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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure RO-2020-45/1433 – measures in Romania

Staggered work schedule for companies who can't apply telework

Programe decalate de lucru

Country Romania , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 06 November 2020 – 31 December 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Changes in work organisation
Author Raluca Dimitriu (European Institute of Romania)
Measure added 14 November 2020 (updated 02 December 2020)

Background information

Given the epidemiological situation determined by the spread of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the Government has adopted new measures to allow public authorities to step in efficiently and with adequate means to manage the crisis. Whenever remote work is not possible, the staggered work schedule is to be implemented, in order to limit congestion in public transportation. According to art. 21 of Law no. 55/2020 on some measures to prevent and combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, during the state of alert, employers with more than 50 employees organise the work schedule so that the staff is divided into groups that start, respectively end the activity with a gap of at least one hour. On large industrial platforms or in office buildings, the start of the professional activity at the same time is to be avoided.

Content of measure

While the delayed program was previously only a possibility, starting from November 2020 it is an obligation of the employer, who will have to ensure access of employees to the workplace at different times. The legislation provides for this obligation as an alternative to the employer's obligation to order remote working, whenever this is objectively possible. The employer has the obligation to send employees on telework, and the employees have the obligation to comply with this decision of the employer. No agreement of the parties is required, but a simple unilateral decision of the employer. Non-compliance with these duties is sanctioned with a fine between RON 1,000 and 5,000.The measure of delaying the work schedule is applied in companies which, by the nature of the activity, cannot use remote work.

The Labour Inspectorate has launched the National Campaign to verify the application of the legal provisions on work at home, telework, staggered work schedules, safety and health at work, in order to reduce the risk of contamination with COVID-19. The campaign took place between 10 and 24 November 2020, targeting employers with more than 50 employees.

Use of measure

Most companies with more than 50 employees have implemented this measure. For example, in the Clujana shoe factory, the work schedule has been modified to correspond to the new provisions. Most factory employees commute outside the city by minibus. They will start working at 6, 7 and 8 o'clock, respectively. The staggered program is implemented all the more as the work cannot be performed in telework.

At Ford Craiova plant the 3,600 employees work in three shifts, with long breaks between them. In Timiș County, a number of 622 employers – with over 50 employees – have already introduced staggered work schedules in application of these provisions. 250,000 employees work in Timiș County, of which about 10% currently use remote work or have a staggered work schedule

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Larger corporations
Other businesses
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level

Involvement

According to the Government, consultations were started with the social partners on the intention to implement a flexible work program in Romania and they were asked to come up with proposals on the application of the new measures (see explanatory note of the new legislative provisions). As far as remote work is concerned, according to a draft law , as a reaction to the employers' requests, the granting of the subsidy for teleworkers would be extended in the future. Within the Economic and Social Council, this legislative proposal was approved favorably by most employers 'and trade unions' organisations.

Views and reactions

The Labor Pact is an alliance of the most important employers' organisations. It consists of representatives of the National Confederation for Female Entrepreneurship, the Employers' Federation of Oil and Gas, the Concordia Employers' Confederation, the Romanian Industry Employers' Confederation, the National Council of Romanian Private SMEs, etc. According to a recent press release ”The health crisis puts us in front of an exceptional set of challenges that need to be addressed in the short term, but at the same time, we need to be concerned on medium and long term trends".

On the other hand, the imposition of a staggered work schedule or of remote working system, while the employer is obliged to ensure the equipment needed for employees to work remotely, sometimes creates a too onerous burden on employers. On the contrary, they should be able to choose how to organise the activity, while respecting social distance measures.

Sources

  • 06 November 2020: Law no. 55/2020 on some measures to prevent and combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemi (lege5.ro)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Staggered work schedule for companies who can't apply telework, measure RO-2020-45/1433 (measures in Romania), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/RO-2020-45_1433.html

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