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Employment policies in the context of the Labour Code amendments in 2011.

European Union employment policy is an integral part of all the complementary policies which have evolved continuously with the socio-economic development models. The Treaty of Rome (1957) had maybe the first provisions on the free movement of workers and equality concerning the payment of wages rights. Regarding the created instruments, the European Social Fund is the first one which aims to provide support for the achievement of social policy and employment.

Following the creation of the single market, as a result of the Single European Act, in 1986 were made the steps towards ensuring health at work, relieving and preventing hazards that certain substances, used at work, produce. The most difficult was to achieve a balance between economic development as its "engine" and the social and employment policy.

The social dialogue promoted by the Single European Act ensured a continuous process of negotiation between the various member states, through organizations such as:

* ETUC-European Trade Union Confederation;

* EUNICE--Union of Industrialists and entrepreneurs from Europe;

* UEAPME-Association of Small and Medium Enterprises;

* CEEP-European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation.

These organizations have been trying to defend, argue or claim the rights of those they represented, but also the general economic interest.

Year 2000 represented a major moment in the evolution of social policy through the development of the Lisbon Strategy, which is based on the ten-year objective of the European Union, namely "to become the most competitive and dynamic economy in the world based on knowledge, capable of a sustainable economic growth, with more and better jobs and a greater social cohesion".

Later, the European Council has decided that it has to create the necessary conditions for employment of labour force and established a high level of employment rate of 70%, and a female employment rate of 60%, targets which had to be touched by 2010. The Lisbon strategy was created to help the European Union to regain the total occupancy condition of employment and to enforce the social cohesion by 2010.

The objectives of the Lisbon strategy in terms of the labour employment policy were:

* qualitative and quantitative growth of employment;

* anticipation and the capitalization of labor market changes by creating a new balance between flexibility and security;

* the fight against poverty and all forms of social exclusion and discrimination;

* modernization of social security services;

* the promotion of equality between genders;

* increasing the importance of social aspects of enlargement and the European Union's external relations.

The provisions' impact of the Lisbon strategy on employment policy in Romania was favorable on one hand and less favorable on the other. The main conclusions that were split off from the research review of the labour market in the context of European enlargement were:

* enhancing the substantial export of capital (investment) from West European countries to those in Central and Eastern Europe, because production costs are lower, the workforce is cheaper, thereby strengthening the competitiveness of the European market;

* emphasizing the considerable task of the training process to increase the skill of working for employees;

* the adaptation of the labour market policies to specific cultural particularities;

* implementing the structural funds, in particular the European Social Fund, which has led to a considerable development of the labour market;

* the contribution to the economic development gap between member states, to enhance the competitiveness of products, to increase competition on the European market, which ought to overall lead to increase the competitiveness of the European's Union economy.

Unfortunately, the global economic crisis has affected Romania and customized changes in social policies and regulations on labor and employment. The development of member states' evolution from European Union has passed several stages of maturity for its concepts and models up to create the model called the european social model.

The main areas of activity of national social policy are the labour market (unemployment) and wage policy, pensions and other social insurance rights, social assistance and family policies, labour relations, safety and health at work.

Employment issue is approached by two types of social policies, through passive policies consisting in the provision of financial management of the individual in case of unemployment and through active policies which usually rely on initiatives and actions of individual, group or community, and which are usually supported by a public authority at local and/or national level with the declared goal of employment growth to the level of administrative territorial unit.

Active programs include four general categories: the mobilization of labour supply consists of: programs that improve the chances of employing the persons who pose difficult problems of placement and which, in the absence of such measures would probably remain inactive, granting subsidies to support the employment of the current workforce in the private sector and to assist persons who launch into business on their own, development of work skills, which are mainly the responsibility of employers and of the national system of education and training of the workforce. This fact approves training programs for adults, regardless of their occupational status, period of apprenticeship and other related forms of general vocational training for young people, promoting the spirit of active search--aims to support the processes by which those who are looking for a job are put in touch with potential employers, direct jobs creation, involving either temporarily work or in some cases permanent work in the public sector or under organization units. Employment policies are a distinct domain within the framework of social policies, their objective being to maintain and increase employment, through direct or indirect actions, designed to ensure jobs for young people who are entering the labour market, for the unemployed or others who want to engage as employed persons. This happen because of another phenomenon--unemployment- with which the European Union member states face during the crisis, affecting tens of thousands of people. Thus, at the end of 2009, the unemployment rate in the European Union was 8.9%, representing an increase of 1.9 per cent compared with the unemployment rate in 2008.

