Romania


Authors:

Alexandra Ologu, Partner Monolit Legal & Tax
Contact: E-Mail alexandra.ologu@monolit.ro (LinkedIn Profile)

Laura Dorneanu, Associate Monolit Legal & Tax
Contact: E-Mail laura.dorneanu@monolit.ro (LinkedIn Profile)

Overview of legal measures as of 7 May 2020, 00:00 CET due to the Coronavirus.

Please note: Due to the extraordinary situation, the legislation is in continuous evolution and may change very fast.

Introduction

Romania is a sovereign, independent, unitary, indivisible national state, whose form of government is that of a Parliamentary Republic with a semi-presidential regime.

Romania is comprised of 41 Counties and the Municipality of Bucharest (the Capital of the country).

1. INTERVENTIONS AND RESTRICTIONS

1.1 Legal Basis

Romania has not adopted one general law regarding COVID-19. However, the emergency state has been enacted on 16 March 2020 through the Presidential Decree no. 195/2020. On 14 April 2020, the state of emergency has been prolonged through the Presidential Decree no. 240/2020 up until 15 May 2020.

Through the Presidential Decrees no. 195/2020 and no. 240/2020 the following rights have been limited or affected:

a) free movement;

b) the right to intimate, family and private life;

c) inviolability of the domicile;

d) the right to education;

e) freedom of assembly;

f) the right to strike;

g) the right of private property;

h) economic freedom.

Also, up until 7 May 2020, the Minister of Internal Affairs has adopted a number of 10 Military Ordinances which foresee the measures that shall be applicable in Romania during the emergency state, as presented below.

1.2 Border

All the flights from and to Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, USA, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Turkey and Iran are suspended up until May 2020.

The suspension is not applicable to flights performed with state aircrafts, commodities and correspondence transport flights, as well as humanitarian or medical emergencies’ flights.

Throughout the state of emergency, international passenger transport services are suspended for all journeys from and to Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Turkey.

As per Military Ordinance no. 7 from 4 April 2020

Entry into Romania is refused to foreign citizens and stateless persons, except for the situations when they are merely entering the territory of Romania for the purpose of transit with the intention and permission of continuing the journey directly to another country.

However, the border may be crossed by foreign citizens and stateless persons in the following situations:

  • they are family members of Romanian citizens;

  • they are family member of citizens of other member states of the EU, EEA or of the Swiss Confederation, if these citizens have their residency in Romania;

  • they have a long-stay visa, a residence permit or a similar document issued by the Romanian authorities;

  • they are travelling for professional purposes;

  • they are part of the diplomatic, consular, or military personnel, etc.

  • they are passengers in transit, including those repatriated as a result of the granting of consular protection;

  • they are traveling for imperative reasons (medical or family);

  • they are persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons.

As per Military Ordinance no. 2 from 21 March 2020

1.3 Visas

The activities of examining the request for issuing travel documents, residence permits, family reunification requests or requests for other forms of international protections have been suspended throughout the state of emergency.

The documents issued by the public authorities that shall expire during the state of emergency shall maintain their availability and they shall be changed within 90 days from the termination date of the state of emergency.

As per Military Ordinance no. 3 from 24 March 2020

1.4 Export Control

The transport of medical devices and other sanitary materials meant to ensure the prevention and treatment of diseases associated to COVID-19, as well as of specific medicines, in order to be distributed outside the territory of Romania, is prohibited.

For the transport of assemblies and subassemblies of medical equipment which is manufactured in Romania for external beneficiaries the provisions mentioned above is not applicable.

As per Military Ordinance no. 1 from 17 March 2020

Though initially the export of products such as wheat, barley, oats, corn, rice has been prohibited, up to this date these provisions have been repealed.

As per Military Ordinance no. 9 from 16 April 2020

1.5 Prohibition of Crowds

The movement of persons outside household shall be carried out only if the general measures for preventing the spread of the virus are complied, meaning that the formation of any group of people shall be avoided. Therefore, crowds of more than 3 persons who do not live together is forbidden. This prohibition is applicable only for pedestrian traffic.

As per Military Ordinance no. 2 from 21 March 2020

1.6 Lockdown

Towns under Complete Lockdown

Up to this date, only two towns (and some villages outside of them) in Romania have been put on lockdown. In these areas the access is allowed only for commodities’ transport and for persons who carry out specific activities.

As per Military Ordinance no. 6 from 30 March 2020 and Military Ordinance no. 7 from 4 April 2020

Movement Restrictions for the Citizens

The persons who are self-isolated at home, mandatorily quarantined or hospitalized are prohibited to leave the premises of that place without the approval of the competent authorities.

