The so called “April Decree” was released on 19 May and has set out urgent measures concerning health, support for work and the economy, as well as social policies connected to the COVID-19 emergency in Italy. Here are the main measures related to Labour Law:
I) Wage Funds for COVID-19 are granted:
- for a maximum duration of 9 weeks, for periods of reduction or suspension from 23 February to 31 August 2020;
- for a further 5 weeks, for periods of reduction or suspension from 23 February to 31 August 2020, provided that the employers have made full use of the above 9-week period;
- for a possible new period of 4 additional weeks, for periods of suspension or reduction from 1 September 2020 to 31 October 2020.
The maximum duration of the wage fund for COVID-19, therefore, is 18 weeks in total to be used during the period from 23 February to 31 October 2020.
II) With specific reference to the Wage Fund in Derogation, the additional periods with respect to the first 9 weeks recognised by the Regions and Autonomous Provinces will be granted by Italian Social Body (INPS) upon request of the employer, to be submitted electronically starting from the 30th day after the entry into force of the decree and within 1 month from the beginning of the suspension or reduction, indicating the list of beneficiaries and the hours of suspension of each worker for all the time authorised.
In the case of companies with multiple locations, these additional weeks may be recognised by the Ministry of Labour. Within 15 days of the application, INPS will advance the salary supplement for 40% of the authorised hours.
Leave For Employees
- I) From 5 March to 31 July 2020, and for a continuous or split period not exceeding 30 days in total, employees with children not older than 12 years shall be entitled to benefits of paid leave, with 50% of their salary (allowance payable by Italian Social Body -INPS). The age limit does not apply to children with disabilities in situations of proven seriousness enrolled in schools of all levels or housed in day care centres. The paid leave is subject to the condition that there is no other parent in the household in receipt of income support in the event of suspension or cessation of employment or other unemployed or non-working parent. The new rules (doubling the duration of the leave in question) appear to be unclear with respect to the possibility of both working parents taking the leave.
- II) In addition to the above, employees with children aged 16 years or less have the right to abstain from work for the entire period of suspension of childcare services and educational activities in schools, without payment of allowances or recognition of imputed contributions, with a ban on dismissal and the right to remain in employment.
- III) As an alternative to the above-mentioned leave, the worker may choose to pay one or more bonuses for the purchase of baby-sitting services for children not older than 12 years of age, up to an overall maximum of 1,200 euros gross, to be used for services provided from 5 March to 31 July 2020. The bonus (i.e. the amount referred to above) is charged directly to the applicant employee’s family booklet (who must therefore have it) and can only be used for occasional work remuneration in accordance with the law (benefits are remunerated with securities with a gross value of 10 euros per hour (or multiples thereof), so the amount requested as a bonus must necessarily be 10 euros or multiples of 10). Therefore, the requesting employee and the provider (babysitter) are required to register on the Occasional Benefits Platform, which can be accessed from the INPS website. There are no express limitations on the provider/baby-sitter being a member of the employee’s family, if any. Alternatively, the above bonus can also be paid directly to the employee (without using the family booklet), but only if the children aged 12 years or less (or regardless of the age limit, for disabled children) are enrolled in summer camps or other socio-educational services.
Permits Ex Art. 33, L. 104/92
There is an increase in the permits provided for assistance to disabled family members. The ordinary 3 days of paid monthly leave, covered by imputed contributions, provided by law for the cases in question, are increased by an additional 12 days to be enjoyed in May and June 2020.
Dismissals (Individual and Collective) for Economic and Organisational Reasons
The redundancy ban in question, which runs from 17 March 2020, is extended for a total period of 5 months (the ban will therefore expire on 17 August 2020). In addition, the procedures for dismissal on objective grounds under Article 7 of Law 604/66 before the ITL are suspended for the same period. An employer who, in the period from 23 March to 17 March, has dismissed for objective reasons may revoke the dismissal provided that, at the same time, he applies for a wage supplement from the date on which the dismissal takes effect.
Agile Work – cd. Smart Working
I) Until the end of the state of health emergency (currently set at 6 months from 31 January 2020, and therefore with termination scheduled for 31 July 2020, but which could be extended) working parents who have at least one child under 14 years of age, provided that there is no other parent receiving income support instruments in the event of suspension or cessation of work or other non-working parent, have the right to work in smart-working, even in the absence of individual agreements.
II) In any case, it is possible for companies to use agile work also for other workers, even in the absence of the normal individual agreements pursuant to Law no. 81/2017, without prejudice to the burden of information to the worker and communications to (Italian mandatory insurance body) INAIL. This possibility (incentive for smart-working which, however, is not compulsory for companies) is granted until the end of the state of emergency and in any case (if it is extended) no later than 31 December 2020.
Extension and Renewal of Term Contracts
In order to cope with the restart of activities after the so-called lock-down, it is possible to renew or extend until August 30, 2020, the term of contracts in place at February 23, 2020, even in the absence of the conditions required by Article 19 of Legislative Decree 81/2015.
Extension of the Terms for the Payment of Contributions for the Months of April and May
The collection of contributions relating to April and May 2020, which had been suspended until 30 June 2020 pursuant to Legislative Decree 33/2020, art. 18, for companies that had suffered a reduction in turnover of more than 33% or 50% in March 2020, depending on whether they had revenues of less than or more than €50 million, was postponed until 16 September 2020.
LABLAW will continue to provide you with updates as the situation unfolds in order to ensure you can manage your workforce, and hence. Please do not hesitate to contact us on + 39 02 30 31 11 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Italy, please contact Michela Bani (Partner) of LabLaw at email@example.com or visit www.lablaw.com.
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