The Romanian Labour Code – Law no. 53/2003 was recently amended by Law no. 12/2015 published in the Official Gazette of Romania Part I, no. 52 dated 22 January 2015 (the Amending Law).

The Amending Law entered into force on 25 January 2015.

Main amendments refer to the determination and granting of the annual rest leave and to the salary payable to the temporary employees.

Amendments regarding seniority

As per the Amending Law, periods representing unjustified absences from work, as well as unpaid leaves (except for unpaid leaves for professional training) shall be deducted from work seniority. Thus, upon calculating any rights of the employees/ former employees based on work seniority (i.e. bonuses, pension rights, etc.) such periods shall not be considered.

Amendments regarding salary of temporary employees

The Amending Law expressly provides that the temporary employees shall receive, for each assignment, a salary at least equal to the salary of the beneficiary’s own personnel performing same work or a work similar to the one performed by the temporary employee. In case no similar employee is hired by the beneficiary, the temporary employee’s salary shall be established by referring to the salary of a person hired to perform same or similar work, as established in the collective bargaining agreement applicable to the beneficiary.

Although not expressly regulated until now, under the previous regulations it could have been interpreted that temporary employees should have been granted salary rights similar to the ones of the beneficiary’s personnel, grounded on the non-discriminatory treatment established by the law in favour of the temporary employees. As this interpretation of the law was not unanimous among legal scholars, the current amendments finally settle this issue.

Amendments regarding annual leave

Under the new regulations, periods of temporary work incapacity, maternity leave, maternal risk leave and leave for childcare shall not affect the number of days of annual leave that the employees are entitled to every year.

If these periods intervene during the annual leave, the leave shall be interrupted and the employee shall take the remaining days after the periods end. If not possible, the remaining days shall be rescheduled.

According to the new provisions, the employees shall have the right to benefit of the annual rest leave even if the temporary work incapacity lasts for the entire calendar year. In such a case, the employer has to grant the annual leave to the respective employees within 18 months starting with the following year.

Moreover, the Amending Law extended the carry over period for the annual leave. In case the annual leave is not taken, totally or partially, during the respective calendar year, the employer has to grant the leave, with the employee’s approval, within a period of 18 months starting with the following year.

Under the former regulations, in such a case, the employer had to grant the annual leave by the end of the following year.

Amendment regarding de jure termination of employment agreements

Another amendment refers to the termination of the employment agreement in case of retirement. The Amending Law provides thus that the employment agreement shall be terminated de jure (i) when the retirement decision is communicated, in case of 3rd degree disability retirement, and (ii) when the medical decision on work capacity is communicated, in case of 1st or 2nd degree disability.