Press Release: Legal Q&A in the pandemic context in Romania
Considering all the legislative changes that took place within the last month, there is a lot of uncertainty in place for all our clients when they are faced with making a new business decision. Speed is the most important asset when you make the right decision for your business.
However, it goes without saying that if there is no insight into the legal bewilderment, it is very easy for a seemingly good decision to have legal repercussions.
Therefore, our team centralized the questions received from our clients, precisely to help shaping the legal context to which one must adapt during this period.
Q: What are the legal options if an employee has a fever (symptom of COVID-19 infection)?
A: A viable solution is the medical leave based on the certificate issued by the family doctor.
Another solution would be the medical leave for quarantine. This type of leave involves the issuance of a document by the Public Health Department together with the medical certificate from the attending physician. The gross monthly amount of the quarantine allowance represents 75% of the income (it is applied to a salary base that represents the average of the gross monthly income for the last six months from the 12 months from which the contribution period is calculated) and is it fully supported by the budget of the National Fund of Social Health Insurance.
Q: What conditions must meet the employees in order to be entitled to paid days off during the temporary closure of educational establishments?
A: The employer may grant paid days off for one of the parents of children aged up to 12 years (or up to 18 years for children with disabilities), during the temporary closure of the educational units, under the following conditions:
1. The compensation paid by the employer should be 75 % of the salary, but no more than gross 4,071.75 lei / month.
2. The employer may recover the amounts paid to the employees from the Guarantee Fund for Payment of Employees, based on a procedure approved by Government decision.
Q: What is the status of the employees who benefits from paid days off for supervision of children during school holidays?
A: According to the Decision 217/2020 for the application of the provisions of Law 19/2020 regarding granting free days to parents for the supervision of children, it was established that the leave for supervision of the children during the suspension of the activity of the educational units is not granted during the school holidays.
However, on 03.04.2020, according to OUG 41/2020 some modifications were made to the Law 19/2020:
granting free days based on Law 19/2020 including during school holidays. The spring holiday began on April 4 and will end on April 21, 2020;
clarifications have been made regarding the notion of educational units, as the pre-school education units are included. According to art. 27 of Law 1/2011 of the national education, the pre-preschool education is organized in kindergartens and day centers.
Q: What are the conditions that businesses must meet for technical unemployment??
A: According to the amendments made to GEO no. 30/2020 (modified by GEO no. 32/2020), all the employers who reduce or interrupt their activity, totally or partially, as a result of the effects of the coronavirus epidemic, but only during the state of emergency, can receive the state aid for the payment of the employees in technical unemployment.
Employees will receive a compensation of 75% of the basic salary corresponding to the work place occupied, but not more than 75% of the average gross wage forecasted for 2020 - respectively 5,429 lei, according to Law no. 6/2020 of the state social insurance budget for 2020.
In order to grant the necessary amounts for the payment of the technical unemployment allowance, the employers are requested to submit to the agencies for the employment of the county, as well as of the Municipality of Bucharest, within which they have their registered office:
an official request/application, signed and dated by the legal representative;
a statement on your own responsibility;
the list of persons who will benefit from this allowance.
The employers are responsible for the accuracy and veracity of the aforementioned data;
Payment of the allowance will be made in the accounts opened by the employers at the commercial banks;
The documents are submitted in the current month for the payment of the next month's allowance;
Payment of the allowance is made within 15 days from the submission of the documents;
The employer is obliged that, after receiving the allowance, to make the payment to the employee within 3 working days;
The indemnity is subject to taxation and payment of compulsory social contributions according to the Fiscal Code;
No insurance contribution is due for the work, but the employees in the technical unemployment are automatically insured for medical leave, according to OUG no. 33/2020;
The employer is responsible for calculation, withholding and payment of taxes, pension contribution and health contribution (from the allowances collected from the unemployment insurance budget).
Q: What conditions one must meet, in order to benefit from deferred payment for specific services?
A: According to the Emergency Ordinance no. 29/2020 regarding some economic and fiscal measures: small and medium-sized companies, lawyers, notaries, court executives, dentists, family doctors can benefit from deferred payment for the following services:
Utilities - electricity;
Telephone and Internet services;
Rent payment for the buildings used as registered offices and secondary offices.
Q: As a PFA/ II/ IF what are the options, given that the activity has been stopped?
A: The Authorized Natural Persons (PFA), the Individual Enterprises (II) and the Family Enterprises (IF) that interrupt their activity due to SARS-CoV-2, during the state of emergency, can benefit of a monthly allowance of 75 % of the gross average wage, respectively 4,072 lei – gross, from the state budget.
In order to obtain the payment of the allowance, the persons mentioned above must submit the following documents:
2) Statement on your own responsibility;
3) Copy of the identification document.
The payment of the allowance will be made through the territorial agencies for payments and social inspection, in the bank accounts of the beneficiaries;
The application and the above documents will be sent to the territorial agencies by the 10th of the current month, for the payment of the next month's allowance;
The payment of the compensation provided will be made within 10 days from the submission of documents, for the period related to the state of emergency;
However, the amount will support taxation for contributions to pensions and health, as well as the 10% tax for income. The method of calculation, the declaration and payment of these tax returns will be established by Order of the Minister of Labor and Social Protection.
Q: What is the status of the applications for issuing the work permit for foreign citizens? Can new applications be submitted during this period?
A: The General Inspectorate for Immigration operates all the applications and issues the work permits formulated under OG 25/2014 regarding employment and deployment of foreigners in Romania.
Moreover, the validity of the documents issued by the General Inspectorate for Immigration to foreign citizens (e.g. residence permits, work permits, etc.) which may expire during this period, will remain valid until the date of cessation of the state of emergency.
Q: Does the Territorial Labor Inspectorate conduct investigations during this period?
A: According to the Presidential Decree no. 195/16 March 2020, during the state of emergency, the inspections of employers conducted by territorial labor inspectorates are suspended.
However, the controls ordered by the Minister of Labor and Social Protection, the ones ordered by the Labor Inspectorate for the implementation of the decisions of the National Committee for Special Emergency Situations, of certain acts with a high degree of social danger and for the investigation of accidents at work, will be conducted as usual.
Finally, we want to emphasize the importance of compliance with the legal provisions, as a guarantee of business continuity and maybe even further development in these times, when many businesses are failing.
At the end of the crisis, the difference between the companies who managed to survive and the ones who failed will be in the actions taken to handle the challenges brought by the current economical context.
Author: Catalina Nichita, Attorney at Law, Grecu și Asociații.
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