As per Ordinance no. 1 from 17 March 2020

The persons who are isolated at home as a safety measure for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and leave those premises are considered to be persons with a high risk of infectiousness and shall be placed under institutionalized quarantine.

As per Military Ordinance no. 2 from 21 March 2020

Movement of all persons outside their household is allowed only between 6 AM-10 PM and only for the following reasons:

  • travel for professional interest, including between their household and the place(s) where they conduct their activity and back;

  • travel for the purpose of acquiring goods that cover the basic needs of persons and pets, as well as goods necessary for their professional activity;

  • travel for medical assistance that cannot be delayed or carried out remotely;

  • travel for justified reasons, such as caring for / accompanying children, assistance of the elderly, sick or disabled or death of a family member;

  • short trips, close to their house / household, related to the individual physical activity (excluding any team sporting activities) and the needs of pets;

  • travel for the purpose of donating blood, at the blood transfusion centers;

  • travel for volunteering or humanitarian purposes;

  • travel for the performance of agricultural activities;

  • travel of agricultural providers for the commercialization of agri-food products.

The public authorities shall verify the certificates issued by the employer or the affidavits.

Starting from 25 March 2020, all the persons entering Romania from the red zones (Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Spain, USA, Turkey) shall be mandatorily quarantined.

The persons entering Romania from the yellow zones shall be mandatorily isolated at home.

As per Military Ordinance no. 3 from 24 March 2020

The measures regarding self-isolation at home and mandatory quarantine are not applicable to the cross-border workers which return from Hungary and Bulgaria through specific frontier points.

As per Military Ordinance no. 9 from 16 April 2020

Schools and Universities

Throughout the state of emergency, classes from all school units such as schools, universities and other education and training institutions are suspended.

As per Presidential Decree no. 195 from 16 March 2020

Public Institutions and Authorities

Throughout the state of emergency, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the central and local public authorities shall carry out their activity reducing as much as possible the direct contact between persons, by using electronic means of communication.

These measures are applicable also to the governing bodies of professions such as lawyers, public notaries, bailiffs, etc.

Also, the legal terms for public information requests or petitions shall double.

As per Presidential Decree no. 195 from 16 March 2020

Events

Organizing and carrying out any event which may involve more than 100 people is forbidden. The organizers of the events which involve the participation of maximum 100 people have to take measures in order to ensure a distance of at least one meter between the participants.

As per Military Ordinance no. 1 from 17 March 2020

1.7 Open Businesses, Industries and Allowed Gatherings

The activity of serving and consuming food and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages organized by restaurants, hotels, cafes or other public places of this type has been suspended.

However, the activity of the providers mentioned above is allowed as long as it does not involve who are customers staying in the premises of the location, such as drive-in, room-service or customer delivery services.

Also, all the cultural, scientific, artistic, religious, sporting, entertainment or gambling activities, spa treatments and personal care which are performed indoors have been suspended during the state of emergency.

Religious services shall be conducted by the clerics without public access and that could be broadcasted online or in the media.

As per Military Ordinance no. 1 from 17 March 2020

The activity of the dental offices has been temporarily suspended and only emergency dental interventions are allowed.

The retail sale of products and services in shopping centers has also been suspended, except for the sale of food, veterinary or pharmaceutical products and cleaning services.

This type of suspension is not applicable for the providers who ensure the delivery of the products and for the sale of medical optics products and services.

As per Military Ordinance no. 2 from 21 March 2020

The farmers’ markets and the phytopharmaceutical units remain open throughout the state of emergency.

In this respect, farmers shall present the certificate of agricultural producer and shall comply with the general measures taken in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The termination or suspension of the activity of residential care centers for elderly, children or adults with/without disabilities, as well as for other vulnerable categories is forbidden during the state of emergency.

The access of family members, legal representatives of the beneficiaries of such centers is also forbidden.

As per Military Ordinance no. 8 from 9 April 2020

1.8 Shareholder's Meetings and Trade Registry Operations

Financial Statements

While no legislation had been passed yet to regulate the organization of shareholder's meetings (with one exemption mentioned below) during the state of emergency and companies have followed the provisions from their constitutive acts with respect to meetings held at distance, the Government has however decided through the Emergency Ordinance no. 48/2020 to postpone the submission of some financial documents that should have been approved through shareholders decisions.

Namely the financial statements for 2019 may be submitted until July 31, 2020 by derogation from the previous rule according to which they should have been submitted within 150 days from the end of the financial year. Also, the deadline for submitting annual accounting reports is extended until July 31, 2020.

