Romania: Legislative updates on social dialogue and labour law

Government Emergency Ordinance no. 42/2023 which amends and supplements Law no. 367/2022 on social dialogue and Law no. 53/2003 – Labour Code (“GEO no. 42/2023“) came into force on May 25, 2023. By way of this short article, we intend to briefly present the important amendments introduced by GEO no. 42/2023.

Thus, with regard to the Law no. 367/2022 on social dialogue (“Law no. 367/2022“), the following relevant amendments should be mentioned.

During the timeframe in which any person elected to the governing body is paid by the trade union organisation, the employment contract/    employment relationship is suspended, thus removing the limitation of situations of suspension of individual employment contracts/ employment relationships only to civil servants/special-status civil servants.

Any member of the trade union organisation may lodge a claim before a court of law requesting that the dissolution of the trade union organisation be registered in the special trade union register, and the said member no longer needs to fulfil the condition of having an interest when lodging the claim.

The trial deadline for appeals against first instance courts’ decisions on requests for legal personality of trade union federations/confederations is reduced to 30 days.

At the same time, it is expressly provided that in a collective bargaining sector, an employer may be represented by only one employer/employers’ federation/employers’ confederation.

The claims for legal personality of the employers’ organisation will be lodged with the district court or county court in whose jurisdiction the employers’ organisation has its headquarters, thus extending the material jurisdiction of the courts.

The obligation to convene and organise the first negotiating meeting, when the collective bargaining procedure is initiated, lies solely with the employer.

Specific clauses applicable to each category of small and medium-sized enterprises are included in all collective labour contracts concluded at collective bargaining sector or national level, and failure to comply with this obligation will result in the collective labour contracts not being registered.

It is also important to note that the nullity of a collective labour contract can only be established by the competent court as long as the collective labour contract is still in force.

In comparison to the previous version of the regulation, collective labour disputes can be initiated if the employer refuses to adhere to the collective labour contract/agreement at collective bargaining sector level, even without participating in the negotiations.

Another important change is that throughout the duration of participation in the strike, the individual labour contract or employment relationship is no longer automatically suspended and can only be suspended at the initiative of the employee.

With regard to sanctions, it is expressly regulated that the fine for unjustified refusal to register collective labour contracts is applied to each party refusing registration.

In furtherance, we would also like to address the amendmens brought by GEO no. 42/2023 to Law no. 53/2003 – Labour Code (“Labour Code“).

A first amendment concerns the fact that the lawmaker expressly provides that the period during which the employee is on carer’s leave is not included in the duration of annual leave and constitutes seniority in work and in the speciality.

If the employer has less than 10 employees, the obligation to initiate collective negociations at unit level is no longer applicable.

Lastly, the GEO no. 42/2023 expressly provides that the jurisdiction to settle, in first instance, claims relating to individual labour disputes and collective labour disputes belongs to county courts, with their decisions being subject only to appeal and the deadline for appealing said decisions being 10 days from the date on which the decisions were communicated to the parties.

We hope that the information contained in this brief article is useful to you, and for any further questions or clarifications on the amendments made by GEO no. 40/2023, the bnt attorneys in CEE team remains at your disposal.

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