Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Social enterprises, new type of companies in Romania

Law No. 219/2015 on social economy provides for the establishment of new types of enterprises, namely social enterprises and social enterprises of insertion.
The law went into effect in August 2015, setting forth that social enterprises can be represented by: cooperative societies of 1st degree, credit cooperatives, associations and foundations, unions of employees, unions of pensioners, agricultural companies, as well as any other categories of legal entities that meet the definition and principles of social economy, as set out in this law.
According to the law, the social economy contributes to the development of local communities, creating jobs and the involvement of persons belonging to vulnerable groups in social activities and / or economic activities, facilitating their access to community resources and services.
Law no. 292/2011 on social assistance defines "vulnerable group" in art. 6 letter p) as individuals or families who are at risk of losing their capacity to meet the needs of daily living because of cases of disease, disability, poverty, drug addiction or alcohol or other situations that lead to economic and social vulnerability.
The notion of "social enterprise" presented by the law refers to any private legal entity engaged in the social economy, which holds an attestation of social enterprise and complies with the national economy’s principles.
The status of a social enterprise is recognized by granting a certificate of social enterprise, certificate that is issued at the request of the legal entities listed above and is valid for a period of 5 years, with possibility of extension.
The criteria to be met by the social enterprise in order to obtain the certificate are:
◦ acting in a social and / or general interest of the community;
◦ allocates at least 90% of the profit to the social purpose and the statutory reserve;
◦ undertakes to submit the assets remaining after liquidation to one or more social enterprises;
◦ applies the principle of social equity to employees, ensuring fair wage levels, between which there can’t be differences exceeding the 1-8 ratio.
The obligations of social enterprises are as follows:
◦ communicates any changes of the constitutive acts or the acts of establishment to the employment agency, within 15 days of the change;
◦ communicates the activity reports and annual financial statements to the employment agency;
◦ publishes, within 3 months from the end of the calendar year, the annual social report on the developped activity and annual financial statements in the Unique Registry of evidence of social enterprises.
Social enterprises of insertion, on the other hand, are considered those social enterprises that:
◦ permanently have at least 30% of staff belonging to the vulnerable group, so as the cumulative working time of these employees represents at least 30% of the total working time of all employees;
◦ target the fight against exclusion, discrimination and unemployment through social and professional insertion of disadvantaged people.
Furthermore, the insertion social enterprises have an obligation to ensure, for employees who belong to the vulnerable group, accompaniment measures to guarantee the professional and social insertion.
Among the measures of accompaniment, the legal framework on social economy mentions: information, counseling, access to forms of training, adapting the workplace to a person's ability, accessibility of the workplace according to the needs of individuals as well as other measures aiming to support professional and social insertion.
Similar to social enterprises, the status of social enterprises of insertion is certified by awarding the social label, which represents a certificate valid for a period of 3 years starting from date of issue, as well as a specific element of visual identity which mandatorily applies to manufactures, executed works or documents that demonstrate the performance of a service.

Contact one of the lawyers within  the law firm Darie, Manea & Associates for more information on Law no. 219/2015 on social economy and social enterprises, social enterprises of insertion, as well as the means for their establishment in Romania. Do not hesitate to contact our time at any time you see fit for specialized, legal advice on this matter!

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