To the above there is an exemption, for those companies that are supervised by the Authority for Financial Supervision, that has passed Regulation no. 5/2020 regarding the issuers of financial instruments and market operations, that during the state of emergency have the following recommendations:

  • to send all documents: minutes, agenda for the shareholders meetings, request for supplementation of the agenda, POAs etc. via email

  • to provide the shareholders the possibility to vote through correspondence (preferably via email)

It is to be mentioned that in addition to the above that only regards companies whose activity is regulated by Law no. 24/2017, there is a pending piece of legislation regulating the possibility for the companies that do not foresee in their constitutive acts shareholders meetings held by means of distance communication, to be able to use such measures during the state of emergency. Once the law shall be passed we shall update this section accordingly.

Trade Registry Activity

With respect to the activity of the trade registry, through Presidential Decree no. 195/2020, the personal interaction with the public has been suspended throughout the duration of the state of emergency. Consequently, the interested parties could submit documents either electronically or by sending them through postal services.

According to the instructions issued by the trade registry, by exemption from the legal provisions according to which the own liability statements must be submitted to the trade registry notarized or certified by a lawyer, during the state of emergency they can be submitted either with a plain signature or having an electronic signature attached. The same is applicable to the signature specimens that are to be submitted by the administrators/directors.

Also, in accordance with the provisions of Government Emergency Ordinance no. 29/2020 the term for submitting the declaration regarding the real beneficiary, foreseen in the legislation for preventing and combating money laundering and terrorist financing, is extended by 3 months from the date

1.9 Medical Services

Any transportation of medical devices or sanitary materials meant to ensure the prevention and treatment of the medical conditions associated with COVID -19, as well as the medicine provided in the National Catalog of medicine prices authorized for market purposes in Romania (i.e., CaNaMed), for the purpose of being distributed outside Romania, is prohibited.

An exemption is granted to ensembles and spare parts of medical equipment produced for external beneficiaries. Other such exemptions shall be granted by Order of the Health Minister.

As per Military Ordinance no. 1 from 17 March 2020

During the state of emergency, the registration of some medical devices are exempted from registration in the national data base to the extent they are related to the prevention and treatment of conditions appeared in the context of state of emergency.

These devices shall enter the market based on the manufacturer/ authorized representative’s statement of conformity.

As per Minister of Health Order no. 537 from 31 March 2020

Starting with 24 March 2020, for a period of 14 days, hospitalization for surgical interventions and other treatments and medical investigations which do not have an urgent nature and may be rescheduled, as well as the scheduled consultations/ scheduled consultations in outpatient care are suspended.

As per Order nor. 74527/2020 issued by the Emergency Situations’ Department

1.10 Health Care

Through Presidential Decree no. 195/2020 and subsequently through Presidential Decree no. 240/2020 the activity of public hospitals has been limited to hospitalization and solving urgent cases, specifically:

  • first - order emergencies - patients admitted through emergency units / emergency departments who may lose their lives within 24 hours;

  • second order emergencies - patients to be treated in the same hospitalization (once diagnosed they cannot be discharged);

  • patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus or diagnosed with COVID-19.

1.11 Persons with a Higher Risk

Principle

Particularly vulnerable people are the persons over 65 years of age and they have to comply with specific restrictions imposed by the ordinances that have been adopted.

The local public administration authorities have the obligation to identify and keep records of persons over 65 years that have no supporters or other form of assistance. The records are updated and reported weekly to the county / Bucharest coordination center.

As per Military Ordinance no. 2 from 21 March 2020

Movement outside household of the persons who have reached the age of 65 is allowed only between 7-11 AM and 19-22 PM only for specific reasons and they shall prove the reasons by an affidavit. Movement outside this time range is allowed only if it is done for professional interests or for carrying out agricultural activities.

The specific reasons for which people over 65 years old may travel are the following:

  • travel for the purpose of acquiring goods that cover the basic needs of persons and pets / domestic animals;

  • travel for justified reasons, such as caring for / accompanying children, assistance of the elderly, sick or disabled or death of a family member;

  • short trips, close to their house / household, related to the individual physical activity (with the exclusion of any team sporting activities) and the needs of pets / domestic animals.

Movement outside household of the persons who have reached the age of 65 outside the timeframe indicated above is allowed for medical reasons such as planned oncological treatments, travel in the professional interest, or for agricultural activities.

As per Military Ordinance no. 10 from 27 April 2020

Obligation of Employers

Starting from 31 March 2020, employers shall enact preventive isolation measures for the staff that occupy functions essential for ensuring the functioning of the electrical and natural gas services, maintenance activities for specific areas.


1.12 Sanctions

For anyone disrespecting the measures taken through the Military Ordinances a fine shall be imposed.

