A novelty to the Romanian labour legislation is brought by the provisions of the recently published Law no. 176/2018 on internship (the “Internship Law”) which shall enter into force as of 18th August 2018.
The Internship Law regulates the general framework for the performance of internship programs, imposing also several restrictions concerning, among others, the activities allowed to be performed by the intern, the number of interns to be retained by an employer, as well as the duration of the internship programs organized by a particular company.
As a rule, the internship agreement must be concluded between the intern and the host organization in written form and for a determined period, while the scope of such arrangement is restricted to the performance by the intern, for and under the authority of the host organization, of specific activities aimed at enhancing the intern’s theoretical knowledge and practical skills or/and acquiring new competencies. Based on the internship agreement, the intern is entitled to an internship indemnity amounting at least 50% of the monthly national gross minimum salary (i.e. at least RON 950) which is to be paid pro rata with the intern’s working time.
Generally, a host organization may conclude with the same intern only one internship agreement for an internship program with a duration of maximum 720 hours during a 6 consecutive months period. Exceptionally, the same parties may conclude several internship agreements under the condition that each internship agreement concerns a different internship program and the cumulative duration of all such programs is of maximum 6 months.
In any case, the number of interns one host organization with more than 20 employees may retain simultaneously is capped at 5% of the total number of employees.
The activities performed by the intern must fall within a working schedule limited to a maximum of 40 hours per week with no possibility to perform overtime and would be further coordinated and evaluated by a mentor (Rom. “indrumator”) appointed in this respect by the host organization among the employees with at least one year of experience in the internship program activity field.
The law allows the conclusion of a regular employment agreement between the host organization and the intern at the end of the internship program. In this respect, the Internship Law provides that a host organization which employs an intern within 60 days as of termination of the internship program may receive, upon request, a state incentive amounting to RON 4,586 (roughly EUR 985) for each such new employee subject to the employment relationship’s effective duration of at least 24 months.
As regards administrative obligations, a separate electronic registry dedicated to the inventory of the internship agreements is to be organized by the local state unemployment agency and further completed by each host organization with the internship agreements concluded at any point in time.
As for the sanctioning regime, the failure to comply with the provisions of the Internship Law may lead to administrative fines ranging between RON 300 to RON 20,000 (roughly between EUR 65 to EUR 4,300). Additionally, the use of an internship agreement for the scope of avoiding the conclusion of a regular employment agreement may trigger the nullity of the internship agreement.
On a separate note, it is noteworthy to mention that the Internship Law does not expressly repeal the pieces of legislation regulating alternatives used in practice for internships, i.e. (i)Law no. 258/2007 on the pupils and students’ practice and (ii) Law no. 279/2005 on training at the workplace.
The Law no. 176/2018 on internship was published in the Official Gazette, Part I, no. 626 as of 19th of July 2018, entering into force after 30 days as of publication.