Romania still has room to grow in terms of social rights, shows ECSR report

Newsroom 29/01/2016 | 15:43

The European Committee of Social Rights published its annual conclusions for 2015 for Romania, the report concerning several articles under the “Children, families and migrants” thematic group, and found an equal number of conformity and non-conformity (11 situations each), deferring its conclusion in 3 instances.

When it comes to the right of children and young persons to protection (Art. 7), the Committee found Romania unable to guarantee the prohibition of employment under the age of 15, nor the protection against employment of children subject to compulsory education. The situation for working time (Art. 7, par. 4) was found to be in conformity, with the mention that regular monitoring is required, but young workers’ wages were not found fair. Furthermore, inclusion of time spent on vocational training in the normal working time and remunerated as such was not established to be guaranteed in practice, nor was the right to paid annual leave. Prohibition of night work and regular medical examination for children and young persons were found to be in conformity with the Charter.

The Social Rights Committee deferred its conclusions regarding special protection against physical and moral dangers and the right of employed women to maternity leave and maternity benefits, requiring more information that had not been provided in the initial report submitted by Romania. Moreover, the Committee found that in the case of the illegality of dismissal during maternity leave Romania was not in conformity with the Charter as it has not been established that adequate redress is provided in cases of unlawful dismissal during pregnancy or maternity leave.

Romania was, however, in conformity with the provisions for time off for nursing mothers, with two breaks of one hour each until the child is one year old being included in the working hours and paid as such. The regulation of night work and prohibition of dangerous, unhealthy or arduous work were also found to be in conformity with the Charter, but mentioned that since Romania has not provided answers for questions the Social Rights Committee had asked before, it is at risk of reaching non-conformity if the next report does not clarify the situation.

As for the right to protection of health (Art. 11), Romania is not in conformity with Par. 2 regarding advisory and educational facilities as it has not been established that counselling and screening for pregnant women and children are frequent enough or that the proportion of mother and children covered is sufficient, nor has it been shown that prevention through screening is used as a contribution to the health of the population.

Romania is also not in conformity in terms of the existence of a social security system as the minimum level of sickness benefit has not been established as being adequate.

In terms of the right to social and medical assistance (Art. 13), Romania fails to provide adequate assistance for every person in need as the level of social assistance is manifestly inadequate, including for elderly persons without resources, and uninsured persons are not entitled to adequate medical assistance. Furthermore, persons without resources or at risk of becoming so do not have effective access to adequate services offering advice and persona assistance to prevent, remove or to alleviate personal or family want.

As far as right of the family to social, legal and economic protection, the Social Rights Committee found that the situation in Romania was not in conformity with Art. 16 on the grounds that the right to adequate housing was not guaranteed for Roma families, it was not established that there are adequate procedural safeguards against unlawful eviction for families, that affordable and good quality childcare was ensure for families and that adequate family counselling services were available.

In terms of the right of children and young persons to social, legal and economic protection, including assistance, education and training (Art. 17, par. 1) and free primary and secondary education – regular attendance at school (Art. 17, par. 2), the Committee concluded that the situation in Romania is in conformity with the Charter, but requested further information, including whether children unlawfully present in the territory of Romania have a right to education.

The Social Rights Committee also found that Romania is in conformity with Art. 19 regarding the right of migrant workers and their families to protection and assistance, but only concerning par. 7 – equality regarding legal proceedings. As for par. 8, guarantees concerning deportation, the Committee deferred its conclusion pending further information from Romanian authorities.

As for the right of workers with family responsibilities to equal opportunity and treatment, the Committee found that the situation in Romania is in conformity with Art. 27, par. 2, which provides for parental leave, asking, however, if fathers have an individual right to parental leave and whether at least a part of it is non-transferable.

At the European level, the Conclusions 2015 report showed a total of 277 violations of the European Social Charter related to children, families and migrants in 31 countries, according to the Council of Europe website. The Committee is set to publish a report on provisions related to the “Employment, training and equal opportunities” thematic group next.

Andreea Tint

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