Following to the enter into force of the GEO no. 34 from 26 March 2020 modifying GEO no. 1 from 21 January 1999,the fines applicable for disrespecting the measures taken by the public authorities during the state of emergency are from approximately 400 up to 4,000 EUR for individual persons and from approximately 2,000 up to 14,000 EUR for legal persons.

Also, depending of the nature and the severity of the act, one or two other measures may also be taken. The series of measures that could be taken are the following:

  • confiscation of the goods used or resulting from the contravention;

  • prohibition of access by applying the seal by the competent bodies;

  • temporary suspension of the activity;

  • abolition of some works;

  • of some arrangements.

2. FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF BUSINESSES

2.1 Legal Basis

Depending on the types of facilities provided to the companies we have the following types of legislation:

Fiscal facilities

  • Government Emergency Ordinance no. 29/2020 on some economic and fiscal measures

  • Government Emergency Ordinance no. 33/2020 regarding certain tax measures and the amendment of certain normative acts

  • Government Emergency Ordinance no. 48/2020 concerning certain financial & tax measures


State aid and other financial support given to the companies

  • Government Emergency Ordinance no.42/2020, which amends and completes GEO 110/2017 on the Program for supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (IMM INVEST ROMANIA) and approves the State aid scheme for supporting the activity of SME’s in the context of the economic crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Government Decision no. 282/2020 establishing the applicable norms for the support program for SMEs - IMM INVEST ROMANIA


Support in connection to the employees

  • Presidential Decree no. 195/2020

  • Government Emergency Ordinance no.30/2020 for amending and supplementing certain normative acts, as well as for establishing measures in the field of social protection in the context of the epidemiological situation caused by the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus


Postponement of payments

  • Presidential Decree no. 195/2020

  • Government Emergency Ordinance no.29/2020 on some economic and fiscal measures

  • Government Emergency Ordinance no.30/2020 for amending and supplementing certain normative acts, as well as for establishing measures in the field of social protection in the context of the epidemiological situation caused by the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus

  • Order no. 791/2020 concerning the granting of the state of emergency certificates to the economic operators whose activities were affected by the SARS-COV-2 pandemic

  • Government Emergency Ordinance no. 37/2020 on the granting of facilities for loans granted by credit institutions and non-bank financial institutions to certain categories of debtors

  • Government Decision no. 270/2020 for the approval of the Norms for the application of the provisions of the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 37/2020 on the granting of facilities for loans granted by credit institutions and non-bank financial institutions to certain categories of debtors

  • Government Decision no. 312/2020 for the approval of the criteria for establishing the beneficiaries provided in art. X alin. (10) of the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 29/2020 on some economic and fiscal-budgetary measures

2.2 Fiscal Measures

Facilities foreseen in Government Emergency Ordinance no. 29/2020

  • the due tax obligations starting with 21.03.2020 do not have the regime of some outstanding fiscal obligations, so that, during the state of emergency (including during an additional term of 30 days from the date of cessation of the state of emergency) their non-payment does not attract the application interest and late payment penalties.

  • Procedures for their enforcement cannot even be initiated for these obligations, as they are not considered outstanding obligations.

  • The forced execution of State receivables shall not start or shall be suspended for the initiated ones

Facilities foreseen in Government Emergency Ordinance no. 33/2020

  • Bonus for profit tax payment

Taxpayers paying profit tax which pay the tax due for the first quarter of 2020, respectively for the advance payment for the same quarter, until the due date of April 25, 2020 inclusive, benefit from a bonus calculated on the tax on profit due as follows:

a) 5% for large taxpayers;

b) 10% for the medium taxpayers;

c) 10% for the other taxpayers who do not fall in the previous two categories above;

For the payment of the micro-enterprise income tax for the first quarter of 2020, until April 25, 2020 inclusive, the taxpayers benefit from a 10% bonus calculated on the tax due for that quarter.

  • VAT

During the period for which established the state of emergency and within the next 30 calendar days from the date of cessation of the state of emergency, the companies that import medicines, protective equipment and machines for the production of protective masks, other medical devices and equipment and sanitary materials, which can be used in the prevention, limitation, treatment and control of COVID-19, shall make no effective payment of VAT to the customs bodies. These companies will register the related VAT through the reverse charge mechanism, the right of deduction being exercised according to the general rules provided by law.


Facilities foreseen in Government Emergency Ordinance no. 48/2020

  • VAT

The value added tax requested for reimbursement through the returns with negative amount, submitted within the legal term, is reimbursed by the tax authority prior to the fiscal inspection, that shall be performed subsequently should the risk analysis lead to such a measure.