Unemployment is also rising in Romania, peaking in April 2010, at a rate of 8.07%, similar to that specified in the European Union. According to the Employment report in Europe 2010, the total active population of Romania, respectively 9488 of thousands of people, 967 of thousands were BIM unemployed, a matter which is affecting the labour market, and at the same time the economy of the country.

Unemployment is a complex social phenomenon with multiple psychosocial effects which currently has a very large scale. Increasing the number of unemployed people in the world has focused attention on the problems of the European Union. In this respect, the European Council has regularly addressed the issue of employment, defining a European strategy for employment.

On 26 March 2010 in Brussels, the European Council discussed the new strategy for employment and economic growth of the European Union--"Europe 2020: a new strategy for jobs and growth". The Council agreed on key elements, including key objectives that will guide the implementation and the methods of monitoring and improving strategy. It was agreed that the main objective, namely to arrive at the rate of employment of the workforce of 75% for women and men between the ages of 20 and 64 years, including increased participation of young people, older workers and the less skilled and better integration for legal migrants.

Employment policy work covers vast domains, but closely linked to the related ones. These areas may include: the labour law and working conditions, equal opportunities between men and women, social protection, labour protection, elimination of social exclusion and struggle against discrimination, the creation of a functional system of social dialogue both at enterprise, industry, national and community levels, to ensure the consultation of social partners in making the most important social and economic decisions. The compatibility mode of Romanian law with the Community acquis legislation is determined as the ratio between the amount of Romanian laws transposing the acquis.

To adapt Romanian legislation in the field of work to Community legislation and the major changes following the macro-economic crisis, in 2011, the Labour Code has changed for the fifth time in the last 60 years the act which governs all relationships to individual and collective employment in Romania.

The first Labour Code adopted on 8 June 1950 found employment for all employees, including civil servants, without distinction between to those specific categories of public officials and other servants of the Romanian public sector, which excluded in any form, the possibility of employees and enterprises to negotiate individually or collectively the working conditions.

On 1 March 1973 was adopted, in accordance with the basic rules of international law of labour, a new Labour Code which was in spite of the stresses of propaganda the most advanced legislation in the matter of employment relationships from among the former socialist countries. The code could not reflect something other than the spirit of the work concept and society in the consolidation of socialism: the regulation of matters relating to employment relationships; the role of extremely low trade unions and collective agreements, to settle the right to strike.

Since 1989, Romania has come a complex and difficult process of transition to the economy market so that the labour code has become inapplicable, except the Individual Labour Contract without which employment relationships could not exist.

The Labour Code adopted by law No. 53/2003 opens a new stage in the evolution of labour law in Romania. To the labour code of 1973, the new code brings modern rules, adapted to the labour market in Europe, which protects employees and give them greater security of employment, for which it attracted criticism but also the reputation of " essentially trade union code " ( 2003 version of press has identified a number of rights, 246 304 in the favour of employees and only 58 in favour of employers).

Changing the Labour Code in September 2006 reflected the criticism received by Romania on behalf of the European Commission within the meaning of the 53/2003 Law which does not fully comply with the Community regulations, in particular in the areas of the working time organization and the procedures for such redundancies.

To encourage competition and to allow employers to adapt more easily to the rapid changes of economy, in 2011, there have been recent changes to the Labour Code, the act which deals with all employment relationships, shows how to control the application of the rules on community employment relationships, as well as labour jurisdiction. These changes include rules on individual labour Contract, working hours and rest time, remuneration, health and safety at work, vocational training, social dialogue, collective bargaining agreements, labor conflicts, labour inspection, labour jurisdiction and legal liability.

