Provisions in the field of labor law in the context of the state of alert
In this issue:
Summary of the main legislative changes with impact in the field of labor law occurred in the context of the state of alert
• Order of the Minister of Economy, Energy and Business Environment no. 1731/2020 regarding measures for the prevention of the contamination with the new SARS CoV-2 coronavirus and to ensure safe economic activities during the state of alert (Order 1731/2020), published in the Official Gazette no. 406 of 16 May 2020 and in force from the day of its publication.
• Order of the Minister of Labor and Social Protection and of the Minister of Health no. 3577/2020 regarding the measures to prevent contamination with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and to ensure the carrying out of the activity at the working place in conditions of occupational safety and health, during the state of alert (Order 3577/2020), published in the Official Gazette no. 403 of 16 May 2020 and in force from the date of its publication.
• Law no. 55/2020 regarding some measures to prevent and combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic (Law 55/2020), published in the Official Gazette no. 396 of 15 May 2020, in force as of 18 May 2020.
• Government Decision no. 394/2020 on the instatement of the state of alert and the measures applied during it to prevent and combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic (Decision 394/2020), published in the Official Gazette no. 410 of 18 May 2020 and in force from the day of its publication.
• Law no. 59/2020 on the approval of the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 30/2020 for the amendment and completion of some normative acts, as well as for the establishment of some measures in the field of social protection in the context of the epidemiological situation determined by the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (Law 59/2020), published in the Official Gazette no. 416 of 19 May 2020, in force as of 22 May 2020.
The main provisions
Legal provisions that established the state of alert
For the three days it was in force, the Decision 24/2020 imposed the obligation to organize the activity, so that the work is carried out from the employees’ home, as well as a series of measures to be taken if the activity does not allow this type of work, such as: ensuring epidemiological triage, hand disinfection, compliance with the rules regarding common workspaces, and the delay of the work schedule for employers who have more than 50 employees.
The Decision 24/2020 was repealed by the Decision 394/2020, which no longer includes these provisions.
Law 55/2020 adopted, among others, measures regarding:
(i) the possibility of the employer to decide, with the employee’s consent, that the activity will be performed by way of teleworking or work from home, the change of the workplace or of the employee's tasks;
(ii) extending the validity of collective labor agreements during the state of alert and for a period of 90 days from its termination;
(iii) the possibility for employers with more than 50 employees to establish individualized work programs, without the employee's consent, in order to ensure between the employees an interval of one hour at the beginning and at end of the work program, within a period of 3 hours;
(iv) extending the effects of OUG 30/2020 for the amendment and completion of some normative acts, as well as for the establishment of some measures in the field of social protection in the context of the epidemiological situation determined by the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, by 31 December 2020 at the latest;
(v) extending the application of the provisions of Law no. 19/2020 on granting days off to parents for the supervision of children, in case of temporary closure of schools, until the end of the school year;
(vi) certain measures on the legal regime of public sector employees.
Subsequent legal provisions
Order 1731/2020 establishes a series of recommendations for employers and employees regarding the organization and conduct of the activity in offices with open spaces, including: the mandatory wearing of a mask, regular hand washing, conducting an observational triage of employees, daily thermometry and organization of work spaces so as to ensure the distance between employees.
According to Order 3577/2020, measures concerning the organization, arrangement and informing have to be taken by the employers to ensure that the activity at the workplace is carried out under safe conditions, including by: (i) identifying the risks of epidemiological contamination; (ii) informing the employees of the risks of infection and spread of the virus, as well as of the protection measures and rules for the management of situations where they have symptoms of coronavirus infection; (iii) organizing the workspace so as to maintain the physical distance between employees and (iv) restricting travel outside the workplace and circulating documents mainly by electronic means.
Special measures are also regulated in what concerns the situation when an employee is suspected / confirmed as being infected with SARS CoV-2 coronavirus.
The same normative act regulates certain obligations for employees in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, among which we mention the obligation to: (i) comply with all the instructions provided for in the prevention and protection plan and occupational safety and health instructions issued by the employer; (ii) wear protective masks; (iii) accept body temperature check; (iv) immediately notify the employer if they show symptoms of infection; (v) remain at home if they show symptoms of infection; (vi) disinfect the workspace and objects necessary for the activity, wash and disinfect their hands; (vii) use the indicated traffic lanes and avoid spending time in common areas; (viii) avoid communication through printed documents; (ix) frequently ventilate the enclosed space in which they operate.
As per Law 59/2020, by way of derogation from the Labor Code, employers may grant meal tickets to the employees whose employment agreements are suspended as a result of the establishment of the state of emergency, only in electronic form.