FINDING A JOB How to find a job According to Government Emergency Ordinance No 56/2007, citizens coming from EU and EEA countries enjoy the same status regarding employment in Romania as do Romanian citizens. Jobseekers who are EU and EEA citizens can contact the National Employment Agency, which is Romania‟s public employment office. Interested persons may inquire and register with the 215 local employment agencies situated all over the country. Local agencies provide information, counselling and mediation services for jobseekers or unemployed persons, as well as information and mediation services for potential employers. The services offered are free of charge. A county and national level database contains all jobs offered by employers, who are required by law to declare all their vacancies. Detailed information can be found on the National Employment Agency website. Upon arrival in Romania, jobseekers who are EU/EEA citizens can contact the nearest local/county employment agency. They should submit form E 303 and request the National Employment Agency to register them. The National Employment Agency is responsible for paying unemployment benefits. One may also contact the 43 EURES counsellors placed with the county employment agencies. The contact details of these EURES counsellors can be found on the National Employment Agency website. On the labour market there are also employment incentive service providers accredited by the National Employment Agency in accordance with the law. Another way of finding a job in Romania is offered by various web portals which are a major source for vacancies. Here you can find jobs published directly by employers and can also post your CV into the database, so that it becomes accessible to employers looking for staff. The national, regional and local newspapers also contain numerous classified job advertisements (both job offers and requests). In certain situations it is better to contact an employer directly, especially if you are applying for temporary work in rural areas. Useful links: - www.anofm.ro (National Agency for Employment) - www.ejobs.ro, www.myjob.ro, www.bursamuncii.ro, www.bestjobs.ro ( jobseeking websites) - www.ziare.ro (portal for Romanian national, regional and local newspapers). How to apply for a job Any application should comply with the job requirements and provide a first impression of the profile of the person applying. The most common way to apply for a job is to send a CV, which may be accompanied by a letter of application (maximum 1 page long) giving one‟s reasons for applying for the job concerned. The CV should preferably be produced in both an international language and in Romanian, in case knowledge of the Romanian language is required. As for completing your CV, this has to be structured. Standard CV forms can be used, and the EURES network in Romania uses the Europass CV model. A CV contains an applicant‟s skills, qualifications and experience, presented chronologically (when filling in the “Work Experience” section, it is customary to begin either with the current job or with the most recent one). The Europass CV and the instructions for filling it out can be found both on the European EURES portal and on the National Employment Agency website. When going for an interview an applicant should bring along his/her CV as well as any other useful documents: the baccalaureate diploma, (authenticated) higher education graduation diplomas, a copy of his/her employment record, other training certificates, an extract from the judicial register and a medical examination certificate. Employers may ask applicants to take a psychological test. Useful links: - www.anofm.ro/eures (national Eures portal) - www.europa.eu/eures (European EURES portal) MOVING TO ANOTHER COUNTRY Movement of goods and capital The free movement of goods is one of the cornerstones of the European Single Market. The removal of national barriers to the free movement of goods within the EU is one of the principles enshrined in the EU Treaties. Starting from a traditionally protectionist stance, the countries of the EU have been steadily lifting trade restrictions to form a „common‟, or single, market. This commitment to create a European trading area without frontiers has led to the creation of more wealth and new jobs and has globally established the EU as a world trading player alongside the United States and Japan. Despite Europe‟s commitment to breaking down all internal trade barriers not all sectors of the economy have been harmonised. The European Union decided to regulate at European level sectors which might impose a higher risk for Europe‟s citizens – such as pharmaceuticals or construction products. The majority of products (considered a „lower risk‟) are subject to the application of the so-called principle of mutual recognition, which means that essentially every product legally manufactured or marketed in one of the Member States can be freely moved and traded within the EU‟s internal market. Limits to the free movement of goods The EU Treaty gives Member States the right to set limits to the free movement of goods when there is a specific common interest such as protection of the environment, citizens‟ health, or public policy, to name but a few. This means for example that if the import of a product is seen by a Member State‟s national authorities as a potential threat to public health, public morality or public policy, it can deny or restrict access to its market. Examples of such products are genetically modified food or certain energy drinks. Even though there are generally no limitations to the purchase of goods in another Member State as long as they are for personal use, there is a series of European restrictions for specific categories of products such as alcohol and tobacco. Free movement of capital Another essential condition for the functioning of the European internal market is the free movement of capital. It is one of the four basic freedoms guaranteed by EU legislation and represents the basis of the integration of European financial markets. Europeans can now manage and invest their money in any EU Member State. The liberalisation of capital markets has marked a crucial point in the process of economic and monetary integration in the EU. It was the first step towards the establishment of our European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the common currency, the Euro. Advantages The principle of the free movement of capital not only increases the efficiency of financial markets within the Union it also brings a series of advantages to EU citizens. Individuals can carry out a broad number of financial operations within the EU without major restrictio ns. For instance, individuals, with few restrictions, can easily open a bank account, buy shares, invest or purchase real estate in another EU Member State. EU companies can invest in, own or manage other European enterprises. Exceptions Certain exceptions to this principle apply both within the Member States and with third countries. They are mainly related to taxation, prudential supervision, public policy considerations, money laundering and financial sanctions agreed under the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy. The European Commission is continuing to work on the completion of the free market for financial services by implementing new strategies for financial integration in order to make it even easier for citizens and companies to manage their money within the EU. Finding accommodation It is advisable to know where you are going to live in Romania before you leave your own country. This helps to avoid complications. There are many possibilities, depending on budget and individual preferences. Renting If you wish to rent an apartment for the duration of your stay in Romania you should browse the real estate sections of newspapers. You can also call on the services of a real estate agent (check the Pagini Aurii -Yellow Pages). Prices vary according to the size of the rented house, as well as location, with city centres being the most expensive areas. Tenants must sign a contract with the owner, and the contract must be official. Student accommodation Whether studying at universities or not, people travelling for study purposes have the following options: student hostels, residences and apartments. Finding an apartment on the internet As well as the traditional ways of finding an apartment or advertising for one (via the media or real estate agents), the Internet has become a new way of searching for an apartment to rent or buy. Buying a property In Bucharest, larger cities and spas, houses are more expensive than in the rest of the country. When buying a house, documents must be authenticated at a notary‟s office. As part of the acquisition procedure buyers must set up and sign contracts for the following utilities: electricity, gas, water and heating, as well as waste management. In the case of apartments, payment for these services is made through the owners‟ association. Services Invoices for these services (gas, electricity, telephone, cable TV) should be paid on time, normally on a monthly basis, otherwise their delivery may be interrupted. Useful links: - www.ziare.ro, www.pa.ro (Yellow Pages) - www.imobiliare.ro, www.agentiiimobiliare.ro (real estate agencies portal) Finding school EU/EEA citizens who wish to enrol their children in the Romanian educational system have the following options: state educational institutions and private educational institutions. Before moving to Romania it is a good idea to do at least some research regarding the types of educational institutions situated in the vicinity of the new place of residence and to find out whether a school has the administrative capacity to receive new pupils. It is very important that parents should produce certificates indicating the studies completed by their children in their country of origin. In Romania, the pre-university education system is structured on 4 levels: pre-school (nurseries and kindergartens), primary, secondary (lower secondary and high school) and post-high school. The national higher education system is structured on 3 levels of university studies: undergraduate, master and doctoral studies. In general the territorial principle applies, i.e. the proximity of the residence to the educational institution. This means that educational institutions (up to the high school level) situated in a certain location guarantee places for the children living in that area. Remaining places are then allocated to children from outside the local area. No examination is required for children to be enrolled at kindergarten or primary school. However, admission to high schools, colleges and universities is examination based. In addition, there is a series of private educational institutions (kindergartens, high schools, universities) which charge fees for both enrolment and tuition. In Romania there are 66 public higher education institutions and 32 accredited private higher education institutions. Information about the Romanian educational system can be found on the internet on the Ministry of Education and Research website, by contacting local authorities, or by accessing specialised portals. Useful links: - www.edu.ro (The Ministry for Education and Research) - www.gradinite.ro (kindergartens portal) - www.udea.edu.co (educational institutions portal) - www.util21.ro (educational institutions portal) - www.federal.ro (educational institutions portal) Taking a car with you (includes information on driving licences) The implementation of the principle of free movement of people, one of the cornerstones of our European house, has meant the introduction of a series of practical rules to ensure that citizens can travel freely and easily to any Member State of the European Union. Travelling across the EU by car has become a lot simpler. The European Commission has enacted a series of common regulations governing the mutual recognition of driving licences, the validity of car insurance and the possibility of registering your car in a host country. Our driving licence in the EU There is at the moment no common EU driving licence but the EU Member States have introduced a “Community Model” licence. This common model ensures that driving licences issued by different EU countries can be easily recognised in other Member States. The principle of mutual recognition is generally applied. Licences are issued in accordance with national law, but should incorporate provisions concerning the Community Model such as the basic conditions for granting a licence. Old driving licences issued before 1996 do not have to be exchanged for the new Community Model driving licence and remain valid until they expire. If an EU citizen takes up residence in another Member State he does not need to exchange his driving licence although for practical reasons many people often do. Some Member States also require additional data to be entered onto licences in order to fulfil particular administrative requirements. In the event of expiry, loss or theft, a new driving licence can be issued in the Member State of residence in accordance with national rules. Citizens should contact the competent authorities. Registering your car in the host country If you reside in another EU Member State and drive your car there for more than six months you will be obliged to register your car with the local authorities