European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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Labour market reforms - background summary

Individual labour relations have remained relatively stable. The last reform adopted in 2011 reflected a desire to make labour relations more flexible, without, however, making major legislative changes.

  • Most of the Romanian Labour Code provisions establish a mandatory framework of employee protection.
  • In 2016 the situation has been particularly quiet, notably due to the committee of independent experts appointed in November 2015, which has not adopted major reforms in this area. The few legislative changes made have mainly been to the benefit of employees.
  • The gross minimum wage increased in May 2016 to 1 250 lei, which is equivalent to around EUR 280 (compared to 1 050 lei in July 2015).
  • The permanent employment contract is the normal form of employment relationship, both by law and in practice. According to data published by the Ministry of Labour, in December 2015 staff records indicated that there were 5 591 864 permanent contracts (of which 4 641 738 full-time and 950 126 part-time), i.e. 91.76 % of the total number of employment contracts in force, and 501 782 fixed-term contracts (of which 362 156 full-time and 139 626 part-time), i.e. 8.24 % of the total number of 6 093 646 employment contracts in force.
  • Employment contracts must be concluded in writing and in Romanian between the employer and employee. They must contain mandatory essential clauses, particularly concerning the place of work, working time, duties of the employee, remuneration and its components, and risks in terms of the employee’s health and safety. Other clauses (which the Labour Code defines as optional or specific) may be included, such as non-competition, confidentiality, mobility and training commitment clauses.
  • Employment contract clauses cannot contain provisions that are contrary to or establish lesser rights than the minimum level laid down by the applicable law or collective agreements, otherwise the contrary clause will be invalid. The fundamental rights and obligations of the parties are laid down in the Labour Code.
  • The professional assessment of employees by their employer was introduced in 2011.
  • Use of fixed-term and part-time employment contracts, temporary employment and homeworking is strictly regulated by the Labour Code. The 2011 reform particularly focused on fixed-term employment contracts and temporary employment. The Labour Code lays down a list of reasons allowing use of fixed-term employment contracts, as well as a limit of three successive contracts concluded between the same parties. The total duration of these three contracts was increased to five years following the 2011 reform.
  • Temporary employment must always involve a specific and temporary task, but there is no longer a list of reasons allowing use of temporary employment. Following the 2011 reform, the Labour Code allows temporary workers to be hired on permanent contracts by the temporary employment agency.
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