New regulations in the social economy

In the Official Gazette no.323 of 1 April 2022 was published OUG no.33/2022 for the modification and completion of the Law no.219/2015 on social economy, a document that aims to create a favourable environment for the development of this sector, taking into account that social enterprises offer an adapted response to complex social problems.

According to the initiators, these social enterprises create jobs and employment opportunities for young people at risk, for women and people with disabilities, providing them with theoretical and practical vocational training, job preparation and mentoring necessary to enter labor market and to have a long-term career.

EMERGENCY ORDINANCE no. 33/2022 provides for the development of this sector by improving the functioning ecosystem, regulating the strategic development framework, creating fiscal and non-fiscal facilities and by promoting it as the third sector between public and private with a relatively own dynamics

The social economy is the set of private activities of an economic and social nature, serving the general interest, the interests of a community and/or personal non-pecuniary interests, by increasing social inclusion and/or providing goods, services and/or works.

The social economy is based on private, voluntary and solidarity-based initiative, with a high degree of autonomy and responsibility, and limited distribution of profit or surplus, as the case may be, to associates or members.

              Within the meaning of EMERGENCY ORDINANCE 33/2022, they can be social enterprises:societatile cooperative care functioneaza in baza Legii nr.1/2005 privind organizarea si functionarea cooperatiei, republicata, cu modificarile ulterioare;

  1. credit cooperatives, which operate on the basis of Government Emergency Ordinance no. 99/2006 on credit institutions and capital adequacy, approved with amendments and completions by Law no. 227/2007, with subsequent amendments and completions;
  2. associations and foundations, which operate on the basis of Government Ordinance no. 26/2000 on associations and foundations, approved with amendments and completions by Law no. 246/2005, with subsequent amendments and completions;
  3. the mutual aid houses of the employees, which operate based on the Law no. 122/1996 regarding the legal regime of the mutual aid houses of the employees and of their unions, republished;
  4. the mutual aid houses of the pensioners, which are established and function based on the Law no. 540/2002 regarding the mutual aid houses of the pensioners, with the subsequent modifications and completions;
  5. agricultural companies, which operate on the basis of Law no. 36/1991 on agricultural companies and other forms of association in agriculture, with subsequent amendments and completions;
  6. agricultural cooperatives operating under the Law on agricultural cooperation no. 566/2004, with the subsequent modifications and completions;
  7. any other categories of legal persons, regardless of the field of activity, which respect, according to the legal acts of establishment and organization, cumulatively, the definition and principles of the social economy provided in this law.

One of the amendments makes it possible to adapt the scope of the social economy to all categories of entities that can be certified as a social enterprise, by including the term “social inclusion” in the definition of this sector and by completing the provision on the limited distribution of profits or “surplus” to associates or members.

It should be noted that the status of social enterprise is recognised by the granting of a social enterprise certificate, hereinafter referred to as the certificate.

The certificate is granted at the request of the legal persons mentioned above on the basis of the acts of establishment and operation.

The certificate certifies the social purpose of the social enterprise and its compliance with the above principles.

The certificate is granted to those social enterprises which provide in their acts of establishment and operation for the cumulative compliance with the following criteria:

  1. acts for social purposes and / or in the general interest of the community;
  2. allocates at least 70% of the profit / surplus realized to the social purpose and to the statutory reserve;
  3. undertakes to transfer the assets remaining after the liquidation to one or more social enterprises;
  4. apply the principle of social equity to employees, ensuring fair pay levels, between which there can be no differences exceeding the ratio of 1 to 8.

Thus, the conditions for granting the social enterprise certificate have been modified in order to stimulate new social enterprises and for the sustainability of the existing ones, the percentage allocated to the statutory reserve or to the achievement of the social purpose has been reduced from minimum 90% to minimum 70% of the profit/surplus.

The certificate is granted for a period of 5 years, with the possibility of extension, if proof is provided that the conditions for granting it are met.