There above is not applicable in the case of:

a) the tax returns for which the tax inspection has already started;

b) big and medium taxpayers that have committed facts that are recorded in their tax record;

c) tax payers for which the central fiscal body, based on the information held, finds that there is a risk of undue reimbursement;

d) taxpayers from whom the voluntary liquidation procedure was initiated or the insolvency procedure was opened, except for those for which a reorganization plan was confirmed, under the conditions of the special law;

  • Tax procedure

During the period of state of emergency and 30 days after its cessation, no interest and penalties are calculated and not due for the late payment of the installments from the unpaid rescheduling of taxes.

Forced execution for state receivables shall not be started or if started shall be suspended, with the exemption of the state receivables due based on court decisions rendered in criminal proceedings.

The statute of limitations for the right of the tax authority to establish tax claims and to request enforcement, as well as that of the taxpayer / payer to request the refund of tax claims, are suspended or do not begin to run until fulfillment of the term of 30 days from the date of cessation of the state of emergency.


Other measures

The National Administration Tax Authority has included the possibility throughout the state or emergency of the tax payers to request a hearing within the administrative proceedings aimed at challenging a tax decision to take place through electronic means of communications. The press release is available here.

Also all the tax inspections (except the ones that cam be performed at distance) have been suspended and no new tax inspections shall be initiated during the state of emergency.

2.3 Financial Aid for Businesses

Modification of the IMM INVEST ROMANIA

Through Government Emergency Ordinance no. 42/2020 (GEO 42/2020), IMM INVEST ROMANIA financing program has been amended and currently the state provides SMEs with access to bank loans under preferential terms to ensure continuation of business and payment of employed personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic. The maximum cumulative value of the state guaranteed financing that can be granted to a beneficiary under this program cannot exceed 10,000,000 LEI. The European Commission approved the scheme on April 13, 2020.

Under this scheme the maximum threshold of the loans differ on the type of company, respectively:

1. In the case of the medium enterprises: The guarantees for the financing of investments or working capital, excluding interest, commissions and fees, up to 80% of the principal, that for the working capital loans shall not exceed RON 5 million and for the investment loans shall not exceed RON 10 million.

2. In the case of the micro and small enterprises: The guarantees for the financing of working capital, excluding interest, commissions and fees, up to 90% of the principal, that shall not exceed RON 500,000 for micro-enterprises and RON 1 million for small enterprises.

For all these of facilities, the financing thresholds as indicated above does law provide absolute maximum thresholds, the financing limits for each beneficiary being the highest value of:

  • The double amount of the salary expenses (including the compulsory social contributions due by the employer which are related to the income from the salaries and those assimilated to the salaries) registered at the level of 2019.

NOTE: For the companies which were incorporated after January 1, 2019, the maximum amount of the loan may not exceed the estimated amount for the first 2 years of activity;

  • 25% of the net turnover for the year 2019, respectively the gross income / annual income norm in the case of individuals who obtain income from independent activities;

  • A value which shall result from its liquidity needs, under the condition that the beneficiary presents supporting documents, in which case the amount of the loan cannot exceed the liquidity needs from the moment of granting up until the next 18 months;

Loan tenors cannot exceed 72 months; but working capital loans are initially provided for 36 months, with the possibility of extending the maturity date by another 36 months.

GEO 42/2020 also modifies the cumulative conditions that beneficiaries must meet in order to benefit from these funding, namely:

1. they should not unroll activities under the following NACE CODES: 920, 110 (except 1107), 1200, 2540, 2051, 4635, 4726, 801, 802, 803

2. they were not in difficulty on 31 December 2019 within the meaning of Regulation (EU) no. 651/2014, but they were faced with or experienced difficulties later, due to the COVID-19 pandemic;

3. they are not involved in a legal dispute, as defendant, versus the Ministry of Public Finance or the credit institution granting the financing;

4. they are not listed with overdue payments on loans in the last six months prior to 31 December 2019 or, if they are, these are classified under the A-C categories in the database of C.R.C (Credit Risk Centre); this also covers lease financing;

5. they are not prohibited from issuing checks on December 31, 2019 and to not appear with major incidents regarding promissory notes in the last 6 months prior to December 31, 2019 in the Payments Incident Database database;

6. no insolvency proceedings have been initiated against them;

7. they produce the required collateral to the credit institution;

8. they have no overdue tax liabilities toward the central budget or, if they do have them, they undertake to pay them from the loan granted under the program;

9. they submit a written document committing not to lay off the existing staff from the date of entry into force of the emergency ordinance until December 31, 2020. The company can organize the work program of the employees according to the evolution of its current activity.

2.4 Employees Support

During the state of emergency, the employer has the possibility to opt for technical unemployment for all or some of its employees.

There are two types of technical unemployment:

1. technical unemployment, as foreseen by the Labor Code and

2. technical unemployment granted as a result of the measures adopted in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 epidemic, as regulated by GEO 30/2020, with the subsequent modifications and amendments.

