Navigating through Covid-19
Employment and Workforce wellbeing
We believe that in these challenging times there is a great need to help each other, share the burden and stay united. This page is a collection of all you need to know on Italian employment law and Covid-19.
Covid-19 Employment News
Covid-19 special leaves
Covid-19 special leaves: clarifications and guidelines provided by INPS with circular No. 45 of 25 March 2020, message No. 1416 of 30 March 2020, message No. 1516 of 7 April 2020 and message No. 1648 of 16 April 2020
One employed parent per family has the right to, from 5 March 2020 to 3 May 2020, a period of special leave, the so-called Covid-19 leave, equal to the maximum duration of 15 days with regard to all children under the age of 12 (and, therefore, not for each child). Covid-19 leave may, also, be requested by parents who are employed and who no longer have access to ordinary parental leave. The Covid-19 leave can be taken for the entire day and cannot be split into hours.
During the period of Covid-19 leave, the beneficiary parent receives an allowance equal to 50% of his/her salary. The protection granted to the employee by the ordinary parental leave, which provides for the payment of an allowance equal to 30% of the salary (but subject to certain personal and income conditions of the beneficiary), is therefore extended.
The beneficiary parent is required to submit an application to his/her employer, as well as an application, electronically, to INPS in the same way as for the application for ordinary parental leave and as specified below.
- Through access to the INPS website, using the PIN code issued by INPS, by choosing the relevant services on the home page of the site (these services can also be selected from the menu "Performances and services", list "All services", letter "M", title "Maternity and parental leave employees, self-employed workers"); or,
- Through the Contact Center service, always using the PIN code issued by INPS, at the toll-free number 803.164 or the number 06 164.164 (from mobile); or,
- Through the so-called Enti di Patronato, using the services offered free of charge by these entities.
At the time of application submission, the beneficiary parent must self-certify that he/she meets the requirements to access Covid-19 leave (i.e. not having submitted a request for payment of the so-called baby-sitting bonus; not being a beneficiary of shock-absorbers and NASpi allowance; the other parent shall not be unemployed). Employees who have already submitted an application for ordinary parental leave and are benefiting from such leave are not required to submit a further application to benefit from the Covid-19 leave. In this case, the period of ordinary parental leave is automatically suspended, and the employee is therefore entitled to benefit from the period of Covid-19 leave.
Covid-19 leave for the self-employed workers registered with INPS or the so-called Gestione Separata INPS
The Covid-19 leave may also be requested by parents, self-employed workers having a VAT registration number registered with INPS and by coordinated and continuous self-employees (collaboratori coordinati e continuativi) registered with Gestione Separata, regardless of their contribution seniority and whether or not the self-employee is in compliance with the payment of the social security contributions. The application must be submitted to INPS in the ways described above.
The payments of the allowance given to workers during the Covid-19 leave period are executed by INPS within the overall spending limit equal to Euro 1,261 billion for the year 2020.
Employed parents, with children aged between 12 and 16 years, are entitled, from 5 March 2020 until 3 May 2020, to benefit from a period of continuous or interrupted leave not exceeding 15 days, without entitlement to payment of any allowance. The application must be submitted to the employer and not to INPS.
Workers who are beneficiaries of the paid leave pursuant to article 33, paragraphs 3 and 6, of Law 104 of 1992, with regard to disabled family members, are entitled to use 12 days of paid leave in addition to the 3 days of paid leave provided for by the above-mentioned law. These permits may be used for whole day or divided into hours. Workers who have already been granted permits pursuant to Law No. 104 of 1992, for the months of March and April 2020, are not required to submit a further application to benefit from the additional 12 days. Otherwise, in the event of lack of a valid authorization, the application must be submitted to INPS in the ordinary ways provided for by Law No. 104 of 1992.
Social shock-absorbers: clarifications and guidelines provided by INPS by circular No. 38 of 8 April 2020, message No. 1525 of 7 April 2020, circular No. 47 of 28 March 2020, message No. 1321 of 23 March 2020 and message No. 1287 of 20 March 2020
1. Ordinary wage supplementation fund (cassa integrazione guadagni ordinaria, “CIGO”) and ordinary allowance (assegno ordinario)
Application submission with the payment purpose"COVID-19 Nazionale"
Companies that, as of 23 February 2020, suspend or reduce their working activities for Covid-19 emergency related events, may apply for access to the ordinary salary integration treatment provided by INPS or access to ordinary allowance payment by the Salary Integration Fund at INPS (respectively, CIGO and FIS with the payment purpose "COVID-19 Nazionale").
The treatment of CIGO and the ordinary allowance may be paid for a maximum duration of 9 weeks and, in any case, no later than the month of August 2020. In particular, the relevant application must be submitted in the ways indicated below by the end of the fourth month following the month in which the suspension or reduction of working activity began and must not be supported by any documentation, except for the list of beneficiary workers.