and pay the host country‟s registration tax. Car Insurance EU citizens can insure their car in any EU country as long as the chosen insurance company has been licensed by the host national authority to issue the relevant insurance policies. A company based in another Member State is entitled to sell a policy for compulsory civil liability only if certain conditions have been met. Insurance will be valid throughout the Union, no matter where an accident takes place. Taxation Value Added Tax or VAT on motor vehicles is ordinarily paid in the country where the car is purchased although under certain conditions, VAT is paid in the country of destination. Registration procedures and residence permits EU citizens may enter Romania upon presentation of a national identity document or a valid passport. The border police will not place an entry stamp on either of these documents. Family members who are not EU citizens may enter Romania using a valid passport bearing an entry visa granted by a Romanian diplomatic mission and consular office (except for cases where the visa obligation has been removed by law). Any family member who is not an EU citizen but owns a valid document proving his/her residence in another Member State as a family member of an EU citizen will be exempt from the obligation to obtain a visa. Within a maximum of 15 days of their arrival in Romania, EU citizens or, as the case may be, their family members, must report to the nearest office of the Romanian Border Police or the Romanian Immigration Office and declare their presence in Romania. EU citizens entering the territory of Romania are entitled to an unconditional right of residence for a period of 3 months after their arrival. If EU citizens stay in Romania longer than 3 months they have to prove that they are employed or self- employed, or that they have medical insurance and the necessary means of support, or that they are attending an educational institution. Family members of EU citizens who are accompanying the latter or who subsequently join them enjoy the same right of residence in Romania irrespective of their own citizenship. EU citizens who can demonstrate uninterrupted legal residence in Romania for a period of at least 5 years gain the right to permanent residence and to a permanent residence card. People who do not have EU citizenship, but have resided uninterruptedly in Romania for a period of at least 5 years as family members of a resident or permanently resident EU citizen enjoy the same right. EU citizens must prove that they are employed or self-employed, or that they have medical insurance and the necessary means of support, or that they are attending an educational institution. Residence cards are issued by the Romanian Immigration Office in response to applications filed within the first 3 months of arrival in Romania. Useful links: - www.mae.ro (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) - www.mai.gov.ro (Ministry of Interior and Administration Reform) - www.politiadefrontiera.ro (Romanian Border Police) - aps.mai.gov.ro (Romanian Immigration Office) Checklist for before and after you arrive in a country Before leaving for Romania, the documents required for those family members of EU citizens who are not EU citizens should be obtained from a Romanian consulate in the EU Member State of residence. Initially, it will be necessary to obtain the European Social Insurance and Health Card, a document which gives an insured person the right to medical services if required during a temporary stay in another EU Member State. Without this card, fees for medical services received must be paid in full or these amounts must be reimbursed, upon request, from the country of origin. EU citizens entering the territory of Romania have an unconditional right of residence for a period of 3 months after their arrival. If EU citizens stay in Romania longer than 3 months they must prove that they are employed or self-employed, or that they have medical insurance and the necessary means of support, or that they are attending an educational institution. Residence cards are issued by the Romanian Immigration Office in response to applications submitted within the first 3 months of arrival in Romania. If you intend to work in Romania but do not have an employment contract you must register with the nearest Local Employment Agency. To do this, you will require an identity document certifying your current address in Romania. To find the right job, you should present documents certifying your education and qualifications. These documents should be in Romanian. For accommodation, it is advisable to resolve this issue within the very first month, which means that it may be sufficient to reserve a place to stay before arriving in Romania, but for a limited period of time, and later on, while in Romania, seek permanent accommodation. The national currency is the LEU (RON). This can be exchanged at the airport, in banks or private exchange offices. If using a private exchange office you should pay attention to the commission you are asked to pay before the transaction occurs. If you are accompanied by your family and some of your family members are still attending school you should find out what documents are required for enrolment in Romanian schools and take with you the relevant documents issued by the competent authorities in the respective country of origin. It is very important that families with children look for places in kindergartens or schools in good time. A driving licence issued by a Member State will be valid up to its expiry date, after which, if the holder is interested in moving to Romania, the licence will be replaced upon request, in the same manner in which Romanian citizens replace their licences upon expiry. After arrival in Romania, integration measures should be taken: registering your stay, applying for a residence permit (including for family members if necessary), informing the local authorities of your new address. If you intend to be self-employed in Romania you should first enquire about obtaining a fiscal (tax) registration code from the National Fiscal Administration Agency. As of 1 January 2008, employees will be required to register with a private pension fund of their choice if they are not already part of such a scheme. This is because the second pillar of the compulsory pension fund is a private one, based on the capitalisation of contributions. Useful links: - www.mae.ro (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) - www.cnas.ro (National Health Insurance Office) - www.anofm.ro (National Agency for employment) - www.edu.ro (The Ministry for Education and Research) - www.anaf.mfinante.ro (National Agency for Fiscal Administration) WORKING CONDITIONS Overview of Working Conditions in Europe Quality of work and employment - a vital issue, with a strong economic and humanitarian impact. Good working conditions are important for the well-being of workers in Europe. They contribute to the physical and psychological welfare of people in Europe and contribute to the economic performance of the EU. From a humanitarian point of view the quality of the working environment has a strong influence on the overall work and life satisfaction of workers in Europe. From an economic point of view, high-quality job conditions are a driving force of economic growth and a foundation for the competitive position of the European Union. A high level of job satisfaction is an important factor for achieving high productivity in the eco nomy of the EU. It is therefore a core issue for the European Union to promote the creation and maintenance of a sustainable and pleasant working environment – one that promotes the health and well-being of European employees and creates a good balance between work and leisure. Improving working conditions in Europe: an important objective for the European Union. Ensuring favourable working conditions for European citizens is a priority for the EU. The European Union is therefore collaborating with national governments to ensure a pleasant and safe environment in the workplace. Support to Member States is provided through: the exchange of experience between different countries and common actions; the establishment of Europe-wide minimum requirements for working conditions and health and safety at work, to be applied all over the European Union. Criteria for the quality of work and employment In order to achieve sustainable working conditions it is important to determine what makes a favourable working environment and thus the criteria for the quality of working conditions. The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (EUROFOUND) in Dublin is an EU agency that, as its name implies, provides information, advice and expertise on living and working conditions. This agency has established several criteria for job and employment quality, which include: health and well-being at the workplace – this is a vital criterion, since good working conditions imply the prevention of health problems in the workplace, reducing exposure to risk and improving work organisation; reconciliation of working and non-working life – citizens should be given the chance to find a balance between the time spent at work and at leisure; skills development – a quality job is one that gives possibilities for training, improvement and career opportunities. The work of Eurofound will contribute to the planning and design of better living and working conditions in Europe. Health and safety at work The European Commission has undertaken a wide scope of activities to promote a healthy working environment in the EU Member States. Among other things, it developed a Community Strategy for Health and Safety at Work for the period 2002-2006. This strategy was set up with the help of national authorities, social partners and NGOs. It focuses on the promotion of international cooperation and the necessity of a strong culture of prevention. A new strategy for the period 2007-2012 is underway. The Community policy on health and safety at work aims at a long-lasting improvement of the well-being of EU workers. It takes into account the physical, moral and social dimensions of working conditions, as well as the new challenges brought by the enlargement of t he European Union towards countries from Central and Eastern Europe. The introduction of EU standards for health and safety at the workplace has contributed a lot to the improvement of the situation of workers in these countries. Improving working conditions by setting minimum requirements common to all EU countries Improving living and working conditions in the EU Member States depends largely on the establishment of common labour standards. EU labour laws and regulations have set the minimum requirements for a sustainable working environment and are now applied in all Member States. The improvement of these standards has strengthened workers‟ rights and is one of the main achievements of the EU‟s social policy. Recognition of diplomas and qualifications The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers. The possibility of obtaining recognition of one‟s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in any decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in the different Member States. Only such a system will prevent a lack of recognition of professional qualifications becoming an obstacle to workers‟ mobility within the EU. The main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to practise his or her profession freely in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements governing access to certain professions in host countries. To overcome these differences the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. This system distinguishes between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State. Steps towards the transpare ncy of qualifications in Europe The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe: increased co-operation in vocational education and training, with the intention of combining all instruments for the transparency of certificates and diplomas into one single, user- friendly tool. This includes, for example, the European CV or the Europass Training. The development of concrete actions in the field of recognition and quality in vocational education and training. Going beyond differences in the education and training systems throughout the EU Education and training systems in the EU Member States still reveal substantial differences. The latest enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences. In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has enacted a series of instruments aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes. 1. The European Qualifications Framework The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee the smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas. 2. The National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARICs) A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role in the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU. 3. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus. 4. Europass Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It comprises five standardised documents: 1. a CV (Curriculum Vitae), 2. a language passport, 3. certificate supplements, 4. diploma supplements, and 5. a Europass Mobility document. The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system. Recognition of diplomas and qualifications in Romania The recognition of diplomas and qualifications for the recognised professions in Romania applies to any citizen of an EU Member State or of the EEA who wants to work in Romania independently or as an employee. The institution responsible for the recognition of diplomas is the National Centre for Recognition and Equivalence of Diplomas in the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth. The Centre also recognises the diplomas and study documents of foreign citizens requesting work permits. A diploma is a document or set of documents certifying the level of training, which: was issued by a competent authority in an EU or EEA state; certifies that the holder has completed a cycle of higher education of at least 3 years or of an equivalent duration in a longer term form of education or in a university, a higher education institution or another institution at a similar level, following training courses alongside the higher education cycle, where the state of origin imposes such conditions; certifies the fact that the holder has the professional qualification required for a regulated profession or for occupying a job in the state of origin, only if the training certified by the documents mentioned in this paragraph was mainly obtained in the EU or EEA or where the holder of such documents has acquired professional experience of at least 3 years, certified in a Member State which recognises a diploma issued by a non-EU state. Likewise, any document issued by a competent authority in a Member State is considered to be a diploma if it refers to training acquired in the EU or EEA. Diplomas should also be recognised by the competent authority of a Member State with an equivalent level to the above- mentioned ones, only if that State stipulates the same access rights to a profession regulated in the Member State of origin. Useful link: - www.cnred.edu.ro (National Centre for Recognition and Equivalence of Diplomas Granted Abroad) Kinds of employment According to the Romanian Labour Code, an individual becomes able to work at the age of 16. However, with the consent of their parents or legal guardians an individual may sign an employment contract as a salaried person at the age of 15, with a view to carrying out activities that are appropriate for their stage of physical development, skills and knowledge, and provided that this does not jeopardise their health, development or professional training. Difficult, harmful or hazardous jobs may be performed only by persons aged 18 or over. These jobs are determined by Government Decision. Employment contracts may be permanent or fixed-term, with full-time or part-time working hours. A full-time employment contract involves 8 working hours per day (40 hours/5 weekly days). A part-time employment contract involves at least 2 working hours per day or 10 working hours per week. The legal working hours limit may not exceed 48 ours per week, including overtime. Working hours for young people aged 18 or under are limited to 6 hours per day and 30 hours per week. In addition, they are not permitted to work overtime. Working hours can be organised in shifts, including night shifts. However, normal working hours prevail. Employers may normally impose a probationary period of 30 calendar days for operational positions and of no more than 90 calendar days for management positions. The probationary period is 5 working days for jobs involving unskilled labour. Graduates may undergo a probationary period of 3 to 6 months. Any probationary period counts as length of service. EU citizens may occupy any employment position, except public office, for which Romanian citizenship is necessary. The employer is the legal entity or individual that hires its work force on the basis of an individual employment contract. For more information concerning labour relations, labour protection and occupational health and safety, contact the Office of the Labour Inspectorate, visit the website of this institution or the website of the Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities. Useful links: - www.mmssf.ro (Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.inspectmun.ro (Labour Inspection) Employme nt contracts An employment contract is required by law. Such contracts set out several elements, such as: the identity of the parties, job location, the employer‟s registered address, a job description, job-specific risks, the date of commencement of the contract, the amount of annual leave to which an employee is entitled, the base salary, any other elements included in the remuneration, the frequency of salary payments, normal working hours (in hours/day and days/week), and the collective employment contract regulating an employee‟s working conditions. Individual employment contracts are registered with the Employees‟ General Register at the Office of the Labour Inspectorate. An employer is under an obligation to provide employees with a copy of their employment contract (registered with the Local Labour Inspectorate to which the employing company belongs), signed by both parties. Fixed-term individual employment contracts may be drawn up for a period of up to 12 months and may be extended to no longer than 18 months. Where a fixed-term individual employment contract has been set up to replace an employee whose individual employment contract has been suspended, the fixed-term contract expires as soon as the causes determining the suspension of the latter‟s individual employment contract cease to exist. Should there be any changes to an employment relationship the employer must notify the employee in writing of these changes. The employer also notifies the Local Labour Inspectorate within 5 days. For more information about labour relations, labour protection and occupational health and safety, contact the Office of the Labour Inspectorate, visit the website of this institution or the website of the Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities. Useful links: - www.mmssf.ro (Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.inspectmun.ro (Labour Inspection) Special categories The special categories of employees protected by the Romanian Labour Code are: young people aged 18 or under, people with disabilities, and immigrants. Working hours for young people aged 18 or under are limited to 6 hours per day and 30 hours per week. They may not undertake overtime or night work. In addition, night work may not be imposed on pregnant women, women who have recently given birth or nursing mothers. Young people aged 18 or under are entitled to a lunch break of at least 30 minutes where daily working time exceeds 4 hours and 30 minutes. According to the provisions of the Labour Code, employees are entitled to a minimum annual leave of 20 working days. Young people aged 18 or under are entitled to additional annual leave of at least 3 working days. People with disabilities may be employed in protected workplaces, organised especially by securing appropriate facilities and adjustments so as to eliminate any impediments. People with disabilities may also work from home, in which case the individual or legal entity employing them must provide transportation to and from the employee‟s home of any raw materials used and of the end products made by the employee. People with disabilities who are on an individual employment contract shall be entitled to all workplace adjustments and facilities required to eliminate all impediments to their work activities. People with severe, substantial or average disabilities who are on an individual employment contract enjoy special protection rights. The institution responsible for the protection of people with disabilities is the National Authority for People with Disabilities. Refugees are a category of foreigners enjoying legal protection in Romania. They are granted free access to the Romanian labour market and are entitled to access to the social insurance system (unemployment and health benefits). Foreign citizens coming from non-EU states are granted access to the Romanian labour market to the extent that vacant positions cannot be occupied by Romanian or EU/EEA citizens. They then become entitled to the Romanian social insurance system. To be employed, such citizens require a work permit issued by the Romanian Immigration Office. Useful links: - www.anph.ro (Autoritatea Nationala pentru Protectia Persoanelor cu Handicap) - aps.mai.gov.ro (The Romanian Immigration Office) - www.mmssf.ro (The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.cnpas.org (National House of Pensions and other Social Insurance Rights) Self-employment Individuals who are either Romanian or EU/EEA citizens may carry out business activities on Romanian territory as self-employed persons or as part of family trusts under the provisions of Law No 300/2004 on the authorisation of individuals and family businesses to carry out independent business activities. Individuals and family businesses may be authorised to carry out business activities in all fields, trades and professions, with the exception of those regulated by special laws. Individuals carrying out independent business activities, as well as individuals who are members of family businesses, are self-employed. Self-employment status refers to the right of being a beneficiary of the public pension and other social insurance rights systems, the social health insurance system and the unemployment benefits system, in accordance with the relevant laws. Workers who carry out independent business activities, as well as family businesses authorised in accordance with Law No 300/2004, may not employ other persons on individual employment contracts to carry out the activities for which the legal authorisation for self- employment has been obtained. Individuals carrying out independent business activities and family businesses must hold an authorisation and a registration certificate issued in accordance with the legal provisions in force. Self-employed workers are required to register with the Trade Register Office, as authorised individuals. Useful links: - www.mmssf.ro (The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.onrc.ro (The National Trade Register Office) Remuneration Upon establishment and payment of salaries, any form of discrimination – whether related to gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, race, skin colour, ethnicity, religion, political orientation, social origin, disabilities, family status or responsibilities, trade union affiliation or activity – is prohibited. Paid salaries include the base salary and various types of allowances (for night work, shift work, or overtime). The payment of salaries prevails over any other financia l obligations an employer might have. The salaries of staff hired by public authorities and institutions are financed entirely or in great part from the state budget, the public social insurance budget, the local budget and the special funds budgets, established in accordance with the legal provisions in force, upon consultation with trade union representatives. The national gross minimum wage is established by government decision upon consultation with trade union and employer association representatives. Employers are under an obligation to inform their employees with respect to the guaranteed national gross minimum wage. Employers must pay their employees wages that are not lower than the guaranteed national gross minimum wage. The national gross minimum wage guaranteed as of 1 January 2008 is RON 500.00 RON (approximately EUR 135). For private sector employees, the Collective Labour Agreement establishes some coefficients for the salaries‟calculation depending on the employee‟s study level. University graduates earn at least 2Xgross minimum wage (1000 RON or ~270 EUR) In Romania, all employees and employers are required to pay contributions to the social insurance budget, the health fund, the unemployment fund and the state budget, in the for m of income tax - see chapter 4.3 (Income and taxes). Useful links: - www.mmssf.ro (The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.inspectmun.ro (Labour Inspection) Working time Full- time working hours are 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. Working time may not exceed 48 hours per week, including overtime. Working hours for young people aged 18 or under are limited to 6 hours per day and 30 hours per week. If shift work is performed, working time may exceed 8 hours per day and 48 hours per week, provided that the total number of working hours, calculated for a period of up to 3 weeks, does not exceed 8 hours per day and 48 hours per week. Working time, including overtime, may exceptiionally exceed 48 hours per week, provided that the average number of working hours, calculated for a reference period of 3 calendar months, does not exceed 48 hours per week. For certain fields of activity, units or professions, a daily working time shorter or longer than 8 hours may be established following collective or individual negotiations, or by means of specific normative acts. A daily working time of 12 hours must be followed by a 24-hour rest period. Overtime is compensated either by paid time off in lieu within the following 30 days or by granting additional pay. Additional pay is established following negotiations under the terms of the collective employment contract or the individual employment