Key amendments brought to the employment legislation on 16 November 2017:
Obligation to commence collective negotiations irrespective of the number of employees;
New rules regarding employee representation in the context of collective negotiations;
Temporary obligation: the collective negotiation obligations and the new rules regarding employee representation are only in force between 20 November 2017 and 20 December 2017.
This paper provides a brief overview of the temporary negotiation obligations employers have in the context of the fiscal changes (including the transfer of social contributions to the employees) which have been recently approved by way of Government Emergency Ordinance No. 79/2017 (OUG 79/2017).
These obligations are included in an emergency ordinance which the Romanian Government has passed and which was published in the Romanian Official Gazette on 16 November 2017.
1. COLLECTIVE NEGOTIATION OBLIGATIONS
The initiation of collective negotiations is mandatory if no collective labour agreements have been concluded at unit level. The negotiations must be performed with respect to the implementation of the provisions of OUG 79/2017.
The obligation to perform collective negotiations exists irrespective of the number of employees of the company. Previously, this requirement existed only if the unit had at least 21 employees.
For companies which have in place collective labour agreements, there is now an obligation to collectively negotiate an addendum to the collective labour agreement in order to implement the provisions of OUG 79/2017.
The failure of the employer to initiate collective negotiations can trigger an administrative fine between RON 5,000 and RON 10,000 and can also lead to a collective labour conflict (including a strike). The negotiations do not necessarily need to end with an agreement, but in the absence of an agreement, the employees can also start a collective labour conflict (including a strike).
2. NEW RULES REGARDING EMPLOYEE REPRESENTATION
For units where there are no representative trade unions affiliated to a federation which is representative for the respective business sector, the employees can be represented for the purpose of the collective negotiations by the representatives of the federation (based on the mandate granted by the trade union) together with the representatives of the employees.
If there is no trade union, the employees can be represented for the purpose of the collective negotiations by the representatives of the employees together with a representative of:
- a confederation which is representative at national level,
if invited by the representatives of the employees.
3. TEMPORARY OBLIGATION
The collective negotiation obligations provided above as well as the new rules regarding employee representation are in force for a limited period of time (between 20 November 2017 and 20 December 2017).
After this period expires, the previous rules regarding collective negotiations and employee representation will become applicable again.