During the state of emergency, for the period of the temporary suspension of the individual labour contract, as a result of the effects produced by COVID-19, the allowances that the employees shall receive are set at 75% of the basic salary corresponding to job occupied. The allowance shall be paid from the unemployment insurance budget but it shall not exceed 75% of the average gross wage, meaning 4,072 LEI (approximately 850 EUR). These allowances continue to remain subject to taxation and payment of the compulsory social contributions, according to the provisions of the Fiscal Code. In this case, the calculation, withholding and payment of the income tax, the state social insurance contribution and the social health insurance contribution shall be made by the employer from the benefits received from the unemployment insurance budget.

The provisions of GEO 30/2020 are in favor of all the employees whose employers have temporarily reduced or interrupted their activity (totally or partially) as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic, during the state of emergency declared.

Thus, although initially there were some conditions required to be fulfilled, such as the company’s revenues in March 2020 to be with 25% lower than the average ones from January-February combined, and not having the financial capacity to pay all the employees, through the modifications brought by GEO 32 / 2020 these conditions have been waived.

Also, the provisions are applicable in the case of: other professionals, as defined by the Civil Code; persons who have concluded individual labor agreements according to Law no. 1/2005 regarding the organization and functioning of the cooperation; natural persons who obtain income solely from copyright and related rights, as regulated by Law no. 8/1996 on copyright and related rights

Through the changes brought by GEO 32/2020 to the procedure for granting the technical unemployment allowance, the obligation to obtain an emergency situation certificate has been waived. Thus, the employers who have totally or partially interrupted their activity due to the decisions of the public authorities, can now benefit from technical unemployment only on the basis of an affidavit from their legal representative.

Employers shall submit, by electronic mail, to the agencies for county employment, as well as to the agency for the municipality of Bucharest (”AJOFM”), within the radius of where they have their registered office, the following documents:

  • application signed by the legal representative;

  • affidavit from the legal representative;

  • the list of the persons who shall benefit from this allowance, accepted by the legal representative;

These documents shall be submitted in the current month for the payment of the previous month's allowances. Therefore, on May 1 2020, the employers will submit the documents related to the payment of the due allowances for the period between April 1 2020 and April 30 2020.

2.5 Other Measures

Presidential decree no. 195/2020 provides that:

  • During the state of emergency, the territorial inspections of employers are suspended by the territorial labor inspectorates, except for the controls ordered by the Minister of Labor and Social Protection, of those ordered by the Labor Inspectorate for the implementation of the decisions of the National Committee for Special Emergency Situations, of those necessary to comply with the notifications claiming the commission of acts with a high degree of social danger and for the investigation of work accidents.

  • During the state of emergency, the declaration, initiation or development of collective labor disputes in the units of the national energy system, in the operative units of the nuclear sectors, in the units with continuous fire, in the sanitary and social assistance units, of telecommunications, of the radio and public television, railway transport, public transport units and sanitation, as well as the population's supply of gas, electricity, heat and water.

  • The validity of collective labor agreements and collective agreements during the state of emergency is maintained.

2.6 Postponement of Payments

Postponement of payment of utilities and rent costs

The small and medium enterprises can benefit from the postponement (not the suspension) of the costs with the utilities and rent during the period of the situation of emergency, provided that they obtain an emergency situations’ certificate (“ESC”).

The ESC is an administrative act that is issued upon request, free of charge, by the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Business Environment. It has been introduced in the national legislation through the normative acts issued after instating the state of emergency by the Presidential Decree. no. 195/2020. The procedure for obtaining the certificate is regulated by Order no. 791/2020 but its effects are indicated in several normative acts, such as the Emergency Government Ordinances no. 29/2020 and 30/2020.

The reason for the regulation of the ESC was to protect those companies whose activity was the most affected by the decisions of the public authorities regarding the measures to prevent the spread of COVID - 19.

At this moment there is no list of industry sectors in which these companies have to carry out their activity in order to obtain an ESC but according to Military Ordinance no. 1/2020 the affected sectors are: HORECA, organizing events, cultural, scientific, artistic, religious, sports, entertainment or gambling, spa treatment and personal care, carried out in confined spaces, transport, dental services etc.

The emergency situations’ certificate can be obtained by the small and medium- sized enterprises ("SMEs") which are those companies whose average number of employees is lower than 250, who have an annual turnover of under EUR 50 million and whose total assets have a value that does not exceed EUR 43 million, according to the last approved financial statement.

The certificates are of two types, each with its specificity and effects:

  • the blue one that can be obtained by SMEs whose activity has been discontinued in whole or in part based on the decisions of the public authorities and

  • the yellow one which can be obtained by SMEs whose revenues in March were 25% lower than the average for January and February 2020, regardless of the activity carried out.

