International assignment of Romanian employee – mandatory steps

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Are you for the first time faced with the requirement to solve the international assignment of Romanian employees abroad? Being a totally new case, are you a bit lost and don’t know how to deal with all the requirements of Romanian employment and taxes? Do you feel helpless, as the information you found on this topic is too little or perhaps unclear? No worry, being a situation you never met before, it is normal to be so. And even when you think you’ve done everything right, there may still be unresolved issues. So, just make sure you first tick off the most important things on the list, which, if left unresolved, can have serious consequences for the company or the employee.

In this article we will clearly and concisely structure the important steps that one must comply with in the case of an international assignment of Romanian employee. Specifically, we will describe and clarify the list of documents that an employer must prepare for the correct documentation of the assignment. In addition, we will describe the conditions that must be observed, as well as the procedures or notifications required to be fulfilled with the Romanian authorities.

Definition of an assignment/secondment as per the Romanian employment law

But first, let’s start from a brief definition of assignment, as it stems from the Romanian employment legislation in force:

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According to the Romanian Labor Code (Law no. 53/2003), the assignment/secondment of an employee is an exceptional situation, in which the employee changes his/her place of work for a limited period in time, at the disposal of his/her employer, to another employer. The main purpose of the assignment should be to carry out activities (work, services, etc.) for the benefit of the employer to which the employee is assigned. By way of exception, an assignment can also change the employee’s job attributions, but only with the latter’s written agreement.

Maximum period for an international assignment of Romanian employee

Regarding the duration of an assignment, it is important to know that by definition the assignment of an employee is temporary, so it will have to be limited in time. More exactly, according to the provisions of the Romanian Labor Code, the employer cannot ask the employee to accept an assignment for an initial period of more than 12 months. Therefore, at the time of initiating the assignment, it will have to be limited to the 12-month period established by law. However, subsequently, on the basis of well-founded objective reasons that require the presence of the employee abroad beyond this maximum period, the law allows the extension of the assignment.

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Thus, as per the law, one can proceed to agree the extension of the assignment for consecutive periods of up to 6 months each. However, please pay attention: the extension can be done only with the written acceptance of the employee. Therefore, make sure well in advance that the employee will not have serious reasons to refuse the extension.

List of documents that must be prepared for an assignment

The first (and most important) document that must be prepared for the international assignment of Romanian employee is the assignment decision or assignment contract. Through this document the employer informs the employee about the decision to assign him abroad and all the arrangements related to the specific assignment. The details that are required by law to be included in the assignment/secondment contract are:

  • country and place of assignment
  • the period of assignment
  • the reason or purpose of the assignment
  • who will pay the employee all the salary rights during the assignment period
  • the currency in which the employee will be paid his/her salary rights
  • the climatic conditions in the host country
  • and all the other elements of the employment contract that change during the international assignment

So, first of all, make sure that all the above details are clearly described in the assignment decision/assignment contract. Subsequently, after all the rights and obligations have been established, the document will have to be signed by both parties (the employee and the employer).

Ensuring work conditions and minimum rights in the member state of assignment

Ensuring minimum working conditions and working rights is a very important aspect to keep in mind for cases of assignment/secondment in EU Member States. Thus, according to the legislation in force (Law no. 16/2017 regarding the posting of employees for the provision of transnational services), it is mandatory for employees assigned out of the territory of Romania in any EU member state to benefit from the same working conditions applicable in the host country. Such working conditions refer to:

  • the minimum wage, as well as compensation or payment for overtime work
  • the maximum duration of working time
  • the minimum duration of the mandatory periodic rest
  • the minimum duration of paid annual leave
  • work health and safety
  • protective measures applicable to working conditions for pregnant or fresh mothers, as well as for children and young people
  • equality of treatment between men and women, as well as other conditions regarding non-discrimination.

Non-compliance with any of the conditions described above can attract in practice drastic fines from the authorities of the host country. And the most frequently discussed condition is the observance of the minimum wage in the Member State in which the employee is posted. This is because most of the other EU Member States guarantee a minimum wage much higher than the average paid in practice by Romanian employers.

Therefore, before you even initiate an international assignment of Romanian employee, we advise you to thoroughly check out the conditions to be fulfilled in practice, and which concern the aspects listed above. Particularly the aspect regarding the minimum wage which must be guaranteed on the territory of the host state, and the remuneration items that may be included to reach that level of minimum salary (e.g., per diem).

The per diem/assignment allowance

As per the Romanian employment legislation in force, the international assignment of Romanian employee also involves the obligation for payment of a daily allowance (per diem) or, as it is called in the applicable legislation: an assignment or secondment allowance. Thus, it is important to know that, during the period of assignment abroad, the employee is entitled not only to reimbursement of expenses related to accommodation and transportation, but also to the payment of a per diem.

The level of the per diem to be paid to a Romanian employee assigned abroad is regulated by a government decision, respectively Government Decision no. 518/1995 regarding certain rights and obligations of the Romanian personnel assigned abroad. However, it is important to keep in mind that the levels of the per diem, per each country, as established by GD no. 518/1995, are not mandatorily applicable to employers in the private sector. According to the GD no. 518/1995 these are for recommendation purposes only applicable to employers in the private sector. Therefore, when determining the appropriate daily allowance for the international assignment of Romanian employee in another country, it is recommended to consult the aforementioned government decision.

Mandatory notification to Romanian Labor Office

Once you have set the start date of the assignment and the period, and you have signed the assignment decision/contract which sets out the other important details described above – the place of assignment, the salary level, the per diem, etc. – it is time to notify the secondment to the Romanian authorities.

Thus, as per the Romanian labor law, the secondment of an employee is an exceptional situation for which the employer has the obligation to register it in the Register of Employees Record (Revisal). As you may know, the Revisal is an electronic register that any employer is required to submit to the Romanian Territorial Labor Inspectorate. Regarding the registration of the secondment/assignment in Revisal, this is an obligation that must be fulfilled no later than the day before the start date of the employee’s assignment. More specifically, if the international assignment of Romanian employee is set to start on January 1, 2020, the assignment details will have to be registered in Revisal by December 31, 2019 at the latest.

According to Governmental Decision 500/2011 regarding the General Register of Employees, the failure to fulfil the obligation to register the assignment of an employee, or the failure to fulfil this obligation in time, can be sanctioned with a fine ranging from 5,000 lei to 8,000 lei per employee. The sanction can be applied by the Territorial Labor Inspectorate.

Applying for the social coverage A1 certificate

For the international assignment of an employee on the territory of the European Union, the provisions of the European Regulation no. 883/2004 regarding the system of social contributions apply. According to the provisions of the Regulation, any employee should be subject to the social security system of only one EU member state. In the specific situation of employee assignment from one member state to another, the employee should continue to be subject to the social security system of the first state, provided that the initial duration of the assignment does not exceed 24 months, and that the assignee has not been sent to replace another person.

In practice, the correct application of the European Regulation is confirmed by obtaining a social coverage certificate – the A1 certificate. The certificate must be obtained from the state of residence of the employer that is assigning the employee (Romania, in the case analysed by us). The institution in charge of issuing A1 certificates on the Romanian territory is the National House of Public Pensions (CNPP). Therefore, according to the procedure in force, the Romanian employer should address to the CNPP in order to obtain the A1 form for an international assignment of Romanian employee to other EU Member States.

For more details on the A1 certificate, you can also read: About A1 social coverage certificate.

Florin Stoicescu

Tax & immigration consultant

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