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Unpaid leave in Romania: punctual questions and answers

Unpaid leave … or not? That’s the question. To clarify all aspects of unpaid leave, we structured the theoretical part and the practical part in the form of answers and questions.

1.Is unpaid leave regulated by Romanian state law?

Yes, unpaid leave is regulated in Romania through the Labor Code of January 24, 2003 (Law no. 53/2003). Domestic laws are applicable throughout the territory and, in case of non-compliance, there are also consequences (civil litigation).

2.As an employee, am I entitled to unpaid leave in any situation?

In accordance with art. 153, para. (1) of the Labor Code, with a view to solving personal issues, the employees shall have the right to unpaid leave.

3.How is the the length of the unpaid leave set free?

The length of the unpaid leave shall be laid down in the collective labour agreement or in the rules of procedure (in accordance with the provisions of art. 153, paragraph (2) of the Labor Code).


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4.Can unpaid leave also be granted for vocational training?

Respecting the legal framework in force, unpaid leave can also be granted for professional training, during the training that the employee follows on his own initiative and at his request (The unpaid vocational training leave shall be taken at the request of the employee, for the length of the vocational training that the employee attends onhis/her own initiative). However, the law also establishes the exception, within art. 155, para. (2) of the Labor Code, in the sense that the employer can reject the employee’s request in a specific situation: only when the absence of the employee would be highly detrimental to the course of the activity.

In order to benefit from unpaid leave for vocational training, the application shall be submitted to the employer at least one month before taking it and it shall state the starting date of vocational training period, its scope and duration, and the name of the vocational training institution – in accordance with art. 156, para. (1) of the Labor Code. Subject to the provisions set out above, the taking of unpaid leave for professional training may be taken fractionally during a calendar year, in order to:

  • to take the graduation examinations of certain educational institutions;
  • to take the end-of-year examinations within higher education institutions.

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5.Are unpaid leave deducted from seniority?

According to art. 16, para. (6) of the Labor Code, unpaid leave (and unjustified absences) are deducted from seniority. The exception in this situation is the unpaid leave for vocational training, which is seniority in work.

6.What is the maximum legal period for receiving free leave?

The domestic legislation does not specify the maximum legal duration within which the employee can benefit from unpaid leave, but according to art. 2, para. (3) contained in the Methodological Norms of August 13, 2007 regarding the establishment of the supporting documents for the acquisition of the quality of insured, respectively of the insured without payment of the contribution, as well as for the application of the forced execution measures for the collection of the amounts due to the National National Health Insurance Fund, the rights insurance ends after 3 months from the last payment of the contribution. Given the situation, if the employee benefits from unpaid leave that exceeds the period specified above, the health insurance will be suspended.

7. Will unpaid leave be declared in REVISAL?

According to art. 16, para. (2) of the Labor Code, prior to the beginning of the activity, the individual employment contract is registered in the general register of employees (REVISAL), which is transmitted to the territorial labor inspectorate at the latest on the day before the beginning of the activity. By reference to the legal provisions, the general register of employees (REVISAL) will also include data on the employee’s unpaid leave (Each employer shall establish a general employee register).

8.Am I entitled to unpaid leave in the context of COVID-19?

Although the law does not expressly provide this possibility, by reference to the existing legal provisions regarding the conditions for granting the leave without pay, the current context may grant the employee the right to leave without pay (in the sense of solving the problems of personal interest. Also, the fundamental law of the state is clear, in the sense that Article 34 of the Romanian Constitution contains provisions on the right to health care, and Article 35 establishes the duty to individuals and legal entities to protect and improve the environment.

Internationally, it is noted that some people might feel they do not want to go to work if they’re afraid of catching coronavirus. This could particularly be the case for those who are at higher risk. At the same time, it is specified that, if an employee still does not want to go to work, they may be able to arrange with their employer to take the time off as unpaid leave.


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[Conținutul prezentului articol nu reprezintă o consultație juridică în temeiul Legii nr. 51/1995 privind organizarea și exercitarea profesiei de avocat, iar site-ul nu își asumă răspunderea pentru conținutul publicat de autori, editori și colaboratori.]

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