Existing legal framework for public employees’ unpaid vacation, says Finance Minister

Minister of Public Finance Gheorghe Pogea stated on Tuesday evening, on a TV channel, that there is a legal framework for sending public employees into an unpaid vacation over September – November.

„I understand comments were made there is no legal framework. I assure you that we have cabinet colleagues, there is a Justice Minister, the Minister of Labor and we will have a legal framework. But we must see if we implement this decision, or not. If we have to, it must be within the legal framework”, said Pogea.

The Minister said that the Government’s decision is due to the exceptional situation Romania is facing, namely a more pronounced economic decline than previously thought.
„The Government, among other things, has a normative role as well. For the time being, we are confronted with an exceptional situation.

As you heard, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative said (on Monday – editor’s note) that this economic contraction is larger than expected, ranging from minus four to minus eight, and this is valid for the entire zone. He also came out with a specification.

And I invoke it not to defend us, but the situation is due to some external conditions, which the Govt. cannot control. Domestic demand and consumption are still at low levels, the same as on the international markets, but we also have our own deficit related issues to solve”, explained the Finance Minister.

Finance Minister said that the decision to send employees in the public sector into a 10-day unpaid vacation in Sept. – Nov. is to be applied to a number of 1.3 million people and will bring savings of 1.6 billion lei to the budget.

This measure is aimed at the local public authorities, self-funded institutions and those deriving own revenues, the 53 main credit takers paid from the state budget, starting with the Ministry of Finance and ending with the Administration of the State Reserves.

„All of them. Now, why that? Because we want to preserve the jobs during a period of crisis. The Government must choose between two evils”, concluded the Minister of Finance.

All public sector employees will have a reduced working time with the equivalent of ten working days, over Sept. – Nov., which will lead to a spending cut of 0.3 percent of the GDP (1.5 billion lei), Minister of Public Finance Gheorghe Pogea announced on Tuesday.

„In the public sector we have decided to take some measures as activity stoppages, a 10-day unpaid vacation, reduction of the daily working hours from eight to six. Maybe a combination of those, depending on each activity specificity.

The impact upon the budget after the 10-day unpaid vacation is calculated at 0.3 percent of the GDP „, said Pogea.
As well, he pointed out that no overtime is paid, being compensated with free days instead and the bonuses have been canceled altogether.

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