- Through the INPS website, by accessing the online services section for "Companies, consultants and professionals", item "Services for Companies and Consultants", option "CIG and Solidarity Funds", payment purpose "COVID-19 Nazionale"; or
- Through the website "Services for companies and consultants", following the procedure indicated therein.
In case of access to the CIGO or FIS treatment, the company may: (i) advance the payment of the integration salary and then adjust the amount with the social security contribution due to INPS due on employee’ remunerations; or (ii) request direct payment by INPS or the FIS, as the case may be (the risk in the latter case is that payments will be processed with a certain delay due to the large number of applications received by the competent authorities).
CIGS conversion into CIGO
Companies that, as of 23 February 2020, have an extraordinary wage supplementation fund (cassa integrazione guadagni straordinaria, “CIGS”) in place, and that are also included in the area of application of the CIGO treatment (i.e. they belong to the industrial sector, as specified by art. 10 of the Legislative Decree No. 148/2015) may request the suspension of the ongoing CIGS treatment and submit to INPS the request for access to the CIGO treatment with the payment purpose "emergenza COVID 19 nazionale – sospensione CIGS” for a period not exceeding 9 weeks. Companies with ongoing CIGS treatment that, due to their sector, are not included in the area of application of CIGO treatment, may apply for the access to derogated wage supplementation treatment (“cassa integrazione guadagni in deroga, “Derogated CIG”), subject to suspension of CIGS treatment (see below).
In particular, the request for suspension of CIGS treatment must be submitted to the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies in the following ways.
- Through the "CIGS online" platform of the aforementioned Ministry; or,
- Through the ordinary e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com of the Ministry of Labour (Direzione Generale degli ammortizzatori sociali e formazione del Ministero del lavoro e delle politiche sociali).
Financial resources and spending limits
The payment of the CIGO treatment and of the ordinary allowance with the payment purpose "COVID-19 Nazionale" is executed by INPS/FIS within the maximum spending limits equal to Euro 1,347.2 billion for the year 2020.
Application submission with the payment purpose “COVID-19 Deroga”
With regard to the beneficiary companies, the Regions and autonomous Provinces may provide for the payment of the derogated CIG treatment for a period of suspension or reduction of the working activity arising from Covid-19 emergency for no more than 9 weeks, so called derogated CIG with the payment purpose "COVID-19 Deroga".
The application for the admission to this treatment must be submitted by the companies to concerned Regions and autonomous Provinces which, after the investigation, will issue the relevant decree of approval. Therefore, this decree will be electronically submitted from the same Regions or autonomous Provinces to the INPS, together with the list of beneficiaries. Once the decree has been received, INPS will provide for the payment of the derogated CIG treatment (see below).
Pursuant to art. 22 of the “Cura Italia” Decree, companies with more than 5 employees may apply for the Derogated CIG treatment with the payment purpose "COVID-19 Deroga", provided that - in compliance with the provisions of the ordinary regulations of derogated CIG pursuant to the Ministerial Decree No. 83473 of 2014 - Regions and trade unions of employers and employees at national level, have undertaken and concluded the trade union procedure with the execution of a framework agreement.
However, this agreement is not required for companies with no more than 5 employees.Payment procedure
The payment of the Derogated CIG treatment with the payment of purpose "COVID-19 Deroga" may be made only by direct payment of the relevant amount by INPS.
Discipline for companies located in more Regions
Companies with more than one business unit (the concept of business units also includes the sale stores of the same company), located in 5 or more Regions or autonomous Provinces must apply for Derogated CIG treatment with the payment purpose "COVID-19 Deroga" to the Ministry of Labour, who, by decree, authorizes its payment as a result of an investigation to be carried out within 30 days from the receipt of the relevant application.
Following the approval of the above-mentioned decree, the company is required to submit the application to access this treatment to INPS by the online platform "CIGWEB".
INPS, as a result of the relevant investigation, provides for the payment of the treatment in question after the beneficiary company has submitted the so-called "SR 41" model.
Companies with business units located in less than 5 Regions or autonomous Provinces must submit an application for access to the Derogated CIG with the payment purpose "COVID-19 Deroga" to each Region or autonomous Province in which each business unit is located.
Financial resources and spending limits
The payment of the derogated CIG treatment with the payment purpose "COVID-19 Deroga" is executed by INPS within the overall spending limit equal to Euro 3,293.2 million for the year 2020.
Tutti gli ammortizzatori sociali collegati alla causale Covid-19 possono essere richiesti ed erogati indipendentemente dalla circostanza che i lavoratori beneficiari abbiano maturato, ma non ancora utilizzato, giorni di ferie.
