The Romanian government enacted various requirements of the EU Directive through two different measures. The Government Emergency Ordinance No. 117/2022, which entered into effect on 29 August 2022, amended the Romanian law on paternity leave by increasing the duration of paternity leaves for male employees. Law 283/2022, which entered into effect on 22 October 2022, amended the Romanian Labour Code by introducing changes to carer’s leaves, family emergency leaves, and flexible work schedules.
The EU Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers, which entered into effect on 1 August 2019, focuses on promoting equality between men and women and addresses the underrepresentation of women in the labor market by establishing rights to paternity, parental and caregiver’s leave.
The most significant changes introduced by the new rules are the following.
On 22 October 2022, employer-paid paternity increased from five working days to 10 working days. Male employees who complete a child care training certificate are entitled to an additional five working days of paid paternity leave.
Paternity leave is provided to male employees who are working under an employment agreement, notwithstanding their civil or family status, the duration of their employment, their rank, and their participation in the public social insurance system.
The leave is granted based on a written request submitted to the employer. In addition, employers are now required to inform employees of their paternity leave rights.
The employee has the right to take an employer-paid carer’s leave for a maximum of five working days per calendar year to provide personal care or support to (a) a relative, i.e., mother, father, child, or spouse, or (b) a person who lives in the employee’s house and requires substantial care or support due to a serious medical condition. Forthcoming regulations will define what can be considered a serious medical condition.
The leave is granted based on a written request submitted to the employer.
Family emergency leave
The employee is entitled to a maximum of 10 employer-paid working days per calendar year to take care of urgent family matters associated with illnesses or accidents and require immediate leave of the employee. The employee must inform the employer in advance of such absence.
Flexible work schedule
Employees are now able to request individualized work schedules based on their personal needs. In the event of a refusal of such a request, the employer must communicate in writing the reasons for the refusal within five working days of receiving the request. Flexible working arrangements may be agreed on by the parties for a short or long period of time and may be through remote working, flexible schedule or part-time work.
The duration associated with the three types of leaves counts towards the calculation of the employee’s length of service, including for the purpose of accruing annual leave.
Employers are prohibited from dismissing employees during these leaves and may not retaliate with less favorable treatment because an employee availed themselves of one of these leaves.
Employers who do not comply with these rules risk administrative fines ranging from RON 4,000 and RON 8,000 (EUR 800 and EUR 1,600).
Employers should review the changes and ensure compliance by amending their HR internal policies and practices, employment agreements, company-level collective bargaining agreements, and family-related benefits and policies as needed. Employers are now required to inform employees about their internal rules and policies on their first day at work. Such information may be done electronically so long as the document(s) may be easily accessed, saved and printed by the employee.