65% of Romanian companies didn’t apply measures to reduce employee costs

Two thirds (65%) of the responding companies didn’t have to apply measures to reduce employee costs in the two months of the state of emergency, according to the HR Barometer conducted by PwC Romania in May.

Cost-cutting companies have adopted a mix of measures applied differently depending on employees’ positions, in general targeting operational staff in areas most affected by the state of emergency.

Thus, 11% have applied furloughs with help from the state budget, but without making up the difference, while 15% have used furloughs and covered the salary gap, 17% have reduced working time, with the agreement of the parties or granted unpaid leave, and 4% have laid off employees.

In terms of wages, the survey shows that half of the respondents applied the salary increases for 2020 before the state of emergency was declared. The average increase was 5.77%, in line with forecasts announced in 2019.

Almost 30% said they won’t increase salaries this year and 15% have changed their salary increase policy to only to critical positions. Benefit packages remained the same for 80% of respondents.

The majority (65%) do not intend to change the system of variable payments.

Back to work

Less than a quarter of the companies surveyed (22%) returned to work on 18 May, with almost half not having decided on a return date yet.

In this context, 80% intend to combine work from home with office work, even after the end of the state of emergency (15 May), with a majority taking employee opinions into account.

Regarding HR activities, 37% of respondents said that they won’t change their recruitment and onboarding policies, and 30% stated their intention to postpone them until the state of emergency is lifted.

Training and development programmes have been postponed by 33% of the respondents, with the same percentage having changed processes and tools, especially as part of digitalisation programmes.

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