contract, as appropriate, and it may not be lower than 75% of the base salary. Young people aged 18 or less may not perform overtime work. Work performed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. is classified as night work. Normal working time for employees who perform night work may not exceed an average of 8 hours per day, calculated for a reference period not longer than 3 calendar months, while abiding by the legal provisions in force with respect to weekly resting time. Employees who perform night work are entitled to: a 1-hour reduction of the normal daily working time for days in which they perform at least 3 hours of night work, without any reduction in their base salary; or additional pay of at least 15% of the base salary for every night-time working hour. Workloads are established by employers in accordance with the legislation in force or, if no applicable legislation exists, they are established by employers with the consent of trade union or employees‟ representative as appropriate. Workloads must be established for all categories of employees. According to the Labour Code, the following rest periods are granted to employees: lunch break, daily rest, weekly rest and public holidays. In cases where daily working time exceeds 6 hours employees are entitled to a lunch break and other breaks in accordance with the terms of the applicable collective employment contract or with the terms of the employer‟s internal rules. Young people aged 18 or less are entitled to a lunch break of at least 30 minutes if their daily working time exceeds 4½ hours. Unless otherwise established under an applicable collective labour agreement and the a company‟s own rules, breaks are not included in the normal daily working time. Weekly rest consists of two consecutive days, usually Saturdays and Sundays. Non-working public holidays are: 1 and 2 January; the first and second day of Easter; 1 May; 1 December; the first and second day of Christmas; 2 days for each of the two annual religious holidays, declared as such by legally recognised religions other than Christian, for persons affiliated to these religions. Useful links: - www.mmssf.ro (The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.inspectmun.ro (Labour Inspection) Leave (annual leave, parental leave etc) There are several types of paid leave in Romania: Annual paid leave is guaranteed to all employees; the minimum length of annual leave is 20 working days according to the provisions of the Labour Code, or 21 working days according to the National Collective Labour Agreement. Public holidays established under the law and the collective labour agreement are not included in the duration of the annual paid leave. This leave must be taken every year. For the leave period, employees receive an allowance not lower than their base salary plus any other permanent allowances or additional payments normally due for the respective period, as stipulated in their individual employment contracts. The paid leave allowance is calculated as the daily average of salary entitlements received in the 3 months prior to the leave, multiplied by the number of leave days. The paid leave allowance must be paid by the employer at least 5 working days before the commencement of the leave period. According to the Labour Code, paid non-working days – not included in the duration of paid annual leave – are granted in case of exceptional family events. The nature of exceptional family events and the amount of paid non-working days are established under by law, the applicable collective labour agreement or the internal regulations. Private sector employees are entitled to paid non-working days for exceptional family events or other situations, as follows: marriage of employee – 5 days; marriage of an employee‟s child – 2 days; birth of a child – 5 days + 10 days in case the employee attended infant care courses; death of spouse, child, parents, parents-in- law – 3 days; death of grandparents, brothers, sisters – 1 day; blood donors – according to the legal provisions in force; upon change of employment within the same company, when relocating to another town – 5 days. Vocational training leave. Employees are entitled, upon request, to vocational training leave. Such leave may be paid or not paid. The sick leave and social health insurance allowances to which employees are legally entitled are as follows: sick leave and allowances for temporary work disability caused b y common illnesses or accidents which occurred outside work; sick leave and allowances for illness prevention and recovery of the ability to work, only for situations resulting from work-related accidents or occupational illnesses; maternity leave and allowances, leave and allowances for caring for a sick child, maternal risk-related leave and allowances. Useful links: - www.mmssf.ro (The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.inspectmun.ro (Labour Inspection) - www.cnas.ro (The National Health Insurance Office) Ending employment An individual employment contract may be lawfully terminated by either the employer or the employee. An individual employment contract is terminated de jure in the following cases: on the date the retirement decision is issued: age limit retirement, early retirement, partial early retirement or work incapacity retirement, according to the legal provisions in force; following a court custodial sentence, from the date the sentence becomes final; from the date of withdrawal by the relevant authorities or bodies of the permits, authorisations or certificates required to perform the work stipulated in the employment agreement; following a court sentence which forbids the employee to carry out a certain activity or to hold a certain position, as a safety measure or as a complementary punishment, from the date the respective court sentence becomes final; upon the date of expiry of a fixed-term individual employment contract; in the case of employees aged 15 to 16, upon withdrawal of agreement to work from the parents or legal guardians. Dismissal is termination of the individual employment contract by the employer. Dismissal may be imposed for reasons pertaining or not to the individual employee. Dismissal for reasons not pertaining to the employee may be individual or collective. Collective dismissal means the dismissal, within 30 calendar days, for one or several reasons not pertaining to the employees, of a number of employees regulated by law, in direct proportion to the total number of employees. A dismissal decision must be communicated in writing to the employee co ncerned, and must contain the following: the reasons for dismissal; length of notice (15 working days). Resignation is the unilateral voluntary act of an employee who, by means of a written notification, communicates to the employer the termination of his or her individual employment contract after serving a period of notice. Notice periods are stipulated by the parties in individual employment contracts or in the applicable collective labour agreements, as appropriate, and cannot exceed 15 calendar days for employees in operational positions and 30 days for employees in management positions. The public system includes the following pension categories: Age limit pensions Early retirement pensions Partial early retirement pensions Work incapacity pensions Survivor‟s pensions Useful links: - www.mmssf.ro (The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.inspectmun.ro (Labour Inspection) - www.cnpas.org (National House of Pensions and Other Social Insurance Rights) - www.ms.ro (Ministry for Health) Representation of workers Trade unions are independent non-profit legal bodies set up to protect and promote collective and individual rights, as well as the professional, economic, social, cultural and sport-related interests of their members. Trade union representatives take part in the negotiation and conclusion of collective labour agreements, conventions and agreements with public authorities or employers‟ organisations, as well as in specific structures for social dialogue. By law, trade unions are free to associate into federations, confederations or local units. The right of employees to join a trade union is recognised by all employers, and it is among the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. Useful links: - www.cnslr- fratia.ro (C.N.S.L.R. – The National Confederation of Free Trade Unions in Romania) - www.bns.ro (B.N.S.– The National Trade Union Bloc) - www.cartel-alfa.ro (C.N.S.C.A.– The “Cartel Alfa” National Trade union Confederation ) - www.csnmeridian.ro (C.S.N.Meridian – The “Meridian” National Trade Union Confederation) Labour disputes - strikes All disputes between employees and the institutions that employ them concerning professional, social or economic interests or rights resulting from employment relationships are called labour disputes. Labour disputes relating to the establishment of working conditions during the negotiation of collective labour agreement terms are disputes which refer to the professional, social or economic interests of employees, hereafter called conflicts of interest. Labour disputes relating to the exercise of rights or fulfilment of obligations established by law or other legislation, as well as by collective or individual employment contracts, are disputes which refer to employees‟ entitlements, hereafter called entitlement conflicts. A strike may start only after all attempts of solving a conflict of interest by means of legal procedures have failed and on condition that the management of a unit has been given 48 hours‟ notice with respect to the commencement of a strike. Prior to the commencement of a strike mediation and arbitration of the conflict of interest are mandatory only if both parties agree to go through these steps. Employees are entitled to go on strike in order to protect their professional, economic and social interests . A strike represents a voluntary and collective cessation of work by employees. Employees are free to decide with respect to their participation in a strike. No employee may be forced to participate or not to participate in a strike. Limitations or restrictions or the right to strike are only possible in those cases and for those categories of employees which are expressly mentioned by the legislation in force. Taking part in a strike and organising a strike under the terms of the law are not deemed as breaches of employee duties and they may not result in disciplinary sanctions against those employees on strike or against strike organisers. Useful links: - www.mmssf.ro (The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.inspectmun.ro (Labour Inspection) Vocational training Adults are entitled to equal access to vocational training, without any form of discrimination – whether related to age, gender, race, ethnicity, political or religious affiliation. Business companies, national companies and societies, autonomous institutions and other units subordinated to the central or local public authorities, units and institutions financed from public and or non-public resources (employers) will take all measures required to provide their employees with the conditions they need in order to have access to vocational training. It is advisable that employees attend vocational training courses organised by institutions which are legally authorised for this purpose. Under the terms specified by the legislation in force, jobseekers may attend vocational training courses organised by the National Employment Agency or other legally authorised providers. Lifelong vocational training is subsequent to the initial training and helps adults either develop the vocational competences they already have or acquire new competences. Following a proposal from the National Council for Adult Vocational Training and based on national development and action plans for governing programmes and sector strategies, the Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities and the Ministry of Education and Research draft national policies and strategies concerning human resources development, including adult vocational training, which are then submitted to the government for approval. Vocational training providers may organise vocational training programmes awarding qualification or graduation certificates upon completion. These certificates may be recognised at a national level only if vocational training activities are mentioned in the providers‟ articles of association, or upon their authorisation to perform independent activities, as the case may be, and if they are legally authorised to perform such activities. Useful links: - www.mmssf.ro (The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.inspectmun.ro (Labour Inspection) - www.anofm.ro (National Agency for Employment) - www.cnfpa.ro (National Council for Adult Vocational Training) - www.edu.ro (Ministry for Education and Research) LIVING CONDITIONS Summary of living conditions in Europe Quality of life – on top of the EU‟s social policy agenda Favourable living conditions depend on a wide range of factors, such as quality healthcare services, education and training opportunities or good transport facilities, just to name a few aspects affecting citizens‟ everyday life and work. The European Union has set for itself the aim of constantly improving the quality of life in all its Member States, and to take into account the new challenges of contemporary