New provisions of the Labour Code on legal holiday: practical aspects

The employers must pay attention to a new amendment of the Labour Code brought by Law 37/2020 and applicable as of April 6, 2020, although this is not related to COVID-19.
Thus, for the employees who belong to a legal Christian religion, the free days for Good Friday – the last day of Friday before Easter, the first and second day of Easter, the first and second day of Pentecost are granted according to the date when they are celebrated by such religion. The employees who have benefited from the above legal holidays both at the dates established for the legal Christian religion of which they belong, as well as for another Christian religion, will recover the extra days off based on a schedule established by employer.
From practical point of view, considering that the Orthodox religion is majority, all employees should be asked to inform their employer whether they belong to another Christian religion than the Orthodox one and to support this by a document/statement on his own liability, if the case. If the employer decides to grant them also the days off provided by the Orthodox religion, it should issue a decision in such respect, setting up the schedule for the recovery of such extra days off. Although this could be made with employee’s consultation, the final decision on granting these extra days off and on the schedule for their recovery belongs to employer.
A challenge for employers will be, for sure, to set up such schedule with the observance of the legal rules on working time and rest time, including weekly rest. The good news is that the law does not provide a timeframe for the recovery of the extra days off. In case of 8/5 weekly work schedule, one practical solution would be to add 3 extra working hours per day until the full recovery of the extra days off; 1 extra working day per week may be added in case of 10/4 weekly work schedule.
As a side note, Law 489/2006 lists all religions recognized in Romania.

Author: Ileana Lucian