The Labor Code proposed by Government for adoption throw the procedure of its responsibility to Parliament, contains amendments to the labour code (Act No. 53/2003). The new code (Law No. 40/2011) entered into force within a period of 30 days from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette of Romania, Part I, respectively on 30.04.2011.

The main amendments concern:

* informing employees on the inclusion in the job description of the job duties;

* completing the rights of employers to establish individual performance objectives and the criteria for assessing their implementation;

* unilateral renunciation of the non-compete clause stipulated in the contract, the payment allowance-compete ending in the following month the employee's written notice concerning the denunciation (art. 21, parag. 5);

* specification of the individual labour contract in the amount of additional benefits in money or in all kind of benefits are additional ways;

* establishes the obligation for employers of individuals to conclude in writing, to the employment contract prior to the commencement of execution of the contract;

* increased the duration of the probationary period to a maximum of 90 calendar days for run-time functions and more than 120 calendar days for managerial functions;

* prohibition on the aggregation of more than two functions at the same employer;

* suspension of the employer's initiative as CIM sanction, there will be disciplinary action;

* in the case of the temporary reduction of activity for economic, technological, structural or similar reasons for periods exceeding 30 days, the employer will have the possibility of reducing working time from 5 days to 4 days a week, with the corresponding reduction of wages, to remedy the situation. In case of objective reasons the activity should be reduced or paused for a maximum 15 days per year with the obligation to resume; the employer may be granted unpaid leave, after informing the Union;

* the repeal of article 72, which made references to new hires after the collective dismissal within the meaning of that after the dismissal may be made at any time on the same recruiting posts, without having to wait nine months or sending notifications about new jobs for former employees made redundant;

* the obligation of the employer when the employee's resignation. The employer's refusal to register the resignation entitles the employee to prove it by any means of proof;

* increasing the period of notice in the event of resignation, which may not be less than 20 working days for employees based on performance, not less than 45 working days for those who occupy positions of leadership; a 12 months increase within the duration of the individual labour contract, till 36 months; (compared to 24 months in present);

* impossibility of halting the CIM for a period to be agreed by means of an addendum by workers who have benefited from a trainee training at the expense of the employer.

* compensation for the additional hours labour paid within 60 days after it; during the times of reduced activity, the employer has the possibility of granting days off which will be paid into an account; he must be able to cover in advance, any overtime to be performed during the year;

* programming the leave of rest will be done so that each employee performs in a calendar year at least 10 working days of uninterrupted holiday;

* recovery of salary for damage caused exclusively by the employee;

* increasing the amount of fines imposed by the labour inspectors on work or non-resignation.

The direct effects that occurred after the amendment of the labour code are major and they are affecting the whole system:

1. The employer may employ any person for the same post, for a trial period, he may give up at any time to any employee during this period without being controlled and this trial period isn't considered a job tenure;

2. Individual performance objectives and criteria for evaluation belong exclusively to employers, and employees can be fired at any time in case of professional discordance;

3. In the case of redundancies there will be fired the first ones who have not accomplished individual performance objectives. The evaluation criteria for these performances are unilaterally set by the employer only. In fact, the employer may dismiss who he will want and the employees can't be defended. After dismissal, even the next day, the employer may hire other people on the employment of those dismissed, without being obliged or sanctioned in any way;

4. Employees could be delegates against their will, without employer's obligation to introduce of a clause in the contract for Individual mobility of Work, which would oblige him to extra pay for his employee;

5. The employee will not be able to continue his activity, so he will not be paid, from the moment in which the required authorization, certificate or notice are no longer valid. Such authorizations, opinions or statements may not be extended;

6. The employer can always decrease the activity of the employee and his wages on the grounds that he has temporarily reduced his activity, without being mandatory (as in the old code) the consent of the employee. Moreover, he can send the employee on unpaid leave. In this way there is no minimum safe labour and income so that the employees may not even take loans from banks;

