Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) nationwide, the government recently issued twelve emergency regulations that aim to confront the emergency head-on, across various industries and activities, with additional measures expected to be announced in the coming days. Italy’s leading experts in the fields of medicine and infectious diseases (a unique combination of public and private systems of healthcare working together) are spearheading these initial efforts, starting with protective measures to prevent and contain the spread of the disease throughout Italy and its territories.
Given the employer’s obligation to provide a healthy and safe workplace in order to ensure the physical integrity of the workers, the emergency COVID-19 regulations stipulate new provisions that employers are required to institute and adhere to. Employers therefore, shall:
- Implement the application of policies related to health and safety in the workplace and verify compliance thereof;
- Incentivise the use of agile work (so-called ‘Smart Working’) and teleworking (i.e. working from home) and / or grant holidays or paid leaves where Smart Working is not an available option;
- Update the Assessment Risks Document (required by the text on health and safety in the workplace);
- Supply the employees with personal instruments of protection (gloves, antibacterial gel, protective masks, etc.);
- Draft an emergency plan specifically to avoid the risk of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus (e.g. conditions to govern entry to the workplace by third-parties and measures concerning the presence of pregnant women, immunodepressed workers or third-party visitors at the premises of the company);
- Provide information with regard to medical assistance to employees;
- Invite employees to comply with the general measures as required by the Italian Ministry of Health (e.g. washing hands frequently, avoid coming into contact with people exhibiting flu-like symptoms, etc.);
- Avoid any transfer that is not deemed essential;
- Implement a task force to confront the impact of COVID-19 at company level, in the company’s various fields of activity;
- Involve the HR Manager, the company doctor and any other relevant person(s) to check the implementation of all related measures, their impact and the occurrence of any emergencies;
- Prepare a communication plan (internal and external);
- Provide any person entering the company’s premises with information concerning the measures enacted by the company in response to the COVID-19 outbreak;
- Inform employees and make them aware of the emergency number for COVID-19, which is 1500;
- Increase medical examinations by the company doctor if an employee exhibits flu-like symptoms and / or has recently returned from confirmed COVID-19 affected regions.
At this time, the entire population of the Italian territory is considered at risk. Therefore, the free and open movement of citizens and foreign nationals should be avoided, unless essential for purposes of:
- carrying out work that cannot be provided remotely;
- fulfilling fundamental needs (obtaining food, medicine, etc.); and
- seeking medical attention for a health condition and pursuing similar health-related activities.
These emergency measures are not designed as a general prohibition (movement for essential functions is still permitted), but instead are intended to serve as an open invitation to the public at large to take any and all necessary steps in order to potentially reduce the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible.
For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Italy, please contact Luca Failla (Partner) of LabLaw at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.lablaw.com.
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