The Romanian Government has recently adopted Government Emergency Ordinance no. 147/2020 on granting days off for parents to supervise children, in case of limitation or suspension of teaching activities that involve the actual presence of children in schools and preschools, as a result of the spread of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, (hereinafter referred to as as „GEO 147/2020”).
Pursuant to GEO 147/2020, days off may be granted to one parent for the supervision of children, in the case of limitation or suspension of teaching activities involving actual presence of children in schools and preschools, grounded on the outcome of the epidemiological investigation performed by the county public health directorate, respectively of Bucharest municipality, and taking into account the decisions of the county committee for emergency situations, respectively to the Committee for Emergency Situations of Bucharest Municipality and determined by the spread of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
The expression “limiting or suspending teaching activities that involve the actual presence of children means reducing the frequency of children's participation in school classes and the use of technology and the Internet or other alternative ways of education.”
In this context, we present in the following a description of the conditions and procedure required to be followed by parents in order to benefit from this measure as well as the conditions and procedure to be followed by the employer for settlement of the related allowance.
1. Conditions that must be met for the applicability of the measure
With regard to the applicability of the measure, in order to be granted days off to supervise children, parents must cumulatively meet the following conditions:
· have children up to the age of 12 or children with disabilities up to the age of 26, enrolled in schools or pre-schools;
· the other parent does not benefit from days off.
Furthermore, GEO 147/2020 regulates certain cases where the measure is not applicable. Thus, days off may not be granted if one of the parents finds himself/herself in one or more of the following situations:
· is on parental leave;
· is the personal assistant of one of the dependent children;
· is on rest leave / unpaid leave;
· has their employment agreement suspended due to temporary interruption of the employer's activity (technical unemployment);
· does not obtain income from salaries and/or assimilated to salaries (e.g. income from independent activities, intellectual property rights, agricultural activities, forestry and fish farming, subject to income tax).
Likewise, it is necessary to mention that the measure is not applicable to employees in the national system and defence, public order and national security, employees in prisons and those employed in the public health system.
2. Procedure to be followed for implementation of the measure
In order to benefit from days off to supervise children in case of limitation or suspension of teaching activities that involve the actual presence of children in schools and preschools, employees apply to the employer accompanied by the following documents:
· an affidavit by the other parent stating that: (a) he/she did not request days off as per GEO 147/2020 (b) he/she does not have their employment agreement suspended due to temporary interruption of the activity - technical unemployment and that (c) he/she is not in one of the situations referred to at item 1 above;
· a copy of the child's birth certificate (s) or the document attesting the basis on which the parent requests days off, and, if applicable, a copy of the certificate of disability of a child or adult up to 26 years.
Standard drafts of the employer application and the affidavit by the other parent were established by Order 1375/2020 for approval of the models of the application and the affidavit provided at art. 2 para. (3) of GEO 147/2020.
Note: the employer is obliged to grant days off upon the employee’s request, any refusal of the employer being deemed a contravention.
3. The allowance
Employees are entitled to an allowance for each day off ( ”Allowance”).
The Allowance is to be paid by the employer and represents 75% of the basic salary corresponding to a working day, but not more than the daily correspondent of 75% of the average gross salary used for drafting the social security state budget fund. In this context, the maximum daily allowance is of approx. RON 190/each day off having considered the average gross salary used for drafting the social security state budget fund of RON 5,429 as established by Law no. 6/2020 on the social security state budget for 2020 (depending on the number of working days of each month).
The Allowance is a gross amount, with tax and social insurance, social health insurance contributions as well as the labour insurance contribution related to the Allowance all being borne by the employer.
4. Reimbursement of the Allowance related procedure
The Allowance is to be reimbursed by the state to the employer upon request submitted to county employment agencies/Bucharest municipality in whose territorial area the employer or its branch/workplace carries out its activity.
The employer’s application must be accompanied by the following supporting documents:
· list of employees who benefited from days off as well as the Allowance granted for this period;
· copies of the payroll and relevant time sheets evidencing that the Allowance was granted for each day off;
· an affidavit by the legal representative of the employer attesting that the list of employees who benefited from days off includes employees who meet the conditions as such is regulated by GEO 147/2020;
· evidence of payment of Allowance-related tax and social insurance contributions, social health insurance as well as the related work insurance contribution for each day off.
The application and documents accompanying the application templates are provided by law.
The application and supporting documents may be electronically submitted to county employment agencies, respectively to Bucharest municipality employment agency, within 30 days as of the date of payment by the employer of Allowance-related contributions and taxes, while reimbursement of the amounts paid as Allowance will be made within 15 calendar days from when the file is submitted by the employer to county employment agencies, respectively to Bucharest municipality employment agency.
On a separate note, having considered current applicable legislation, days off seem not to be granted to employees if educational activities are performed online upon the sole decision of schools/pre-schools in cases other than indicated above, i.e. in cases other than those decided following an epidemiological investigation performed by the county public health directorate or Bucharest municipality.
The bnt Gilescu Văleanu & Partners team can offer you legal assistance during the entire procedure of implementing the measure but also necessary support for drafting related documents, having being involved throughout the economic crisis caused by the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus in complex projects designed to support companies in managing the challenges generated by legislative changes, by the need to optimize labour costs and also by the need to adapt to the new economic context.