Exemption from additional contribution payment
For the entire duration of the payment of the shock-absorbers linked to the payment purpose Covid-19, companies are exempt from the payment of the additional contribution provided by Legislative Decree No. 148 of 2015.
Relationship between the provisions of the so-called “Cura Italia” Decree and the provisions of Law No. 9 of 2020 regarding the so-called former red and yellow zones
The duration of the social shock-absorbers provided for under the so-called “Cura Italia” Decree is added to the one provided under Law Decree No. 9 of 2020 with regard to the municipalities of the so-called former red zone (i.e. Municipalities of Bertonico, Casalpusterlengo, Castelgerundo, Castiglione D’Adda, Codogno, Fombio, Maleo, San Fiorano, Somaglia, Terranova dei Passerini (Lombardy) and Vò (Veneto) and to the municipalities of the so-called former yellow zone (i.e. Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy except for the municipalities of Lombardy belonging to the above mentioned former red zone, Veneto except for the municipality of Vò belonging to the former red zone, and the Provinces of Pesaro Urbino and Savona).
Therefore, companies with business units located in the municipalities of the so-called former red and yellow zones, as well as companies located outside the above-mentioned municipalities, but with workers resident or domiciled in the same municipalities, may apply for the payment of the available social shock-absorbers for a maximum duration, respectively, of 3 months and 1 month with the payment purpose "Emergenza COVID-19 D. L. 9/2020" pursuant to Decree Law No. 9 of 2020, and, once this period has expired, the payment of the same shock absorbers for a further 9 weeks pursuant to the so-called “Cura Italia” Decree with the above mentioned payment purpose Covid-19.
Covid-19 allowance for self-employed workers registered with INPS and extension of deadlines relating to NASpI and DIS-COLL applications
Covid-19 allowance for self-employed workers registered with INPS and extension of deadlines relating to NASpI and DIS-COLL applications: clarifications and guidelines provided by INPS with circular No. 49 of 30 March 2020
The Covid-19 allowance is granted to self-employed workers, having VAT registration number as at 23 February 2020, and to coordinated and continuous self-employees (collaboratori coordinati e continuativi) registered with Gestione Separata, provided that the same workers are not registered with other compulsory form of social security. Under the same conditions, the Covid-19 allowance is also granted to seasonal workers in the tourism sector and thermal establishments who involuntarily terminated their employment relationship in the period between 1 January 2019 and 17 March 2020; to self-employed craftsmen, traders, small farmers, sharecroppers and settlers, as well as workers in the entertainment sector registered with INPS.
Amount and duration
The amount of the allowance is equal to Euro 600 for the month of March 2020. This amount is not subject to payment of social security contributions (contribuzione figurativa) and does not contribute to the calculation of taxable income.
The Government has already announced that the allowance will also be granted for the month of April 2020. The relevant payment could, however, be paid not indiscriminately to all self-employed workers, but only to those who, as a result of the Covid-19 emergency, are able to demonstrate a decrease in turnover. The amount of this allowance for the month of April should, moreover, be increased to Euro 800.
Application submission procedure
As from 1 April 2020, each beneficiary may apply to INPS in order to receive the payment of the allowance for the month of March 2020.
In particular, the application may be submitted as follows.
- Through the INPS website, accessing the portal with the credentials issued by the social security institution (i.e. the so-called device PIN or SPID of level 2 or higher, or Electronic Identity Card 3.0, or National Service Card, or Simplified INPS PIN issued according to the procedure described in INPS message No. 1381 of 26 March 2020); or
- Through the Integrated Contact Center service, by contacting the toll-free number 803.164 or the number 06 164.164 (for mobile); or
- Through the so-called Enti di Patronato, using the services offered free of charge by those institutions; or
- Through certified accountants and labour consultants.
Payment of the allowance
In several press releases, INPS stated that payments of the Covid-19 allowance should be processed by 15 April 2020 either by crediting the amount to the beneficiary's bank account or by bank transfer (bonifico domiciliato), depending on the method indicated when the application was submitted.
The payment of the allowance in question is executed within the maximum spending limit equal to Euro 203.4 million for the year 2020.
Non-cumulation with other allowances and benefits
The Covid-19 allowance cannot be granted to self-employed workers who, as of 23 February 2020, are beneficiaries of the following benefits: citizenship income (reddito di cittadinanza), pension and invalidity allowance. The same allowance is, however, compatible and cumulative with the DIS-COLL unemployment benefit.
Extension of deadlines relating to NASpI and DIS-COLL unemployment benefits applications
The deadline for the submission of NASpI and DIS-COLL unemployment applications is extended by additional 60 days, with the resulting extension of the ordinary deadline from 68 days to 128 days from the date of involuntary termination of the relevant employment relationship. This extension shall only apply to NASpI and DIS-COLL applications relating to involuntary termination of the employment relationship occurred between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020.