Both types of certificates shall be used in relation to the public authorities and to other commercial agents.

In relation to the public authorities, the emergency situations’ certificate can be used according to the provisions of the Emergency Government Ordinance no. 29/2020 in order not to pay penalties for the unfulfilled obligations undertaken in the contracts with the public authorities. Also, the certificates could be used according to the provisions of the Emergency Government Ordinance no. 30/2020 in order to benefit from the compensation of 75% for the technical unemployment.

In relation to the commercial agents there are 3 types of effects that the emergency situations’ certificate could have, as follows:

  • the use of the ESC against the utility providers and the companies from which they have rented their registered office or working points. In this case, obtaining and presenting the blue emergency certificate has the effect of automatically postponing the payment throughout the state of emergency;

  • the use of ESC against other companies that are also SMEs whose activity was interrupted in whole or in part by the decisions of public authorities. In this case, obtaining and presenting the certificate, regardless of its type, shall serve to prove the existence of force majeure, and therefore to suspend or terminate the contract, only to the extent that the party invoking the force majeure proves in writing (in written or electronic format) that the renegotiation of the contract and its adaptation of the clauses prior to the force majeure has been attempted;

  • the use of the ESC against other companies that are not SMEs or to the SMEs whose activity has not been interrupted in whole or in part by the decisions of the public authorities. Obtaining the emergency situations’ certificate, regardless its type, shall establish a presumption of force majeure. In addition, negotiation shall not be required before the contract is suspended by invoking force majeure.


Postponement of the payment of credit and leasing installments

Government Emergency Ordinance no. 37/2020 provides for the possibility of the companies, authorized individuals, family enterprises, as well of the individuals to request the postponement of the installments due according to the credit and leasing contracts concluded up until 30.03.2020 (when the ordinance entered into force) for a period of maximum 9 months but not after 31.12.2020.

The effect of such a request addressed to the creditor is that the debtor shall no longer pay any amount during the postponement period but the interest due shall capitalized at the balance of the existing credit at the end of the suspension period. The capital, thus increased, shall be paid in installments in the remaining duration of the contract. Therefore, by capitalization, the principal debt shall be increased and interest shall be applied to the interest. Basically, this facility, as granted by GEO no. 37/2020, only defers the payment but it does not suspend the flow of interest during this period.

Should it want to benefit from such a postponement, the debtor must send a request can be sent until May 14 in writing or by electronic means (e-mail) or it can be addressed by phone to a number which the creditors have put to the disposal in this matter.

However, it is to be mentioned that another normative act has passed the parliament but did not enter into force yet since some of the senators mentioned that they should attack it before the Constitutional court, according to which during the suspension period no interest shall be due.

3. FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF INDIVIDUALS

3.1 Paid Parental Leave for Supervision of Children, in Case of Temporary Closure of Schools

LAW no. 19 of March 14, 2020 on granting days off to parents for supervision of children, in case of temporary closure of schools provides for paid days of leave granted to one of the parents for the supervision of the children in the case of the suspension of the classes or closure of the educational establishments where they are enrolled.

The days off are granted at the request of one of the parents, submitted to the employer and shall be accompanied by a statement on the other parent’s own responsibility, from which it follows that he has not applied for days off from his place of employment.

The indemnity for each free day shall be paid from the budget of the employer and is in the amount of 75% of the basic salary corresponding to one working day, but not more than the daily correspondent of 75% of the average gross earnings used to substantiate the state social insurance budget. The indemnity is subject to taxation and payment of social security contributions, insurance social security, as well as the payment of the insurance contribution. Employers can only request the settlement of amounts representing the net allowance actually received by the parent. The taxes and contributions of social insurance, social health insurance, as well as the payment of the contribution the work insurers related to the indemnity provided shall be borne by the employer.

According to HG no. 217/2020 that provides the methodological norms for the enactment of Law no. 19/2020 for the settlement of the amounts for the payment of the indemnity, the employer will apply to the agencies for the employment of the county, respectively of the Bucharest municipality in whose territorial radius it carries out the activity of the employer or its branch / office, as the case may be. The application will be accompanied by the following documents:

a) the list of employees who benefited from the days off, as well as the indemnity granted during this period;

b) copies of the payment statements showing the granting of the allowance;

c) the declaration on his own responsibility of the legal representative of the employer by which it is attested that the list provided at let. a) contains the persons who meet the conditions;

d) proof of payment of contributions and taxes related to the month in which the allowance was paid.

The payments from the state shall be received within 60 days after such request is submitted by the Employer.

