Romania’s fertility rate is statistically low, with only 1.54 children born per woman in 2018. The country’s birth rate has continued to decline since the early 90s, and more families are choosing to have one or no children. In-vitro fertilization, while increasingly common in the European Union, is rare in Romania. Approximately 5,000 Romanian couples undergo the procedure each year, in comparison with 40,000 couples in France.
Romania recently made changes to its Labour Code to promote in-vitro fertilization. As of April 23, 2019, female employees who decide to undergo the in-vitro procedure are now afforded three days of paid leave. This new leave law allows women to take one day of paid leave on the day of the ovarian puncture procedure, and the remaining two days may then be used in concurrence with the embryonic transfer procedure. Employees must file a formal request for this non-medical leave with an attached letter from their doctor confirming that they will undergo in-vitro fertilization.
While there are no sanctions outlined for employers who refuse to grant in-vitro leave, Romania has demonstrated its interest in supporting population growth and may strictly enforce this new leave law. Employers should consider how requests for in-vitro fertilization leave should be scheduled in conjunction with female employees’ annual leave, and they should update leave policy language to reflect these Labour Code changes.