Amendments and additions to employment legislation regarding the use of electronic signatures, telework activity and obligations of microenterprise employers
13 May 2021
Government Emergency Ordinance no. 36/2021 (“GEO no. 36/2021”) and Government Emergency Ordinance no. 37/2021 (“GEO no. 37/2021”), published in Official Gazette no. 474 of May 6, 2021, introduce significant legislative amendments and additions aiming to digitalize and increase flexibility in employment relations.
The new legal enactments include rules regarding the use of electronic signatures in employment relations, performing activity by telework, as well as eliminating certain obligations for employers qualifying as microenterprises.
GEO no. 36/2021 expressly regulates the possibility to use certain types of electronic signatures to conclude and issue documents in employment relations as well as in the field of health and safety at work.
- As regards employment relations/health and safety at work, it will be possible to use advanced electronic signature or qualified electronic signature, together with the electronic time stamp or qualified electronic time stamp and qualified electronic seal of the employer, within the meaning provided by EU Regulation no. 910/2014 (eIDAS Regulation).
- Employers and employees can choose to use the abovementioned electronic signatures when concluding individual employment contracts or addenda to the contract. Nevertheless, the parties must use the same type of signature, that is either by hand or electronic, whereas the employer cannot impose the use of electronic signature on persons selected for employment or employees.
- Additionally, the employer can choose to use electronic signatures mentioned above for issuing all documents used in employment relations, i.e. when concluding the individual employment contract, during the performance of the contract or in connection with the termination of employment.
- Furthermore, employment and health and safety documents signed electronically can be used by employers in relation with public authorities.
- Employers must indicate in the internal regulations or collective labour agreement the conditions for using electronic signatures to issue documents in employment relations and must inform the persons selected for employment and employees, before concluding or amending the individual employment contract, on the procedures for using electronic signatures.
- The new legal enactment introduces the possibility to have proof of health and safety training in electronic format, not just paper-based, depending on the option chosen by the employer and indicated in the internal regulations. When using the electronic format, the document proving the performance of health and safety training must also be signed with one of the types of electronic signature mentioned above.
Amended provisions on telework
In addition, GEO no. 36/2021 introduces important changes to Law no. 81/2021 on telework, as follows:
- the legal requirement to perform telework at least one day per month is eliminated;
- it is clarified that checking the employee’s activity during telework will be made mainly by using IT&C mean;
- it is no longer mandatory to indicate the place/places agreed by the parties for telework in the individual employment contract or in the addendum to the contract;
- as regards employee’s health and safety training for telework purposes, it is no longer mandatory for employers to provide information and work instructions specific to the telework place, but only on using electronic display devices. The obligation to perform health and safety training when changing the telework place is also eliminated;
- the new legal enactment introduces employees’ obligation to observe and ensure the confidentiality of information and documents used while teleworking.
Fewer obligations for microenterprise employers
GEO no. 37/2021 eliminates certain obligations regulated by the Labour Code for employers with up to 9 employees and annual net turnover or total assets of up to 2 million Euro, equivalent in Lei (microenterprises).
- Microenterprise employers no longer have the obligation to include the job description in the individual employment contract and may indicate the job responsibilities verbally to the persons selected for employment or to employees, before concluding or amending the employment contract. Nevertheless, if requested by the employee in writing, the employer must communicate the job description indicating the job responsibilities in writing.
- The new legal enactment introduces the possibility for microenterprise employers to agree with employees, in writing, the conditions for recording the work hours performed daily, depending on the specifics of the employees’ activity.
- In addition, it is no longer mandatory for microenterprise employers to have in place the internal regulation.