Improvement of Employment Capacity
Development of Business Initiative and Creation of New Jobs
Social Dialogue
Gender Equality


The Romanian government has taken another step in its efforts to address the European Union's concerns about the implementation of EU law, and to restate its commitment of adhesion to the European strategy in the field of employment and social policy. The recently adopted National Action Plan for Employment was named a priority in terms of alignment with EU social policy in the European Union's 2001 'state-of-play' report on Romania.

The plan, drafted with the assistance of experts from the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, provides a comprehensive overview of the state of Romania's workforce and related social concerns. It also sets out the objectives and measures anticipated by the government in the following main areas:

  • improvement of employment capacity;

  • development of business initiative and creation of new jobs;
  • social dialogue; and

  • gender equality.

Improvement of Employment Capacity

In an effort to reduce long-term and youth unemployment, the plan proposes certain targets and measures aimed at both the employee and the employer. In particular, the government intends to adopt:

  • programmes offering career counselling;

  • programmes designed to reform the education system based on market requirements and on encouraging continuing education; and

  • programmes monitoring unemployment, with particular emphasis on youth unemployment.

It also intends to grant financial aid to people moving to rural areas, undertaking a business of their own or willing to accept employment in another town.

The plan further provides for assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises to establish programmes of continuing education, designed to foster the professional development of their employees, and aims to promote education in the area of information technology at all levels (through public institutions, the education system, and special education programmes organized for the unemployed).

In recognition of the potential of the tourism industry as a source of employment, the plan provides fiscal incentives for companies operating in this field which offer continuing education to their employees. It also makes Ministry of Tourism financing available for certain education programmes in order to promote the qualification of personnel.

Development of Business Initiative and Creation of New Jobs

The government intends to address social concerns generated by unemployment and social exclusion by encouraging the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. This is to be achieved through the financing of these enterprises under the Law on Unemployment Benefits and Employment Creation (76/2002). The government promises to ensure increased access to bank financing, a reduced tax burden, and consulting services for persons interested in establishing or running such enterprises. It also promises to improve existing legislation, in particular by simplifying regulatory approval procedures and related formalities.

The overall emphasis on the role of tourism as a key source of employment is reflected here too. The plan envisages measures such as the privatization of tourism and the diversification of services in this field, as well as the abolition of licensing taxes for tourism companies.

Social Dialogue

The plan aims to engender a permanent dialogue between various entities with a view to modernizing the organization of labour in Romania. It describes the roles of institutions such as the Economic and Social Council, the National Agency for Employment and the National Council for Professional Development of Adults.

In addition, the 2002 national collective bargaining agreement includes new provisions for the protection of pregnant employees, including:

  • a choice between two years' leave for raising a newborn child and a flexible work schedule;

  • permission to undergo medical check-ups during working hours; and

  • after the fifth month of pregnancy, the right to refuse to work supplementary working hours or assignment to a different location.

A further objective stated by the plan is the improvement of labour legislation. In this regard, the only measures envisaged by the government are the adoption of the new labour code, the adoption of health and safety norms in line with EU legislation, and the application of existing labour legislation.

Gender Equality

Equal treatment for men and women is another area in which substantial work is needed to ensure compliance with EU legislation, despite the adoption of the National Action Plan on Equal Opportunities in December 2000. The government suggests that the key issue in this regard is the monitoring of compliance with existing legislation, rather than legislative compliance with EU law. To this end, the government is seeking to enhance awareness of national and European legislation on gender equality, and to monitor implementation of the relevant legislation with respect to equal access to employment, education and promotion. By 2004, the government also intends to establish the National Agency for Equal Opportunity.

Faced with an increase in female unemployment, and increasing disparities in the level of female participation in different sectors of the workforce, the government is also seeking to improve employment opportunities for women, establish education programmes and improve business opportunities for women in rural areas.

The plan also promotes the equal allocation of family responsibilities between men and women, especially as regards:

  • parenting;
  • the development of flexible work schedules (including the adoption of legislation on part-time employment);
  • daycare and related services;
  • professional integration after maternity; and
  • parental leave.


The plan is by no means a detailed blueprint mandating specific courses of action; instead, it is couched in general terms. The measures it describes are based almost exclusively on the existing legislative and regulatory framework, as the government believes that a consistent implementation of the current laws will serve best to achieve the plan's goals.

The plan is nonetheless important in view of the broad principles which it espouses - namely, EU norms with respect to employment and social policy. The plan should also be of interest to some foreign investors as it reveals the government's intention to adopt more laws to facilitate investment in small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as the tourism sector.

For further information on this topic please contact Obie Moore or Magdalena Raducanu or Victor Constantinescu at Salans by telephone (+40 21 312 4950) or by fax (+40 21 312 4951) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected]).