The procedure for granting the certificate, as well as the conditions for suspension, withdrawal, cancellation, renunciation, issuance of a duplicate of the certificate shall be regulated by the methodological rules for the implementation of this law.

Social enterprises and social integration enterprises may benefit from free counselling on the attestation and/or certification process offered by the employment agency.

Social integration enterprises may benefit from the following facilities from local public administration authorities:


  1. the allocation of spaces and / or lands in the public domain of the administrative-territorial units / subdivisions, in compliance with the provisions of EMERGENCY ORDINANCE no. 57/2019 on the Administrative Code, with subsequent amendments and completions, in order to carry out the activities for which they arethe social mark was granted;
  2. support in the promotion of the products made and / or supplied, of the services provided or of the works executed in the community, as well as in the identification of some markets for their sale;
  3. other facilities and exemptions from taxes and duties granted by the local public administration authorities, in accordance with the law.

It is important to mention that the certified social enterprise can waive this status by notifying the employment agency.

According to the EMERGENCY ORDINANCE 33/2022, the social enterprise has the following obligations: local government, in accordance with the law.

  1. to communicate to the employment agency any modifications of the founding or constitutive acts, within 15 days from the modification;
  2. to communicate to the employment agency the annual activity reports, within 3 months from the end of the calendar year;
  3. to send to the employment agency, in extract, within 3 months from the end of the calendar year or from the end of the financial year specific to the category of legal person, the annual social report regarding the activity carried out and the annual financial statements.

The documents mentioned above may be consulted, upon request, by any interested person at the headquarters of the county employment agency, respectively of the municipality of Bucharest, where the social enterprise has been certified.

The social enterprises are subject to control regarding the compliance with the legal conditions for carrying out the activity, in order to verify the compliance with the criteria on which the social enterprise certificate was issued. The controls are carried out by the control bodies of the Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity according to the Annual Control Plan or whenever necessary, as well as by the control bodies of the institutions subordinated or under its authority.

We mention that the new normative act also clarifies the criteria to be fulfilled by the certified social enterprise and modifies the conditions for granting the social enterprise certificate.

Thus, the cumulative percentage of 30% of the employed staff belonging to the vulnerable group and of the actual working time of all employees has been eliminated in the sense of the alternative criterion: 30% of the number of employed staff or cooperating members belonging to the vulnerable group, or the cumulative working time of these employees must represent at least 30% of the total working time of all employees.

In order to support the activity of social enterprises, it was decided to develop and diversify funding sources by:

  • facilities from local authorities;
  • amending and supplementing the law by including social enterprises, along with social insertion enterprises, as beneficiaries of the provisions of Law no. 76/2002 on unemployment insurance and employment stimulation, for hiring young people at risk of social marginalization, the facilities provided by law for this category of employers;
  • the introduction of the possibility for the social enterprises to benefit from the subsidies in the amount of 2,250 lei granted for employment for an indefinite period of time, of graduates, including among the disabled, or of the unemployed over 45 years of age, unemployed who are parents sole supporters of single-parent families, long-term families or young NEETs;
  • subsidizing vocational training expenses for employees belonging to the vulnerable group, in a percentage of 50% of the expenses with vocational training services, from the unemployment insurance budget.

Social enterprises and social integration enterprises benefit from free of charge for the issuance of the certificate, the social mark and registration in the Single Register of Social Enterprises.

At the same time, in order to encourage the development of the activity of social enterprises, the facilities and financing opportunities for all these entities have been extended, by including public and/or private, national or international financing sources.

The normative act also provides for updating the role of the social economy in:

– development of local communities; job creation;

– developing social inclusion and cohesion; – transition to the circular economy and social innovation;

– involvement of persons from the vulnerable group in social and / or economic activities;

– access of people from the vulnerable group to community resources and services.

Legal basis:

– EMERGENCY ORDINANCE 33/2022 for the amendment and completion of Law no. 219/2015 on the social economy;

– Law 219/2015 on the social economy, with subsequent amendments and completions.