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Romania: Summary of Recent Labour and Employment Law Developments

In the past month, there have been several labour and employment law developments, chief among them: i) new rules on using electronic signatures for employment documents; and ii) the government reduces the number of mandatory employment documents needed for small companies.

New Rules on Using Electronic Signatures for Employment Documents

The Romania Government has issued Emergency Ordinance No. 36/2021 that introduces, in the Labour Code, rules regarding the use of electronic signatures for employment documents. Prior to this new ordinance, the practice of using electronic signatures in employment documents was quite rare and the general rules governing such use would apply.

Individual employment agreements can be conducted or modified as electronic documents, if both the employer and/or the (future) employees are in possession of a certified electronic signature. The employer cannot impose the electronic form of the individual employment agreement and cannot ask the employees to obtain a certified electronic signature for this purpose. The employer can, but does not have the obligation to, bear the costs of obtaining certified electronic signatures for the employees. When conducting or modifying an individual employment agreement both parties should use the same type of signature; a physical, handwritten signature or a certified electronic (e.g. digital) signature.

The employer can also choose to issue all documents resulting from the employment relationship via electronic means. In this case, the employer should include provisions on the manner in which such documents are going to be issued in the internal company rules and regulations (“Internal Regulation”) and/or in the relevant collective employment agreement. Electronic documents can also be used by the employer in collaboration with the authorities on matters related to the employment relationship, including health and safety or when documenting the health and safety training that was provided to the employees. Electronic employment documents will be archived according to the general rules regarding electronic documents.

Emergency Ordinance No. 36/2021 also includes changes to Law No. 81/2018 on teleworking. According to the new provisions, the employee no longer needs to work remotely at least one day a month in order to be classified as a teleworker; furthermore, the employer no longer needs to train the employee on health and safety issues when the telework location changes.

Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel 

In order to be able to issue employment related documents in electronic form, employers need to include a brief procedure within i) the Internal Regulation (e.g. articles of incorporation, certificate of incorporation, charter, bylaws or other similar governing instruments), an organisational document mandatory for most employers; and/or ii) in the collective employment agreement, if such an agreement is in place.

Government Reduces the Number of Mandatory Employment Documents Needed for Small Companies

The Romania Government has issued Emergency Ordinance No. 37/2021. According to this new ordinance, small-sized enterprises that have up to 9 employees and which achieve a net annual turnover / hold total assets of up to EUR 2 million, no longer have the obligation to issue some of the mandatory employment documents.

Companies that fall under this category are no longer required to issue written job descriptions (documents that include a list of duties and activities specific to the job and hierarchical structure and subordination information) for their employees. Verbal instructions are considered to be valid in these cases. However, if the employee asks the employer, in writing, for a job description, the employer has to communicate the job description in written form as well.

The Internal Regulation is no longer mandatory for small companies that qualify in accordance with Emergency Ordinance No. 37/2021. Given that rules on tracking daily working time are generally included in the Internal Regulation, for the employees of companies that are no longer required to draft the Internal Regulation, such rules shall instead be included in the individual employment agreement.

Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel 

In order to avoid any claims that might arise from instructing employees verbally, it is advisable, for small-sized companies as well, to use written job descriptions, even if it is not required.