Europe, such as socially excluded people or an ageing population. Employment in Europe Improving employment opportunities in Europe is a key priority for the European Commission. With the prospect of tackling the problem of unemployment and increasing the mobility between jobs and regions, a wide variety of initiatives at EU level are being developed and implemented to support the European Employment strategy. These include the European Employment Service (EURES) and the future PROGRESS programme (2007- 2013). The latter will replace all existing Community programmes and budget lines in the fields of employment, social inclusion and protection, working conditions, gender equality and anti-discrimination. Health and healthcare in the European Union Health is a cherished value, influencing people‟s daily lives and therefore an important priority for all Europeans. A healthy environment is crucial for our individual and professional development, and EU citizens are ever more demanding about health and safety at work and the provision of high quality healthcare services. They require quick and easy access to medical treatment when travelling across the European Union. EU health policies are aimed at responding to these needs. The European Commission has developed a coordinated approach to health policy, putting into practice a series of initiatives that complement the actions of national public authorities. The Union‟s common actions and objectives are included in EU health programmes and strategies. The current EU Public Health Programme works towards improving the EU‟s capability to respond to cross-border health threats and improve information and knowledge about latest developments in the public health sector. A new strategy has been designed in the area of health and consumer protection, which further underlines the need to improve citizens‟ health security and disseminate health knowledge. Education in the EU Education in Europe has both deep roots and great diversity. Already in 1976, education ministries decided to set up an information network to better understand educational policies and systems in the then nine-nation European Community. This reflected the principle that the particular character of an educational system in any one Member State ought to be fully respected, while coordinated interaction between education, training and employment systems should be improved. Eurydice, the information network on education in Europe, was formally launched in 1980. In 1986, attention turned from information exchanges to student exchanges with the launch of the ERASMUS programme, often cited as one of the most successful initiatives of the EU. The experience gathered over a quarter of a century has been consolidated and developed into the SOCRATES programme, covering all areas of education at all ages and levels of ability. To facilitate the introduction of European studies in universities, the Commission is also supporting the Jean Monnet project, offering start-up subsidies for the establishment of Jean Monnet Chairs, permanent courses, modules in European law, European economy, political studies of European construction, and the history of European integration. The project also supports the creation of Jean Monnet Centres of Excellence. Transport in the EU Transport was one of the first common policies of the then European Community. Since 1958, when the Treaty of Rome entered into force, the EU‟s transport policy has focused on removing border obstacles between Member States, thereby enabling people and goods to move quickly, efficiently and cheaply. This principle is closely connected to the EU‟s central goal of a dynamic economy and cohesive society. The transport sector generates 10% of EU wealth measured by gross domestic product (GDP), equivalent to about one billion Euros a year. It also provides more than ten million jobs. The Schengen area The Schengen Convention, in effect since March 1995, abolished border controls within the area of the signatory States and created a single external frontier where checks have to be carried out in accordance with a common set of rules. Thirteen EU Member States are currently fully signed up to the Schengen Agreement. They are Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland and Sweden. Denmark has signed the Agreement, but it can choose whether or not to apply any new decision taken under the agreement. Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, which are not EU Members, have signed the agreement as well, but Switzerland doesn‟t apply the regulations yet. Air transport The creation of a single European market in air transport has meant lower fares and a wider choice of carriers and services for passengers. The EU has also created a set of rights to ensure that air passengers are treated fairly. Air passenger rights As an air passenger, you have certain rights when it comes to information about flights and reservations, damage to baggage, delays and cancellations, denied boarding, compensation in case of accident or difficulties with package holidays. These rights apply to scheduled and chartered flights, both domestic and international, from an EU airport or to an EU airport from one outside the EU, when operated by an EU airline. Rail transport Europe‟s rail transport system is characterised by numerous obstacles to interoperability of the national networks. Different gauge widths, different systems for the supply of electricity, and major differences in the organisation of the rail traffic management systems cause significant delays at border crossings and therefore extra costs. Rail transport has thus become less competitive in recent years than transport by road for example. To overcome existing problems, as part of its Common Transport Policy the European Community has adopted legislation to pave the way for the gradual establishment of an integrated European railway area, both legally and technically. The political, administrative and legal systems The Constitution, voted by the Constituent Assembly in November 1991 and validated by referendum on 8 December 1991, established Romania as a democratic and social state, governed by the rule of law. In 2003, the Constitution was repromulgated following amendments and approval by national referendum. Human dignity, civic rights and liberties, the unlimited growth of human personality, justice and political pluralism are supreme values enshrined in the Constitution (Article 1). The Constitution establishes the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers. The Parliament consists of two assemblies, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, and is elected by universal suffrage for a 4- year term. The Parliament is the supreme representative body of the Romanian people and the sole legislature of the country. The President of Romania is elected by all Romanian citizens by universal suffrage; a term of office lasts for five years. The President represents the Romanian state and monitors the observance of the Constitution and the governance of public authorities. He also nominates the candidate for the office of Prime Minister and appoints the Government following the Parliament‟s confidence vote. The Government implements the country‟s domestic and foreign policies and governs the public administration. Local administration is governed by the principle of local autonomy and decentralisation of public services. Local councils and mayors, elected by direct vote, act as autonomous authorities and solve public issues in villages and cities. The Government appoints a prefect for each county and the municipality of Bucharest. The Judiciary includes Courts, the Ministerul Public (Public Prosecution Service) and the Supreme Council of Magistrates. Justice is administered through the Supreme Court of Justice, county courts, other judicial bodies and courts martial. Judges are independent and subject only to the law. Within the Judiciary, the Ministerul Public (which exercises its functions through prosecutors attached to courts, as laid down by law) represents the general interests of society and protects the rule of law, as well as citizens‟ rights and liberties. Useful links: - www.parlament.ro (The Romanian Parliament) - www.presidency.ro (The Presidential Administration) - www.guv.ro (The Romanian Government) - www.just.ro (The Ministry of Justice) Incomes and taxation From 3th quarter 2007, according to figures provided by the National Institute of Statistics, Romania‟s active population amounted to 10 305 000 people and those in employment came to 9 691 000. The average net wage was RON 1200 RON (approximately EUR 325) in January 2008. There are differences in income between the western and eastern regions. Higher incomes are available in the more developed regions (Bucharest, the North-West), with Bucharest offering the highest incomes in the country. In Romania, all employees and employers pay income tax as follows: Contributions to the social security budget (pension scheme): 9.5% of the employee‟s gross monthly income; 19.75% of the total gross monthly wages earned by employees. This part is paid by employers. Contributions to the unemployment benefit scheme: 0.5 % of the gross monthly income for the insured employees, based on a contract; 1 % of the total gross monthly wages earned by employees and paid by employers. Contributions to the social health insurance scheme: 5.5 % of the employee‟s gross monthly income; 5.5 % of the total gross monthly wages earned by employees and paid by employers. Income tax on any gross salary is 16%. Employers also pay contributions for the public maintenance of employment record books, workers‟ compensation insurance, etc. Every year the Government sets the compulsory gross minimum wage (RON 500 – approximately EUR 135, for 2008). Useful links: - www.anofm.ro(National Agency for Employment ) - www.insse.ro (The National Institute of Statistics) - www.mfinante.ro (The Ministry of Economy and Finance) Cost of living Shopping opportunities vary according to regions and places. In small towns and villages, convenience shops are open during the day, and sometimes overnight. One can also find small non-stop outlets selling food. In the large cities, supermarkets and hypermarkets offer a wide range of products 24 hours a day. Supermarkets are attractive due to their advantages (location – on the outskirts of cities, on city access roads, huge parking lots, lower prices, etc.). Small shops usually sell the same products as the large retail chains but at slightly higher prices. As a rule, small shops are open between 09.00 and 17.00, whereas larger shops and supermarkets stay open until 09.00 or 22.00. Although payment by card is widespread, this is not always possible in small shops. A high proportion of customers choose to buy household appliances and PCs on credit. Credit contracts can be signed on the spot, a method that is promoted in various ways: customers obtain all kinds of goods and do not have to pay interest for such credits. Bigger retailers ha ve launched their own consumer credit cards to stimulate customers to buy on credit or to use bonus points. Banks are open Monday to Friday, from 09.00 to 18.00, and some branches are open on Saturday mornings. All banks are closed on Sundays. Post offices are open Monday to Friday, from 08.00 to 20.00, and some services are available on Saturdays as well, until 13.00. Shopping Centres: BUCUREŞTI MALL Address: Calea Vitan nr. 55-59 Telephone: +4 021/3276700 Fax: +4 021/3276102 Open: Monday - Sunday 09.00 – 22.00 MARIO PLAZA Address: Calea Dorobantilor 172 Telephone: +4 021/2304771; 2304120 Open: Monday – Saturday 10.00 – 21.00; Sunday 10.00 – 16.00 CARREFOUR BUCURESTI Address: Sos. Bucuresti – Pitesti km.11,4 Telephone: +4 021/3167612 Fax: +4 021/3167617 Open: Monday - Sunday 08.00 -10.00 UNIREA SHOPPING CENTER Address: Piaţa Unirii nr. 1, sector 3, Bucureşti Telephone: +4 021/3103011 Open: Monday - Saturday 09-00 - 22.00 / Sunday 10.00 – 16.00 WORLD TRADE PLAZA Address: Bd. Expozitiei nr 2, sector 1 Telephone: +4 021/2241272, fax +4 021/2242770 Open: Monday - Sunday 09.00 – 23.00 Accommodation Accommodation in Romania differs significantly between the capital city and the provinces. Single- family houses are common in villages and small towns, whereas blocks of flats and housing estates are more frequent in big cities. The number of owner-occupied homes is quite large and exceeds the EU average by a long way. Long-term leasing is not very common, and as a result it is not easy to find apartment blocks with rental accommodation. All over the country you can however find rented houses and flats not occupied by their owners. Rent levels may vary significantly by location, ease of access, property condition, etc. According to a survey by the National Institute of Statistics on living conditions in Romania, 95.8 per cent of Romanian dwellings are entirely owned, whereas owner rentals are 1.6 per cent and state rentals are 1 per cent. Just 0.2% of respondents live on properties rented from business entities, and 1.4% live in rent- free dwellings. To get accommodation, one can buy a new dwelling or a second-hand dwelling, or rent. The most convenient way is to purchase real estate from a developer (for instance, you may buy a 110 m2 house with garden for about EUR 100 000). If you want to build your dream home, you may go for a tailor- made construction by