Government Emergency Ordinance no. 30/2020 (“GEO 30/2020“) came into force on 21 March and amends and supplements some existing enactments, and also establishes some new social protection measures in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic , including several measures to support employers and employees during this time.
1. An indemnity of 75% of the base salary paid to employees who are being sent home to be recoverable from the unemployment state budget
GEO 30/2020 states that, during the state of emergency, in cases of temporary suspension of an individual’s employment agreement (“IEA”) by the company as a result of the temporary interruption/reduction of activity for economic, technological, structural or similar reasons (i.e. reasons stated by Labour Code – Article. 52 para. (1)(c) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an indemnity for the employees of 75% of the base salary is recoverable from the unemployment insurance budget (the “Indemnity”), but not more than 75% of the gross average salary provided for in law and based on the social insurance budget.
What are the conditions required to receive the Indemnity?
The Indemnity can be recovered from the unemployment fund by two categories of employers:
1. employers who interrupt their business activity, fully or partially, based on decisions issued by the competent public authorities, during the state of emergency, and who hold a certificate of emergency situation (in Romanian: certificat pentru situatii de urgenta) issued by the Ministry of Economy.
2. employers who reduce their business activity as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and do not have the financial capacity to pay all the salaries of their employees. These may benefit from the payment of the Indemnity for up to 75% of the employees who have IEAs in force (i.e. not suspended) as at 21 March 2020, based on an affidavit stating the financial difficulties of the employer.
When will employers be paid the Indemnity
The documents can be submitted by employers (standard form, list of employees who benefit from the Indemnity) in the current month in respect of the Indemnity payment for the previous month. The payment from the unemployment insurance budget is to be made no later than 30 days after the documents are submitted.
How will employment agencies (AOFM) function during this emergency period?
During the state of emergency, the applications and supporting documents for the financial benefits which are to be paid from the unemployment insurance budget can be submitted to the employment agencies in hard copy or by email.
The employment agencies must make available at their premises, and on their own website, the necessary information regarding the emailing of applications and supporting documents.
2. What about employees?
No contributory stage required anymore for COVID-19 medical leave/quarantine
Insured individuals (employees, directors) are now entitled to leave and an indemnity for temporary work incapacity without the need to fulfil the minimum contributory stage condition, in cases of medical/surgical emergencies and infectious/contagious diseases (ie. COVID-19).
Also, in order to prevent illness, the same individuals are entitled to leave and an indemnity for any quarantine, without fulfilling the minimum contributory stage condition.
An exemption from GEO 158/2005 on leave and indemnities for social health insurance has also been introduced, whereby the medical certificates issued for the 91st day, or those issued for exceeding the 183 day, of medical leave within a calendar year may be issued during the state of emergency without the notice of the expert physician in social insurance.