According to Accace, one of the leading business consulting and outsourcing companies in Central and Eastern Europe, the most important legislative changes in 2022 for companies’ HR departments were aimed at transposing a set of social values and principles already recognised by civil society in Europe.
These include: work-life balance, transparency and predictability of working conditions, budgetary consolidation and increasing tax revenues, reducing tax evasion or limiting the effect of inflation on living standards by increasing the gross minimum wage per country.
Given the nature of the legislative changes, companies have been directly impacted by their effects. Thus, the spectrum of effects felt by employers ranged from secondary issues such as the reworking of the framework model for individual employment contracts, to essential ones such as the increase in the gross minimum wage per country, the surcharging of part-time contracts under Government Ordinance no. 16/2022 or the additional days off that employees can benefit from (paternity or carer’s leave). In addition to these, the following can also be listed: the obligation to initiate collective bargaining at the level of establishments with at least 10 employees or the obligation for micro-enterprises to have internal regulations and to draw up job descriptions for employees.
According to Accace Romania representatives, the legislative changes aim to improve working conditions by promoting more transparent forms of work, namely minimum rights that apply to all employees in Romania who have concluded an individual employment contract. They also cover a series of minimum requirements aimed at ensuring equality between women and men in terms of labour market opportunities and treatment at work, making it easier to reconcile work and family life for employees who are parents or carers.
“The main advantage that these legislative changes bring to employment relationships is the predictability of the parties’ conduct. Thus, both employees and employers will have a better representation of their contractual rights and obligations. Although it is possible that harmonising the amended rules with contractual procedures and models will involve some costs for employers, these are secondary and the benefits outweigh the costs in our view. At the same time, following these legislative amendments and additions, Accace Romania has provided support to its clients regarding the drafting of individual employment contracts, additional acts, internal regulations and job descriptions for employees, as well as advice on the applicability and interpretation of labour legislation”, says Laura Ștefan, Managing Director of Accace Romania.
Internal regulation, an opportunity for the employer to establish the general framework of activity
For example, the employer’s obligation to have an internal regulation at company level should be seen rather as an opportunity for the employer, because through this document it can establish various policies and procedures, such as rules on hygiene and safety at work, respect for the principle of non-discrimination and the removal of any form of violation of dignity.
It may also lay down rules on the disciplinary procedure or the amicable settlement of individual labour disputes, requests or individual complaints from employees, such as procedures for professional appraisal or the rights and obligations of the employer and employees.
Evolution of the legislative environment in the area of personnel administration and payroll in 2023
This year, one of the legislative acts that bring legislative changes relevant to the area of payroll and personnel administration is Government Emergency Ordinance no. 164/2022. Although the ordinance is already in force, the measures contained therein will be fully applicable once the methodological rules for the application of the provisions of GEO no. 111/2010 on leave and monthly child-raising allowance are amended, in accordance with articles II and III of GEO no. 164/2022.
Thus, among the most important changes contained in the aforementioned act are: simultaneous recognition of income from foreign sources as well as from domestic sources, as long as the periods of activity and income do not overlap in the same month. Recipients of the allowance will be able to request recalculation of the amount of the allowance on the basis of final court decisions, certificates, statements or other documents correcting the income determined as the basis for calculating the allowance.
At the same time, people who earn income from self-employment, e.g. authorised natural persons (PFA), royalties, etc., will have easier access to the benefit, and retroactive differences may be granted or recovered in cases where recalculation of benefits by a beneficiary has led to an increase or, as the case may be, a decrease.
As regards parental leave, the period of non-transferable leave for the other parent who did not initially request the leave is extended from at least one month to at least two months of the total leave period. Employees going on parental leave are also required to notify their employer at least 10 days before the end of their maternity leave or, where applicable, before the estimated start date of their parental leave.
At the same time, parents who return to work after parental leave have the right to return to the same job under the same conditions and may also receive the reinstatement allowance, subject to the conditions laid down by law.