On 28 February 2018 the Romanian Parliament adopted a new piece of legislation regulating the telework (the Telework Law) which is pending for promulgation by the Romanian President. The Telework Law will apply only after its promulgation and subsequent publication in the Official Gazette of Romania.
1. OBLIGATION TO INCLUDE TELEWORK PROVISIONS IN THE EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT
The Telework Law defines the telework as a form of organization of the work where the employee regularly (at least one day/month) and voluntarily exercises his/her duties in a different place than the one organized by the employer using communication and information technology.
The individual employment agreements of the employees performing telework must provide expressly this fact and must include certain specific clauses regulated by the Telework Law such as: (i) the period in which the employee works in a workplace organized by the employer; (ii) the place/places where telework is going to be performed; (iii) the timekeeping manner; (iv) the schedule for the employer’s inspection as well as the way the inspection is going to be performed; (v) responsibilities of the parties, including in relation to labour health and safety; (vi) the measures taken by the employer in order to avoid the isolation of the employee; (vii) the obligation of the employer to transport the materials used by the employee; (viii) the obligation of the employer to inform the employee in relation to data protection matters; and (ix) conditions in which the employer covers the costs related to the telework.
The individual employment agreements of the employees currently performing telework will have to be amended in order to reflect the requirements of the Telework Law.
Failure of the employer to include in the individual employment agreement or failure to amend the individual employment agreement to expressly provide for the telework is sanctioned with fines of up to RON 10,000/person (approximately 2,174/person).
2. OTHER OBLIGATIONS
Full time employees performing telework can do extra hours if such additional work is requested by the employer and accepted in writing by the teleworker. Failure to observe this legal provision can trigger the application of a fine of up to RON 5,000 (approximately EUR 1,087).
The Telework Law also establishes certain specific obligations of the employer and the employee in relation to labour health and safety matters. Failure to observe these specific obligations can trigger the application of fines of up to RON 2,000 (approximately EUR 435).
3. INSPECTION RIGHTS
Apart from the right of the employer to regularly check the activity of the employee, according to the Telework Law, the labour authorities, as well as the trade union/the representatives of the employees, have the right to verify the working conditions of the teleworker.
4.TELEWORK VS WORK FROM HOME
The Telework Law regulates an activity which, to a certain extent, is similar to the “work from home” activity currently regulated by the Romanian Labour Code. However, as opposed to “work from home”, the telework can be performed in any place agreed by the parties (and not only at the domicile of the employee) and is only applicable in those domains where the work can be performed through communication and information technology.