Labour relations in Moldova are regulated by the Labour Code (effective as of 1 October 2003), Collective Labour Conventions (at national, territorial, branch and company level) and other special laws (e.g. Law on wages). Labour legislation provides employees with minimum guarantees which cannot be worsened or limited by an employment contract.
Certain aspects of employer - employee relations are governed by internal regulations adopted at the company level by the employer (e.g. staff handbook).
Traditionally, trade unions were very tough in labour relations negotiations. They are currently effective in obtaining minimum wage legislation, as well as other basic rights for employees. They also conclude annual collective labour agreements at different branch and company levels.
Union membership for employees is not compulsory, but unions still have a high level of influence in large and state-owned enterprises. In small private companies they tend to be less active.
Employers should ensure the necessary conditions for the activity of unions. Unions have no right to participate in the management of a company and its commercial activity. Nevertheless, sometimes the employer should take the opinion of the trade union into account when adopting internal regulations (i.e. internal policies) or dismissing trade union members.
Salaries and wages
An employer may not negotiate and establish a basic salary lower than the national minimum gross salary. This is currently MDL 1,650 (about EUR 90) per month for privately-owned companies.
The national average monthly salary is MDL 3,765 (about EUR 200) in 2013, having increased by 8.3% from the previous year. Currency regulations demand that salary payments be made in local currency (MDL), including those to foreign staff.
The conclusion of written individual employment contracts with all employees is compulsory. The contract should contain provisions concerning the employee position, salary level, working conditions and other mandatory issues.
As a general rule, employment contracts are concluded for an indefinite period. Fixed-term employment contracts may be concluded only in specific situations provided for by the Labour Code. Employment contracts may provide for a trial period of employment up to six months.
The standard working week stated in the Labour Code is 40 hours, over five or six working days a week, but generally from Monday to Friday.
The law defines limits and rates for overtime, holiday / weekend and night work. Working hours on weekends or holidays can be either compensated with free time or paid. Overtime is generally paid as 150% of the hourly rate for up to a specified number of hours and 200% beyond that. The aim of the new legal framework is to maintain a competitive market and is particularly intended to implement EU provisions into national law.
Consumer legislation contains provisions on the safety of consumers, liability of producers and sellers for breaches of the law and their contractual obligations, procedure for concluding contracts, establishing the shelf-life of food and non-food products, replacement of products or reimbursement of their cost, etc.
The Agency for Consumers Protection is the competent authority in this field. The recent amendments to the Moldovan competition legislation transposed certain provisions of the EU legislation, e.g. concerning unfair business-to-customer commercial practices, unfair terms in consumer contracts.
There are certain areas in which the Government establishes a limit on the prices for products and services, such as for state-owned land and mineral resources, transport and post services, medicines, natural gas, heating and electrical energy, etc. The state usually intervenes in the formation of prices by limiting the trade mark-up.
Patents, trademarks and copyrights
The laws regulating intellectual property in Moldova mainly cover patents on inventions, copyright and other related rights, industrial design protection, trademarks and appellations of the origin of goods, plant variety protection and the protection of integrated circuit topographies.
The state regulatory body in charge of the legal protection of trademarks, patents and copyrights on the territory of the Republic of Moldova is the State Agency for the Intellectual Property (AGEPI).
The national legal framework in this area has been recently amended in order to achieve harmonisation with the provisions of European legislation. Moldova is a signatory to the International Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
The ownership title and other real rights over immovable assets (e.g. servitude, usufruct, mortgage, etc.) are subject to registration in the Real Estate Register, held by the Cadastral Office. Information from the Real Estate Register is public and registrations performed in the Register are presumed to be authentic and complete, until the contrary is proved.
The ownership title over immovable assets is transferred from the seller to the buyer as of the registration of the transfer in the Real Estate Register.
Agricultural and forested lands can be bought only by the state, Moldovan citizens and Moldovan companies without any foreign investments in their statutory capital.