3.2 Postponement of the Credit and Leasing Installments

According to Government Emergency Ordinance no. 49/2020 the persons that can no longer work due to the fact they are in institutionalized quarantine or in home isolation are eligible to receive a gross indemnity representing 75% from the average income of the person in the 6 month prior to the request of the indemnity.

According to Government Emergency Ordinance no. 37/2020 as subsequently amended, the individuals can also benefit from the postponement for a period of maximum 9 months but no later than 31.12.2020 of the credit and leasing contracts installments.

In addition to the mechanism presented above at section 2.6 that is also fully applicable to individuals, the latters also benefit from the possibility to postpone the installments of their mortgage credit contracts, but in this case (unlike in the case of the postponement requested by companies or of the postponement requested by individuals of the consumer credit) the interest shall not be capitalized but shall add up and be paid by the debtor after the prorogation period in maximum 60 installments together with the resumed capital.

The state shall guarantee to the creditors only the repayment of the postponed interest for the mortgage contracts concluded by the natural persons and not the reimbursement of the principal too.

3.3 Indemnities for the Persons that are in Quarantine or in Home-Isolation

According to Government Emergency ordinance no. 49/2020 the persons that can no longer work due to the fact they are in institutionalized quarantine or in home isolation are eligible to receive a gross indemnity representing 75% from the average income of the person in the 6 month prior to the request of the indemnity.

4. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

4.1 Running of the Statute of Limitation and Procedural Deadlines

According to Presidential Decree no. 195/2020, during the state of emergency: statutes of limitations and deadlines of any kind do not start to run, and, if they have started to run, they are suspended throughout the state of emergency.

4.2 Court Proceedings

The same Presidential decree provides that during the state of emergency, the trial activity continues only in cases of special urgency. The list of these cases is established by the Board of the High Court of Cassation and Justice for the cases within its jurisdiction and, respectively, by the boards of the courts of appeal for the cases within their jurisdiction and for the cases of the courts operating in their territorial district, which may be updated according to the circumstances.

Through Decision no. 417/24 March 2020 for the unification of the decisions adopted by the management boards of the courts of appeal and respectively Decision no. 479/31 March 2020 on guidance given to the management boards of the courts of appeal for establishing the list of cases to be tried during the state of emergency in quarantined areas or in protected areas, out of which we mention:

  • Presidential ordinance requests;

  • Suspension of administrative acts;

  • Precautionary measures;

  • Insolvency proceedings initiated by the debtor;

  • Conservation of evidence proceedings;

  • Suspension of court decisions regarding enforcements;

  • Suspension of provisional execution;

  • Approval of forced execution;

  • Any other cases that concerns extraordinary circumstances etc.

The other cases that are not considered as being urgent shall be suspended, without the need to perform any procedural act for this purpose. After the cessation of the state of emergency, the judgment of such trials is resumed ex officio. Within 10 days from the end of the state of emergency, the court will take measures to set the trial deadlines and summon the parties.

4.3 Forced Execution

Government Emergency Ordinance no. 29/21 March 2020 provides for the suspension of the enforcement measures by undertaken in view of recovering any state receivables.

The National Union of Bailiffs through decision no. 4 / 23.03.2020 decided to suspend all direct enforcement procedures (evictions, handover of movable or immovable property), as well as any act or enforcement procedure whose fulfillment is contrary to the provisions of the Presidential Decree no. 195/2020.

5. CRIMINAL LAW

5.1 Measures taken during the state of emergency

In the context of COVID-19 pandemics the Government of Romania has adopted a series of modifications regarding the offences foreseen by the Romanian Criminal Code.

Therefore, the offence of forgery in declarations shall be punished with imprisonment of at least 6 months, compared to 3 months as it was foreseen before.

Also, the GEO has introduced a new offence consisting in committing forgery in declarations in order to hide the risk of contamination with an infectious disease, which shall be punished with imprisonment from 1 to 5 years or with a fine.

Also, new provisions regarding the futility of combating diseases have been adopted. Therefore, if disrespecting the measures taken in order to prevent the spread of a contagious disease, if the act has led to its spread, shall be punished with imprisonment from 1 to 5 years.

Transmitting by any means an infectious disease by a person who knows that suffers of that disease shall be punished with imprisonment from 2 to 7 years. If the act is committed through fault, the limits are decreased, from 6 months to 3 years or a fine.

Last but not least, a new offence has been introduced in the Romanian Criminal Code.

Omission to declare before the medical staff or to other personnel of a medical unit essential information regarding the possibility of having been in contact with an infected person shall be punished with imprisonment from 6 months to 3 years or with a fine.

As per Government Emergency Ordinance no. 28/2020 modifying the Romanian Criminal Code