Section 7. Worker Rights
e. Acceptable Conditions of Work
There are separate minimum wages for the public and private sectors. In May the government set the minimum monthly wage for the private sector at 2,100 lei ($105) per month (based on average 169 work hours per month), while the minimum monthly wage for public sector employees remained unchanged at 1,000 lei ($50). According to official data, the minimum monthly subsistence level was 1,814 lei ($91) in the first half of the year. According to NTUC, as of September, salary arrears were more than 139.5 million lei ($7 million), including over 78 million lei ($3.9 million) owed by the state companies to 11,265 employees; 55 million lei ($2.8 million) owed by private companies to 5,283 employees; over 5.6 million lei ($280,000) by municipal companies to 1,114 employees, and 181,000 lei ($9,050) owed by public institutions to 152 employees. The law sets the maximum workweek at 40 hours with extra compensation for overtime, provides for at least one day off per week, and mandates paid annual leave of at least 28 calendar days (government holidays excluded). Different paid leave plans may be used in some sectors of the economy, such as education, health care, and public service. The law prohibits excessive compulsory overtime. Foreign and migrant workers have the same legal status as domestic workers.
The government sets occupational safety and health (OSH) standards and updated them during the year. According to labor law, workers can remove themselves from situations that endanger their health or safety without jeopardy to their employment.
The labor code requires work contracts for employment. Employers must register these contracts with local officials, with copies sent to the local labor inspectorates. Through August, the SLI reported 98 persons were employed at 47 enterprises without proper documents, including 27 women and 11 minors. There were no reports of work contracts in the agricultural sector, where the central government did not have an effective mechanism to monitor compliance.
The government generally enforced requirements for minimum wage, hours of work, and occupational health and safety standards in the formal sector but not in the informal sector. The law requires the government to establish and monitor safety standards in the workplace, and the SLI was responsible for monitoring and enforcement of compliance with labor legislation. In August, however, parliament adopted a law that delegated the functions of OSH standards enforcement to the Public Health Agency under the Ministry of Health. The inspectorate had 109 labor inspectors, 22 of whom worked in the central office and 87 in 10 regional branches. Between January and October, the office performed 3,606 inspections, 1,711 of which were health and safety inspections and 1,895 of which involved labor relations/legislation. The office inspected 2,971 companies (enterprises, institutions, and organizations in the public sector) employing more than 121,300 persons, including 75,300 women and 19 minors. It documented 36,716 infringements, including 17,365 of health and safety standards and 19,351 of labor laws. The SLI sent 148 protocols of administrative offenses to the courts, of which 112 were examined, resulting in penalties amounting to 308,200 lei ($15,400). Starting in November, penalties for violations ranged from 5,000 to 24,000 lei ($250 to $1,200), but were insufficient to deter violations. In addition, inspections decreased in number and effectiveness due to parliament’s adoption of a law banning state controls in March, including SLI planned and unplanned inspections. The ban was lifted in October.
A thriving informal economy accounted for a significant portion of the country’s economic activity. According to the most recent available data, in 2013 the informal economy represented 23.1 percent of the country’s GDP. According to the International Labor Organization, 30.9 percent of the total employed population had an informal job and 68.7 percent of those jobs were in the agricultural sector. Workers in the informal economy did not have the same legal protections as employees in the formal sector. The SLI reported 123 persons working in the formal sector without proper documentation, including 38 women and 14 minors. The SLI sent 62 protocols on administrative offenses to the courts and reported that 24 persons had their rights restored. There were no government social programs targeting workers in the informal economy.
Poor economic conditions led enterprises to spend less on safety equipment and to pay insufficient attention to worker safety. During the first seven months of year, the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection, and Family reported 252 accidents at work. The SLI investigated 63 accidents, while special committees at the respective companies investigated other cases. State inspectors finalized the investigations in 13 cases that resulted in 15 deaths and seven accidents that severely injured nine employees. Twenty accidents remained under investigation, including nine that resulted in deaths. In 2015 SLI inspectors investigated 130 out of 411 reported cases of accidents. Enterprise committees investigated the other 281 cases. A large number of incidents occurred in the processing industry (17 severe accidents and five deaths), construction works (six severe accidents and seven deaths), and agriculture and forestry (three severe accidents and seven deaths). The most common causes for injuries and deaths were falling from heights, jammed fingers, and impact or crushing by equipment.