New amendments to the Labour Code (Law no. 53/2003) have come into force, including an optional conciliation procedure for individual labour disputes.
We have set out below the key amendments introduced by the new legal provisions.
I. External consultant specialising in labour law
The employer and the employees can both be assisted by an external consultant specialising in labour law or by a representative of the trade union of which they are a member during: (i) the negotiation, conclusion or amendment of an individual employment agreement; or during (ii) an individual labour dispute conciliation hearing.
Note: The external consultant can be a lawyer, an expert in labour law or a mediator specialising in labour law.
The parties may also sign a confidentiality agreement regarding a) the information provided prior to the conclusion of the individual employment contract, b) the execution of the employment agreement or c) the conciliation procedure.
II. Conciliation procedure
The parties can agree within the employment agreement (or by way of an addendum to the employment agreement) on a special clause by which the parties provide that any individual labour conflict is to be settled amicably through the conciliation procedure with the involvement of an external consultant specialising in labour law, in a neutral, impartial and confidential manner. The payment of the external consultant’s fees is agreed by the parties.
Any procedural terms regarding the challenging of the individual labour dispute are suspended during the conciliation procedure.
However, the parties may waive conciliation if no solution is reached that reconciles the interests of both parties, in which case they may apply to the competent court for the full settlement of the dispute.
III. Disciplinary investigation
The new legal provisions now expressly provide that the employer may appoint a person – an external consultant specialising in labour law – or establish a commission to conduct a disciplinary investigation.
In order to carry out the preliminary disciplinary investigation, the employee will be summoned in writing by the chairman of the commission or by the external consultant, specifying the subject, date, time and place of the meeting. The employee is expressly entitled to be assisted by an external consultant specialising in labour law.
IV. Organisation of human resources and payroll activity
The employer has the right to organise its human resources and payroll activities by:
- carrying out the specific activities in-house;
- appointing one or more employees with specific human resources and payroll responsibilities in their job descriptions;
- contracting external service providers specialising in human resources and payroll, coordinated by an expert in labour law.
By Mircea-Catalin Roman, Senior Associate, and Flavia Denisa Margas, Associate, Noerr