hiring independently contracting building teams or by signing a contract with a building company. When purchasing a property, the contract of purchase becomes a public document. The signing of a contract must be witnessed by a public notary who submits it for certification by the Land Registry in charge of real estate records. When renting a dwelling, a private agreement between the two parties must be submitted. Real estate providers can be owners or developers. The Romanian banking market provides a wide range of funding instruments for buying or building a house. If you have decided on a mortgage/real estate credit, it is very important that you carefully study the offers on the market first (for instance, for a monthly net salary of EUR 300, available liquidities evaluated at EUR 10.000 and an interest rate of 7 per cent, the real estate buying power of the Romanian average buyer amounts to about EUR 30,000 per person or EUR 60-70 000 per household). In order to make informed choices, you should seek professional advice from real estate agencies, which are best placed to offer you relevant suggestions and services. Fiscal expenses cover taxes and notarial fees incurred in the process of buying propert y, as well as taxes on property and rental income. These expenses are definitely low in Romania as compared with the rest of Europe, and this contributes to some extent to a higher real estate market price. Useful links: - www.ziare.ro (a portal for Romanian National, Local and Regional Newspapers) - www.imobiliare.ro, www.agentiiimobiliare.ro (portal for real estate agencies) - www.pa.ro (Yellow Pages) Health Systems Social health insurance aims at promoting health, preventing disease and improving the quality of life. Social health insurance, the main scheme for funding basic health care services, is compulsory. Any member of this system is entitled to health care assistance from Romanian health care providers. Services are covered by insurance maintained through set-value contributions. Membership to social health insurance of citizens of EU Member States can be certified through the relevant E-form. The unified national social health insurance fund is administered by the National Health Insurance Agency (CNAS) and by its regional centres. Certain categories are insured without having to pay any contribution: children aged 18 or less, or young people under 26, provided they pursue higher education studies; persons politically oppressed in the past, veterans, invalids and war widows; disabled persons without income; pregnant and women who have recently given birth, if they do not earn income or their income is lower than the national gross minimum wage. Under the above- mentioned law, all those insured are entitled to free medical services such as: medical consultations, prescriptions, and basic hospital care. Primary medical assistance can be provided by family doctors or general practitioners (GPs) or by various practitioner partnerships, in ordinary practices or by the functional integration of distinctly located practices. GP‟s offices provide medical services for both insured - registered and uninsured patients. These offices can provide basic, extended and additional medical care, such as: first aid in medical and surgical emergency; assistance in emergency situations; monitoring chronic diseases: active medical monitoring for the most frequent chronic diseases, prescriptions for medical or/and dietary and hygienic treatments, coordination of periodic checks by specialist doctors; preventive medical care, such as: immunisation, monitoring pregnant and women who have recently given birth, preventing the risk of illness for diagnosed medical conditions, active medical monitoring for average-risk or high-risk asymptomatic adults and children, according to age and gender. Useful links: - www.ms.ro (The Ministry for Health) - www.cnas.ro (The National Health Insurance Office) Educational systems The educational system is considered a national priority in Romania. Education is based on humanist traditions, democratic values and the aspirations of Romanian society, thus contributing to the promotion of national identity. The Romanian educational system uses modern methodologies and strategies, reinforced in practice, in accordance with the objectives set out by each educational system. The state educational system is free of charge. Fees are charged, however, for some activities, as provided by law. The Romanian language is used at all levels. According to current legislation, education may also take place in minority or international languages. The national educational system consists of various kinds of state or private educational institutions and units. Levels of the educational system: The educational system is organised at different levels, providing for coherence and continuity of the teaching- learning process by age and individual characteristics. The national system includes the following educational levels: pre-school: junior, middle and senior kindergarten classes, as well as the preparatory year; primary school: grades 1-4 ; secondary school, which includes: lower secondary school, organised in two stages: gymnasium, grades 5-8, and junior high- school / technical and vocational school, grades 9-10; upper secondary school: college preparatory high-school, grades 11-12/13, followed by an additional year in some cases. Further education; Higher education: graduate and post-graduate studies. Pre-school, primary school, secondary school and further education are part of pre-university education. Upon completion of secondary school, the highest level /degree of qualification is the baccalaureate examination which consists of mandatory tests and optional subjects. The baccalaureate examination is a prerequisite for access to higher education. National higher education is structured at three university levels: Bachelor‟s courses, Master‟s courses, Doctoral studies. Technical and vocational school, and the additional year, make up the vocational education system. Attending primary school and lower secondary school is compulsory. Pre- university education is governed by the Ministry of Education and Research through the agency of school inspectorates, whereas higher education is only coordinated by the same Ministry, respecting academic autonomy. The educational system is organised in several forms, as full- time, part-time and distance learning, or home-based learning for children with special needs. Compulsory education is full-time only. After Romania‟s accession to the European Union, citizens belonging to the European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation have access to any educational system and level in Romania, under the same conditions stipulated for Romanian citizens, and this includes free tuition. Useful links: - www.edu.ro (The Ministry for Education and Research) - www.ase.ro (The Academy of Economic Studies – Bucharest) - www.unibuc.ro (University of Bucharest) - www.ubbcluj.ro (The “Babeş-Bolyai” University of Cluj) - www.uaic.ro (The “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iaşi) - www.tuiasi.ro (The “G.Asachi” University of Iaşi) - www.utt.ro (University of Timişoara) - www.europa.eu.int/ploteus (Portal for learning opportunities in Europe) Cultural and social life There are many opportunities to relax and have fun in Romania. Many events are organised, such as the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest, Music Days in cities like Bucharest, Arad, Bacǎu, Braşov, Iaşi, Sibiu, the Mediaeval Festival in Sighişoara, the Pop Music Festival in Mamaia, the Golden Stag (a pop music festival) in Braşov. Bucharest provides many opportunities for leisure time: cinema halls that spread all over the city, the Botanical Garden, theatres, museums or the Opera Hall for musical and ballet performances. Art lovers can have wonderful moments of enjoyment here. One can go to the theatre or practise sports in all cities or towns, and sports facilities allow for a wide variety of sports to be pursued. The Internet provides search engines in high demand from people looking for information on leisure activities or intending to organise holidays in Romania. Internet users are increasing in numbers and companies in various domains have started campaigns on the net in order to attract more clients. Tourists may find it interesting to know that even the name of the country, Romania, is a reminder of the fact that ancient Roman civilization played a decisive role in the history of this country and that many monuments dating from those times can be visited here. Tourists can choose from a wide range of activities and places to visit. There are traditional and especially created mountain resorts for skiing, or one can go sunbathing on Black Sea beaches. Folklore is a heritage identified by tourists as one of Romania‟s most extraordinary features. Every corner of Romania has places and opportunities for leisure activities. The Danube Delta, the monasteries in Northern Moldavia (included in the UNESCO World Heritage) are highly attractive tourist sites on the map of Europe. One can also admire mediaeval fortresses, Byzantine-style monasteries with external frescoes and peasant houses decorated in specific regional styles, while Dracula‟s castle is just one of the numerous impressive castles and palaces that can be visited. Noble families have always been patrons of the arts and supported the building of monuments in Romania. Folklore festivals in Transylvania are authentic performances of local customs and traditions and not just shows specially produced for tourists. Wooden or ceramic handicrafts, also available for purchase by tourists, are mostly handmade and genuinely valuable, not just cheap souvenirs. For a long time now, outdoor activities have been enthusiastically pursued in Romania. In fact Romanians understand the term “tourism” to mean “mountain hiking”. Also, one should not forget that the Black Sea provides excellent opportunities for practising water sports. All the above mentioned places may be visited taking advantage of the convenience provided by the increasing numbers of hotels and restaurants, the local air transport network, rail and road transport facilities. The local cuisine and wines are a pleasant discovery for new visitors. Useful links: - www.turism ro, www.ici.ro/România/ro/index.html (portals for tourism) - http://tnb.kappa.ro (National Theatre of Bucharest) - http://teatrulnational.iasinet.ro (National Theatre of Iaşi) - http://my.operanb.ro/ (National Opera of Bucharest) - www.opera-brasov.ro (The Opera of Braşov) - www.sapteseri.ro (the gateway for Bucharest‟s leisure activities guide) Private life (birth, marriage, death) Civil status documents are authentic documents which provide evidence of the birth, marriage or death of a person. Birth, marriage and death certificates are issued in two original copies by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. These documents are filled out by hand in special black ink. Foreign citizens residing in or on temporary sojourn in Romania can request that their civil status events be recorded, and the relevant documents issued, under the same conditions as those for Romanian citizens. Birth certificates are issued by the local Public Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the jurisdiction where the child was born, based on the mother‟s ID document and that of the person declaring the birth on the medical certificate stating the birth, issued by the health care institution where the birth has occurred, or based on the parents‟ marriage certificate. In Romania, marriage ceremonies are carried out by the Registrar at the headquarters of the local Public Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the jurisdiction where one of the spouses is resident. The Registrar issues marriage certificates on the spot. Publication of marriage banns is done personally, in writing, by the spouses-to-be at the local Public Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages where the marriage ceremony is to take place. Where one of the spouses does not speak Romanian (namely, where two foreign citizens, or a foreign and a Romanian citizen, are to be married), or where one or both spouses are deaf and/or dumb, an authorised interpreter is required and a written report of the proceedings is prepared. Death certificates are issued by the local Public Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the jurisdiction where the death occurred, based on a verbal statement made by one of members of the deceased person‟s family, by neighbours, by the MD or another health care officer in the institution where the death occurred, and on the medical certificate confirming the death. The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities provides bereavement benefits through local Pension Houses. The amount of bereavement benefits is set annually. For 2007, this amounts to: RON 1 270 (approximately EUR 390) for the funeral of a person insured under the Romanian social security system or that of a retired person. RON 635 (approximately EUR 195) for the funeral of a family member of a person insured under the Romanian social security system or that of a retired person. Useful links: - www.mmssf.ro (The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.dsclex.ro (new legislation) Transport Romania has a wide network of railways and international, national