The Romanian Parliament adopted a draft law (Draft Law) that regulates the organization of an employee’s work when, on a regular and voluntary basis, the employee works at a different site other than the employer’s workplace. The Just Law has been promulgated by the Romanian President and will be published in the Official Gazette.
Under the Draft Law, teleworking is defined as an activity conducted from a distance, regularly, and voluntarily by using information and communication technologies and that allow employees to work at least one day per month in this manner.
The Draft Law establishes an obligation for employers and employees who agree that the employee will work remotely to conclude an employment agreement or to amend the existing employment agreements to include these specific provisions.
The current Romanian Labour Code already contains general provisions about activities performed from home by employees. The provisions of the Draft Law apply only to employees that perform their tasks using information and communication technology, e.g. employees working in the IT sector.
Although the Draft Law assumes that the concept of an employee “working from home” is a novelty, in fact, it’s a practice used for several years in Romania, especially by IT companies or in multinational companies. The Draft Law intends to fill a legislative vacuum that already exists in practice.
The Draft Law envisages a situation in which the employee performs work activities from places located outside the premises of the employer. When allowing this, the employee has a legal obligation to include in the new employment agreement or to amend the existing employment agreements to specify the rules that govern remote working namely:
- An express provision that the employee can perform teleworking activities;
- The duration and days in which the teleworker can work off-site as approved by the employer;
- The place or places where the teleworking activities will be performed;
- The schedule under which the employer has the right to verify the teleworker’s activities and the way in which the monitoring will be performed;
- The way of recording the workdays performed by the teleworker;
- The parties’ responsibilities for the place or places were the teleworking activities will be performed, including the responsibilities relating to health and safety;
- The employer’s obligation to ensure transportation to and from the workplace for any materials which the teleworker uses to perform their specific activities;
- The employer’s obligation to inform the employee about the internal regulations, collective bargaining agreement provisions or any other legal provisions regarding data protection and the employee’s obligation to comply with these provisions;
- The measures that the employer must take to ensure that the teleworker will not be isolated from the other employees and offering the teleworker the possibility to meet with colleagues on a regular basis; and
- The conditions under which the employer will bear the expenses related to the teleworking activities.
Please note that the employee’s refusal to work remotely cannot result in disciplinary sanctions, and overtime work can be performed only with the employee’s written consent.
If the employer does not comply with the provisions of the Draft Law, such as breaching any obligation to expressly regulate the performance of teleworking by concluding an employment agreement or an addendum in this respect or performance of teleworking activity without the parties’ mutual consent or without being provided by an individual labour agreement or by an addendum, the Draft Law provides fines of 2,000 Lei (roughly EUR 500) up to 10,000 Lei (roughly EUR 2,200) for each employee that does not a have a contract that complies with the provisions of the Draft Law.
Given the above, the employer’s obligations regarding the health and safety standards apply equally to all employees, including those teleworking. The employer has an obligation to ensure the safety and work protection of the remote worker and to prevent occupational hazards and ensure the organizational framework and the means necessary for work safety and health within the scope of the teleworking scheme.