7. The employment contract during unlimited period will disappear; most employees will be employed by contract for a determined period. In this way it can completely disappear the safety and protection of the workplace, employees won't be able to receive severance pay, they will no longer be able to make loans, but in this way they can be stimulated to be competitive;

8. Temporary employment agencies will provide increasingly more activities for employers, in preference to their employees. Discarding the strict situations where an employer is allowed to use the temporary employment business, the employer may replace the work of any permanent employee with an temporarily employee to whom he has no responsibility or obligation. In this way there is a risk that the majority of employees to become temporary, that they may be fired at any time;

9. The employer is able to amend at any time the rule for work that is likely to unilaterally alter the salary. Employees will thus become addicted to the employers decisions;

10. Collective bargaining agreements will be available and the employer's wishes known as the "representatives of the employees" in most cases are appointed by the employer and not elected by the people. In this way the rights of employees will be laid down directly by the employer without the possibility of negotiating a fair contract. By entering the undertaking, the employer may retain, at any time and any damage he has and may be assigned to the employee.

Immediate indirect effects were felt in the Labour Inspection statistics subordinated to the Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity, which, in May this year, covered design for over 75 000 new contracts in the first four days of the new code entry force. Even if in short-terms employees face adverse changes in the long run, they will be aware of the important benefits highlighted in the advantage of records relating to individual contracts of Employment and emphasizing competitiveness in the professional level.


(1.) Dobrota N. Aceleanu, M.I. 2007, Employment resources for work in Romania, Economic Publisher;

(2.) Giarini O. Liedtke, P. M. 2001, The employment dilemma and the future of labour, Merona Publisher, Bucharest;

(3.) Narayan Deepa, Michael F. Cassidy, A Dimensional Approach to Measuring Social Capital: Development and Validation of the Social Capital Inventory, Current Sociology, 2001;

(4.) Otovescu E. M. (coord.) Treaty on general sociology, Craiova, Beladi Publisher, 2010;

(5.) Preda Marian, Romanian social policy between poverty and globalization, Polirom Publisher, Iasi, 2002;

(6.) Zamfir Catalin, Stoica Laura, A new challenge: Social Development, Polirom Publisher , Iasi, 2006;

(7.) The Ministry of Education and Research, 2007, Report: National system of education, Bucharest;

(8.) The Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy (IRES), Report: Corruption Barometer in Romania, 2010;

(9.) European Commission, Report: Employment in Europe 2010.

(10.) Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities, Report: The European regulations in the field of employment and vocational training, July 2007, Bucharest;

(11.) INS Yearbook of Romania, 2008, 2009;

(12.) *** Law No. 76/2002 on the unemployment insurance system and boosting employment.

Andreea Mihaela NITA

University of Craiova, Faculty of Social Sciences

Sociology Specialization, Craiova, Romania.


Veronica ION

University of Craiova, Faculty of Social Sciences

Sociology Specialization, Craiova, Romania.

Population labor force participation in Romania since 1997
to 2010

             1997    1999    2001    2003    2004    2005

Population   22328   22346   22326   21686   21638   21609

Ages 15-64   15158   15189   15277   14933   14964   15021

Population   11756   11566   11151   9915    9957    9851

Population   ....    ....    ....    9569    9410    9267

Ages 15-64   9912    9598    9529    8602    8635    8651

Unemployed   706     790     750     692     800     704

             2006    2007    2008    2009    2010

Population   21575   21551   21517   21484   21462

Ages 15-64   15035   15046   15042   15028   18210

Population   9562    9479    9944    10226   9965

Population   9331    9365    9369    9175    9240

Ages 15-64   8838    8843    8842    8805    9428

Unemployed   728     641     576     681     725

Source: European Commission, Report: Employment in Europe 2010,
p. 188
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Author:Nita, Andreea-Mihaela; Ion, Veronica
Publication:Revista de Stiinte Politice
Article Type:Report
Date:Jan 1, 2011
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