and county roads. After joining the European Union Romania‟s northern and eastern borders have become EU borders, and this will probably make traffic and transport more difficult. Traffic on the Bucharest – Piteşti and Bucharest – Constanţa highways is dense (the latter connects the capital to the Black Sea). Other highways are currently being built. The new Highway Code sets the speed limit at 120 km/h on highways; 90 km/h on national roads outside cities, towns or villages; and 50 km/h inside cities, towns or villages. A host of concessionary fares are available for passengers travelling by train, local buses or inter-county buses: free multiple travel tickets, if applicable; reduced train fares and multiple travel public transport tickets in university cities, for undergraduates; 12 free train journeys per year and a 50% public transport fare reduction for pensioners; free in-city and inter-city transport for disabled persons (children and adults). Inner Danube traffic is very intense in Romania, as is travel on the Black Sea. Sea ports such as Constanţa, Brăila, Galaţi and Sulina are known internationally. All Romanian cities and towns have local public transport. Buses connect city centres with suburban areas and outlying industrial estates. Larger towns have trams and trolley buses. The Bucharest underground network has 4 highways connecting the 6 city sectors (the price of a return ticket is RON 2.00). Local bus fares are reasonable and a large proportion of the population uses public transport. Useful links: - www.tarom.ro (Romanian Air Transport) - www.mt.ro (The Ministry of Transports) - www.voiajcfr.ro (Romanian Railways) - www.ratb.ro (The Bucharest Transport Autonomous Administration) - www.metrorex.ro ( Bucharest underground transport) SOCIAL SECURITY AND INSURANCE Social security in Europe Social security – a vital issue for persons exercising their right of free movement Respecting the principle of free movement of workers requires a clear commitment from all EU Member States that migrant workers, exercising their profession in another Member State, have the right to the same social security benefits as local employees. Providing social protection to EU citizens working outside their country of residence is a crucial issue for the European Union. The EU‟s provisions on social security cover both the Member States of the European Union and the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). Community social security provisions Social security systems in EU countries still show substantial differences, and this calls for a necessary coordination of social security regulations. Common rules ensuring access to social benefits are important to avoid disadvantages for European workers exercising their right of free movement. They are designed to prevent EU citizens from running the risk of being insured twice or losing their social security benefits when moving to another country. Although there is no single European social security system, the EU has set common provisions in the field of social protection. This includes the coordination of national social security schemes without seeking to harmonise national regulations. EU law has laid down common rules and principles to be observed by national local authorities and social security institutions that do not replace, but complement, the social security provisions of Member States. The common social security provisions aim to: stimulate the free movement of workers, by guaranteeing equal treatment of EU nationals under different legislations; guarantee social protection to employees and the self- employed (and their families) in whichever EU country they exercise their activity; ensure that all periods of employment are considered, while periods of overlapping social security systems need to be avoided. The application of common provisions The common regulations do not apply to all national social security legislation. The following benefits are covered: maternity; work incapacity and sickness; family benefits; workplace accidents and occupational illnesses; old-age pensions; survivor benefits; unemployment benefits; bereavement benefits. Who can benefit from social protection within the EU? Social security benefits available in Member States are established by common EU provisions and apply to the following categories of people: workers, who are nationals of an EU Member State and who are or have been insured under the laws of this Member State, as well as members of their family; pensioners, who are nationals of an EU Member State; non-EU country nationals, who are insured under the legislation of a Member State; stateless persons and refugees, as well as their families, if they are working in the EU and are insured under the laws of one of the EU Member States. Affiliation of migrant workers to national social security systems If an EU citizen works in another Member State, it is important to determine which national social security system he/she is subject to – either the one in which they are insured or the one where they exercise their occupation. The requirement to avoid a worker receiving double insurance or no social security at all, requires certain rules settling the basic principles of affiliation to one system and/or the other. Receiving a pension in another Member State EU nationals have the right to retire in another Member State. Countries where a worker has made pension contributions share a proportional responsibility for paying that pension, based on the period of employment. The social security system in this country The following institutions are involved in the enforcement of social security laws and regulations in Romania: the Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities the Ministry of Public Health the National House of Pensions and Other Social Insurance Rights (NHPOSSR) the National Employment Agency (NEA) the National Health Insurance House the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth (MERY) The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities has an important role in coordinating the institutions in charge with social security systems for employees and the self- employed who move within the European Community, as well as for their family members. It also plays an important role in defining policies, adopting legislation, managing an important share of the social security system. NHPOSSR and NEA operate under its jurisdiction. The National Employment Agency, as a national public institution, organizes and co-ordinates activities in the fields of employment and the social protection of the unemployed, and oversees the implementation of employment policies designed by the M inistry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities. Its main responsibilities are to: organise, provide and finance unemployment prevention and employment stimulation services; provide, freely or at cost, professional training courses for the unemployed and for other categories of beneficiaries; advise jobseekers and mediate between them and employers; draw up proposals for the draft unemployment budget; and manage the unemployment insurance budget. The National House of Pensions and Other Social Insurance Rights supervises the allotment of the following benefits: old age pension, early retirement pension, work incapacity pension, survivor pension, indemnities for temporary incapacity for work caused by regular illnesses or accidents when not at work, occupational illnesses and accidents at work, benefits for illness prevention and rehabilitation of work capacity, bereavement benefit. The Ministry of Education and Research oversees the payment of social security benefits, respectively child allowances, as well as the access to full time mandatory education of children of migrant workers from EU member states – all under the same conditions as for Romanian citizens. The Ministry of Public Health and National Health Insurance House are the institutions responsible for providing disability benefits in case of illness and childbirth (maternity indemnity, child benefit and disabled child benefit). Useful links: - www.mmssf.ro (The ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.ms.ro (The Ministry for Health) - www.cnpas.org (The National House of Pensions and Other Social Insurance Rights) - www.anofm.ro (The National Agency for Employment) - www.cnas.ro (The National Health Insurance Office) - www.edu.ro (The Ministry of Education and Research) Unemployment insurance To be entitled to the provisions of the law on unemployment you have to be seeking a job in one of the following situations: you have become unemployed (you have no job or income, or the income you produce out of legitimate activities is lower than the unemployment benefit due to you according to the current law); you could not get a job after graduating from an educational institution or after completion of your military service; you have a job and, for various reasons, wish to change it; you have obtained the status of a refugee or another form of international protection in accordance with the law; you are a foreign citizen or a stateless person who has had a job or produced revenue in Romania, in accordance with the law; you could not get a job after being repatriated or released from detention. You can be insured if you are: a Romanian citizen who is employed or produces income in Romania in accordance with the law, unless a pensioner; a Romanian citizen working abroad and legally employed; a foreign citizen or stateless person who, for the time of permanent or temporary residence in Romania, is employed or produces income in legal conditions. The insured must pay unemployment insurance contribution and are by law entitled to receive unemployment benefits. The system of unemployment insurance provides that the following are insured by law: individuals carrying out activities under an individual employment contract or a temporary employment contract, under the terms of the law, except for those who are retired; civil servants and other individuals working on appointment; individuals working in elected or appointed positions within the executive, legislative or judicial authorities, for the duration of their mandate; military staff employed under a contract; individuals in a working relationship as co-operative members; other individuals who produce income from legal activities but do not fall under any of the above- mentioned categories. The following individuals may be insured under the unemployment insurance system: a sole associate, or associates; administrators under lawful contracts; persons authorised to carry out independent activities; members of family businesses; Romanian citizens legally working abroad; other individuals who produce income from legal activities and who do not fall under any of the categories mentioned above. Calculation of unemployment benefits The unemployed receive unemployment benefits for periods establis hed based on the duration of previous contributions, as follows: 6 months, for individuals having contributed for up to 5 years, but no less than 1 year; 9 months, for individuals having contributed between 5 and 10 years; 12 months, for individuals having contributed over 10 years. Depending on the duration of previous contributions, guaranteed monthly unemployment benefit payments are calculated as follows: 75% of the gross national minimum wage applicable at the date of calculation, for under- one- year contributors; 75% of the gross national minimum wage, plus an amount calculated as a percentage of the average gross basic wage for the last 12 months of the contribution period and set according to the duration of contribution, as follows: 1. 3%, for min-3- year contributors; 2. 5%, for min-5- year contributors; 3. 7%, for min-10- year contributors; 4. 