Romania: New labour law provisions for temporary-agency workers

New legislation introduced in Romania at the start of 2015 grants temporary agency workers the same pay and conditions as permanent employees of client companies they work in.

The Romanian Labour Code was amended in January 2015 (Law 12/2015), with new regulations regarding temporary workers' wages. Now, according to the amendment, the salary of a temporary agency employee (for each assignment) shall not be lower than that of any employee of the client company who is doing the same work. If the company does not have an employee doing the same work, the salary of the temporary agency worker will be set by reference to the salary of an employee in a similar job position, as mentioned in the collective bargaining agreement concluded at the client company's level.

Prior to this change, the Labour Code did not expressly regulate on the equal payment of temporary workers. Based on the grounds of non-discriminatory treatment, it was argued that temporary employees should be granted similar salary rights to those of permanent employees; however, this interpretation was not unanimous. The amendment has settled this issue.

The amendment has aligned Romanian legislation with the European Directive on Temporary Agency Work (2008/104/CE), which seeks to guarantee temporary employment agency workers equal pay and conditions. However, criticising the law on the grounds that its application would result in more unemployment and would reduce young people's chances of getting a first job, the parliamentary opposition (the National Liberal Party) challenged it in the Constitutional Court.

One important consequence of the amendment concerns employees working through temporary agencies outside the country, such as drivers. (These workers do not fall under the legislation regarding detached workers, Law 344/2006). The temporary workers sent outside Romania receive a Romanian minimum wage, and not the wage of the host country. The new regulation will oblige Romanian temporary employment agencies to pay these employees the minimum wage of the host country.

The legislative change comes after the National Fiscal Agency (ANAF) performed a series of checks on temporary work agencies at the end of 2014. Some illegality was revealed, including discrepancies in revenues related to under-declaration of wages paid to temporary workers. As a result, 30 of the 300 temporary employment agencies in Romania had their bank accounts seized. 


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