, saying that employees who disagree with their duties also have the option of leaving their jobs.
Iulian Patrascanu, managing partner at Fine Law, brought to attention the practical side of the changes to hiring and firing procedures during the second session of the event, which focused on the restructuring process. “One should start considering how to dissolve a position as soon as one creates it,” he said, noting that this is one of the reasons why evaluation criteria have gained more importance.
Another hot topic at the BR event, organized on May 5, was union leaders and the new tie-breakers in the event of collective redundancies.
The issue was raised during the second session, with speakers pointing out that the activity of a union leader will not stop with the termination of his or her work contract.
Cases in the past have seen union leaders going to court to defend their right to keep a position after being made redundant; what will happen now remains to be seen.
Internal regulations high among employers’ priorities
“The most important document that an employer now holds is the internal regulations,” said Marilena Balabuti, head of the legislation/litigation department in the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection, Labor Inspection Bucharest, during the event’s third workshop, organized by Salans.
Another major point that came under discussion during this session was the fact that all employees now need to be documented by Revisal software and that work books will be consigned to the past.
“I think that everybody is happy to see the back of work books,” Balabuti concluded.