April 2023 – Early 2023 is shedding light on how to implement the numerous changes to Romanian labour law that occurred during 2022. In addition, at the EU level, a new directive which is set to come into force provides for equal pay for women and men.
Collective bargaining in Romania at the sector level
On 29 March 2023, Romania’s Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity adopted Order no. 798/2023 regarding the procedure for the classification of business units to sectors in collective bargaining.
Law no. 367/2022 on social dialogue provides that collective bargaining agreements may also be negotiated at the sector level, and therefore it was necessary to adopt a subsequent procedure to determine the allocation of business units to sectors.
Thus, after having adopted Government Decision no. 171/2023 on the setting of collective bargaining sectors and their related NACE codes, this new order aims to regulate the procedure for the classification of business units to a particular sector of activity.
The procedure is relatively simple and is based on a request submitted by employers to Romania’s Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity (by registration or by e-mail).
The classification will be made on the basis of the NACE codes related to the sectors of activity of the business units as identified by the company’s memorandum or articles of association/statutes showing the NACE codes for the areas of its economic activity. In addition, several other documents must be attached to the application (e.g., a copy of the certificate of registration with the National Trade Register Office/tax registration certificate).
The employer's request will be published on the website of Romania’s Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity within five days of its proper receipt.
This new legislative development appears to lead to collective bargaining at the sector level and, consequently, to the adoption of sectoral collective labour agreements. To the extent that this happens, employers must also ensure that the minimum rights established at the sectoral level are implemented internally.
EU level - Directive on pay transparency measures
In March 2023, the European Parliament voted on pay transparency rules. Although the European Commission launched a proposal for this directive in March 2021, it was only in 2023 that the European Parliament and the European Council reached a political agreement on it.
The main changes introduced by the new Directive are as follows:
- employers will not be allowed to ask candidates about their salary history;
- employers will have to communicate the salary to candidates either before or during the job interview;
- employees will have the right to request information on their individual pay level, as well as on the average pay levels, broken down by sex, for categories of workers doing the same work or work of equal value;
- employers will have to publish information on pay differentials between female and male workers, depending on the number of employees;
- employers will have to carry out a pay assessment to the extent that there is a pay gap of more than 5% between women and men, if they cannot justify this gap by objective and neutral factors;
- EU Member States will impose fines on employers that fail to comply with equal pay rules;
- employees who are victims of gender pay discrimination will have the possibility to receive compensation or reparation.
After the formal approval of the EU co-legislator, this Directive will enter into force 20 days after publication in the Official Journal and, consequently, the EU Member States will need to transpose the new elements of the Directive into their national laws.
By Remus Codreanu, Partner, Catalin Roman, Senior Associates, and Gabriela Ion, Associate, Kinstellar