The 2022 Amendment Act No. 187 to the 2018 Act. No. 165 regarding vouchers was published in the Official Journal of Romania on 22 June 2022. According to art. I, para. (2) of the 2018 Act. No. 165, the vouchers comprise meal tickets, gift tickets, nursery tickets, cultural vouchers and holiday vouchers. The amendments enclosed in the 2202 Amendment Act. No. 187 refer only to the meal tickets, gift tickets and holiday vouchers. As such, the provisions regarding the value of a meal ticket were amended, while the provisions regarding the gift ticket granting by trade-union organizations and the holiday vouchers use were supplemented.
The first amendment of the present Act concerns the modification of the meal ticket value starting from 1 July 2022, by increasing the current value of 20,17 lei to 30 lei. This value will also be considered effective in the second semester of the year 2022 as well as in the first two months of the first semester of the year 2023 (February and March respectively), thus departing from the provisions of art. no. 33 of the Implementing Regulations.
The new provisions are retroactively implemented, as under art. II, para. (3) the employers might grant additional meal tickets to the employees, per working day, in order to compensate for the value difference between the new value limit of 30 lei and the effective value in June 2022. Nevertheless, art. I, par. (1) of the present Act must be interpreted as simply settling a new maximal value limit, as there is no mention of an actual obligation on behalf of the employer to increase the value of the meal tickets he grants to his employees to this specific limit.
The provisions regarding meal ticket taxation remain effective; the tax ratio is settled at 10% of the value of the tickets. Regarding this issue, a law draft regarding the remission of meal tickets from tax is currently under discussion by the officials.
As far as gift tickets are concerned, the provisions of the art. 15 from 2018 Act. No. 165 are supplemented by an exception: this allows trade-union organizations to grant these tickets to the members who are not employees using organization funds. The aspects regarding granting frequency will be settled by the management of the trade-union organization. The exception thus departs from the provisions of art. 15, para. (2), which indicates the specific recipients of this type of benefit.
A final amendment to the 2018 Act. No. 165 provisions concerns the extent of the expenses which might be covered using holiday tickets. This type of voucher might be used to cover the expenses for school camps or themed camps which are organized on Romanian territory and in which the voucher owner’s child is encamped, under the art. II, para. (3) of the 2022 Amendment Act No. 187. The payment procedures are to be established by a joint order signed by the minister of education and the minister of finances respectively. Such an amendment is most convenient given the current national situation, since it allows the owners of these vouchers to manage their expenses more efficiently.
To conclude with, the 2022 Amendment Act. No. 187 might be regarded as a real support for Romanian employees, especially in a rather difficult time period, when daily expenses are constantly increasing. Nonetheless, it is necessary to observe the actual implementation of these new provisions considering that they do not bind the employers to take action in this respect, being only amendments to an existing legislation.