10%, for min-20- year contributors. The unemployed receive unemployment benefits provided they meet all the following conditions: they have contributed for at least 12 months during the 24 months preceding the registration of the application for benefit; do not produce income, or the income they produce from legal activities is less than the gross national minimum wage guaranteed for payment; do not meet the legal conditions for retirement; are registered with the employment agency in the jurisdiction of their permanent or temporary residence, as the case may be, if they had a job or produced income in that city or town. The unemployment benefit is a partial compensation of the loss of income of the insured, incurred after losing a job, after graduating from an educational institution, or after completing military service and failing to gain employment. Graduates of an educational institution, as well as individuals who have completed their military service and have been unable to gain employment, are eligible to receive unemployment benefits as a fixed monthly amount of 50% of the gross national minimum wage guaranteed for payment and applicable on the date when the benefit is calculated. Individuals insured under an unemployment insurance contract must pay into the unemployment insurance budget a monthly contribution of 3.25% of the monthly income stated in the unemployment insurance contract. Useful link: - www.anofm.ro (National Agency for Employment) Sickness Insurance Indemnities for temporary incapacity for work To be entitled to paid sick leave and to health care social insurance benefits, one must have contributed to the Romanian social security system for at least one month within the 12 month- interval before the month of sick leave. Allowances for temporary incapacity for work due to medical reasons are paid by: emplo yers (depending on their number of employees at the date when the A. temporary incapacity for work occurs), as follows: o with up to 20 employees, from the first to the seventh day of temporary incapacity for work; o with between 21 to 100 employees, from the first to the twelfth day of temporary incapacity for work; o with over 100 employees, from the first to the seventeenth day of temporary incapacity for work. B. the social health insurance budget, as follows: o from the day following the interval covered by the employer up to the end of the period of temporary incapacity for work of the insured individual (or up to their retirement); o from the first day of temporary incapacity for work, in case of unemplo yed or other categories of persons (associates or shareholders, members of family businesses, freelancers, administrators or directors under administration or directors‟ contracts). Allowances for temporary incapacity for work caused by occupational illnesses or by workplace accidents are paid from the first day of temporary incapacity up to the end of this condition or up to retirement. Useful links: - www.mmssf.ro (The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.cnpas.org (The National House of Pensions and Other Social Insurance Rights) - www.cnas.ro (The National Health Insurance Office) Family and maternity benefits According to Article 4(2) of Law No 19/17.03.2000 on the public system for pensions and other social insurance rights, as subsequently modified and completed, published in the Romanian Official Journal (M.O.) 140/01.04.2000, one is eligible to be insured if a Romanian citizen, a citizen of another state or a stateless individual with legal permanent or temporary residence in Romania. The maternity allowance paid during the maternity leave period amounts to 85% of the wages, and is payable from the social insurance Budget. Parental benefits Parental leave of absence and parental allowance, payable until a child is 2 years old (or 3 years old for a disabled child), is granted to parents (mothers or fathers) entitled to such benefits, provided they have had wage incomes, have paid taxes for the 12 months preceding the date of birth or, as the case may be, the date of adoption, placement or when the respective individual became the guardian of a child. From 2007 the following benefits are provided: parental allowance, which is a set sum paid for children up to the age of 2 (or 3, for disabled children); set allowances for parents resuming work after rearing children up to the age of 2 (or 3, for disabled children); child allowance, a set sum paid for children from the age of 2 (or 3, for disabled children), regardless whether the parents have any income or not. Child benefit Child allowances are payable for all children of pre-school age and those studying in an educational institution specified by law, up to the age of 18 or until graduation from high school or from vocational school, as provided by law. The application and required documents must be registered with the city, town or village council where the child lives, and the council will forward the file to the local Labour, Family and Equal Opportunity directorate. Payments are made by payment order. Other family benefits Family benefit supplement; Single parent family benefit; Newborn allowance; Orphanage allowance; Allowance for HIV/AIDS infected persons; Benefits for visually impaired persons; Residential heating subsidies. Useful links: - www.mmssf.ro (The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.cnpas.org (The National House of Pensions and Other Social Insurance Rights) - www.cnas.ro (The National Health Insurance Office) Pensions Law No 19/2000 on the public pension system came into force at 1 April 2001. It stipulates a progressive increment of the retirement age for completing the contribution period, as follows: the retirement age is between 62 to 65 for men, and between 57 and 60 for women; a complete contribution period is from 30 to 35 years for men, and from 25 to 30 years for women; the minimum contribution period is between 10 and 15 years. For 2008, the standard retirement age is 58 years and 3-6 months for women, and 63 years and 3-6 months for men. Persons eligible for old age pension are those insured individuals who, at the date of their retirement, fulfil the requirements regarding the standard age for retirement and the minimum contribution period in the public system. Persons eligible for early retirement pension are those insured individuals who have exceeded the complete contribution period by at least 10 years, and as such are entitled to apply for early retirement of up to 5 years before the standard retirement age. The value of the early retirement pension entitlements is calculated under the same terms as that of the old age pension entitlements. Persons eligible for a partial early retirement pension are those insured individuals who have completed their contribution periods or have exceeded the contribution period by up to 10 years. In this case, they may apply for the partial early retirement pension, along with a reduction of the standard retirement age by up to 5 years. The value of partial early retirement pension entitleme nts is calculated as a function of the value of old age pension entitlements, and reduced depending on the level of the paid contribution. The standard retirement age is also reduced by the number of months short of required contribution. Persons eligible for work incapacity pensions are insured individuals who have lost, totally or partially, their capacity to work following accidents at work, occupational illnesses and TBC, common diseases and activity related accidents. Depending on the job tasks performed and the degree of disability acquired, the following levels are considered: First degree: total loss of work capacity, and the disabled person requires permanent care or supervision by another person; Second degree: total loss of work capacity, while the disabled person can manage for him/herself without the help of another person; Third degree: loss of at least half of the work capacity, but the disabled person manages to perform an occupation. A doctor specialised in medical assessment decides on which degree a disabled person qualifies for, based on the required documents. A survivor‟s pension is granted to the surviving children or spouse, provided the deceased person was on a pension scheme or was eligible to receive a pension. Children are entitled to receive a survivor‟s pension up to the age of 16 or until they graduate from an educational institution, provided they are not over 26 years of age. The surviving spouse is entitled to the survivor‟s pension for the rest of his/her life, once he/she has reached the retirement age, provided the marriage lasted at least 15 years and was legal. Useful links: - www.mmssf.ro (The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.cnpas.org (The National House of Pensions and Other Social Insurance Rights) - www.cnas.ro (The National Health Insurance Office) E-forms The authorities that issue E forms in Romania are: The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities (MLFEO) – through the Local Directorates for Labour, Social Solidarity and Family – is in charge with issuing the following E forms: E 401, E 402, E 403, E 404, E 405, E 406, E 407, and E 411 The National House of Pensions and Other Social Insurance Rights (NHPOSSR) – is in charge of issuing the following E forms: E 100, E 102, E 103 The National Employment Agency (NEA) is in charge of issuing the following E forms: E 300, E 301, E 302 and E 303 (01, 2, 3, 4, 5) The National Health Insurance House (NHIH) is in charge of issuing the following E forms: E 104, E 105, E 106, E 107, E 108, E 109, E 110, E 112, E 115,E 116, E 117, E 118, E 120, E 121, E 123, E 124, E 125, E 126 and E 127. Even if you have not filled out the required forms before leaving your country, you will still be able to continue to enjoy the respective right. This is because the authority in the receiving Member State will receive the respective forms from the authority in the state where you were insured. Useful links: - www.mmssf.ro (The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equal Opportunities) - www.anofm.ro (The National Agency for Employment) - www.cnpas.org (The National House of Pensions and Other Social Insurance Rights) - www.cnas.ro (The National Health Insurance Office) Health cards The European Health Insurance Card The European Health Insurance Card is an essential step towards the simplification of our various health care systems. Introduced in June 2004, the card substantially facilitates access to medical assistance for EU citizens travelling to another Member State. Furthermore, it guarantees a quick and simplified reimbursement of expenses incurred locally or shortly after return to the place of residence. Since 1 January 2006, the European Health Insurance Card has been issued and recognised by all concerned countries and replaces the previously used paper forms, such as the E 111. Who is entitled to the EHIC? European Health Insurance Cards are issued to: EU nationals; nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA); Swiss nationals; family members of the above, whatever their nationality; nationals of other countries, who are covered by a social security system in one of the Member States of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland. The EHIC should be requested from one‟s national health insura nce institutions before leaving for another EU country. All EU citizens are strongly advised to carry their European health insurance cards when travelling to other countries. Benefits While the main purpose of the European Health Insurance Card is to e nsure easy access to health services during a temporary stay in another country, it also provides a series of additional benefits, for health care providers, patients and insurers alike. The main advantages of the EHIC may be summarised as follows: facilitated access to health care abroad; quick and easy reimbursement of expenses; security of data; improved reliability; less administration; simplicity – simpler and faster procedures for obtaining health care. Generally speaking, this „smart card‟ contains only basic information such as the card holder‟s name and surname and date of birth, but no medical details. It is simple to use and easily recognisable. The information is presented in a standardised way so that it can be read regardless of language. What is a „Smart Card‟? A "smart card" is a pocket-sized plastic card, which looks identical to normal bank or credit cards. Smart Cards have a small gold chip on the front. When inserted into a specific reader, the chip makes contact with electrical connectors that can read information from the chip and write information back. What information is saved on my health card? The only personal information on the European health insurance card is the card holder‟s surname and first name, personal identification number and date of birth. The European health insurance card does not contain any medical data. Where is my health card accepted? The EHIC can be used to receive any kind of health service, be it at a general pract itioner, a hospital or a pharmacy. The EU Member States are responsible for the introduction and dissemination of the health cards, but also for the provision of all concerned health care facilities with card readers. Using the European Health Insurance Card abroad It is important to note that the health insurance card does not provide for cases in which a patient intentionally decides to obtain medical treatment abroad. Rather, it is intended to insure people travelling to other countries for a limited period and thus covers medical care which becomes necessary during a stay on the territory of another Member State. When a need for access to health care arises, treatment will be provided according to the rules of that particular country (for example if health care is free of charge in that Member State, the visiting patient will also be entitled to free medical care when presenting his/her European Health Insurance Card). The provisional replacement certificate If an individual in need of medical assistance is not in possession of his European Health Insurance Card he can, alternatively, submit a provisional replacement certificate which can easily be sent by fax or e- mail by the relevant home national health insurance institution. This certificate is equivalent to the EHIC and entitles the patient to the same treatment and reimbursement of benefits. The design of the European Health Insurance Card The design of the European Health Insurance Card is identical in all Member States and bears the European symbol. There are two variations of this layout: A standard EU design placed on the front of the card – leaving the back of the card free for content chosen by the respective Member State; A standard EU design placed on the back of the card – in this case the Member State places the EHIC on the back of the existing national or regional health card. Each Member State can opt for one of the possible variants when issuing the health card.