Extension of Covid-19 measures
Extension of Covid-19 measures
Law Decree 16 May 2020 no. 33
Mobility within the Region
As of 18 May 2020, and up until 31 July 2020, the mobility restrictive measures previously adopted within the regional territory will not be in force anymore. Such measures may be renewed, or new measures may be adopted, with regard to those areas which are affected by a worsening of the Covid-19 emergency. The duty to submit the relevant self-certification upon request of the competent authorities is therefore removed.
As of 18 May, and up until 2 June 2020, travels from a Region to another Region are allowed only for the following reasons/needs: (i) demonstrable work-related needs; (ii) cases of absolute necessity; (iii) health reasons; and (iv) return to domicile, home or residence.
As of 3 June 2020, the travels above may be prevented with regard to specific areas by taking into account the actual level of Covid-19 infection risk.
Mobility to and from abroad
Until 2 June 2020, travels to and from abroad are forbidden unless grounded on the following reasons/needs: (i) demonstrable work-related needs; (ii) cases of absolute necessity; (iii) health reasons, (iv) further cases to be identified pursuant to Article 2 of Law Decree-Law no. 19 of 2020; and (iv) return to domicile, home or residence.
As of 3 June 2020, travels from Italy to the following countries (and viceversa) are allowed, although they may be prevented with respect to specific countries and territories by taking into account the actual level of Covid-19 infection risk and according to any obligations provided for under European and International laws.
- Member States of the European Union;
- States which are parties to the Schengen Agreement;
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland;
- Andorra, Principality of Monaco;
- Republic of San Marino and Vatican City State.
As of 3 June up until 15 June 2020, travels from Italy and countries other than those listed above (and viceversa) may continue to be forbidden, except for demonstrable work-related needs, cases of absolute necessity, health reasons, and return to the domicile, home or residence.
Compliance with health and safety measure in the workplace
As of 18 May 2020, economic, business and social activities can operate to the extent that they comply with the regulations on health and safety measures in the workplace adopted by Regions or, in case such regulations have not been adopted, with the Protocol regulating the measures to counter and contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the workplace executed by the social parties and with the INAIL technical document on possible containment measures for SARS-CoV-2 contamination in the workplaces and prevention strategies.
Failure to implement said measures could trigger the suspension of the relevant activities up until they will be implemented.
Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of 17 May 2020
The Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of 17 May 2020 includes provisions implementing the above-mentioned Law Decree 16 May 2020 no. 33, governing the information, prevention, implementation and monitoring of Covid-19 health and safety measures in all places (open or closed to public), in the national territory.
In particular, annexes to the Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers include specific guidelines in respect of certain sectors, including live shows and cinemas; commercial businesses; construction sites; transport and logistics sectors.
Labour law issues in the conversion law of the so-called “Liquidità” Decree
Labour law issues in the conversion law of the so-called “Liquidità” Decree
Limitation of employer's liability against Covid-19 contagion risk
Pursuant to the so-called “Cura Italia” Decree, Covid-19 infections that occur in the workplace, are treated by INAIL as accidents at work.
After the entry into force of said provision, INAIL has clarified that the recognition of a Covid-19 infection as an accident at work does not automatically trigger the recognition of a civil or criminal liability of the employer. In particular, the requirements for the recognition of the employee's right to insurance benefits in the event of an accident at work due to Covid-19 are different from the requirements for the acknowledgment of the civil or criminal liability of the employer.
In this regard, the conversion law of the so-called “Liquidità” Decree has tried to limit the employer's liability with the introduction of a new provision. Said provision states that public and private employers fulfil their obligation under Article 2087 of the Italian Civil Code through the implementation of the provisions contained in the Protocol executed by the social parties on 14 March 2020 and subsequently amended on 24 April, and in the other government protocols and guidelines, as well as through the adoption of the measures provided for therein.
Finally, the provision specifies that if the above-mentioned measures are not applicable, the employers shall comply with the measures contained in the protocols or sectoral agreements executed by the trade unions and employers' organisations that are comparatively more representative at the national level.
Labour law issues in the so-called “Liquidità” Decree
Labour law issues in the so-called “Liquidità” Decree
Extension of the scope of CIGO treatment, ordinary allowance and Derogated CIG
Pursuant to the so-called “Cura Italia” Decree, the above-mentioned treatments are provided for employees who were hired as of 23 February 2020. The so-called “Liquidità” Decree has extended the scope of employees benefiting from the same treatments, including those who were hired in the period between 24 February and 17 March 2020.
Suspension of the deadlines for the payment of social security contributions
For the months of April and May 2020, the so-called “Liquidità” Decree provides the suspension of payments of withholding tax on employees' income, additional personal income tax (IRPEF) and VAT, as well as INPS social security contributions and INAIL compulsory insurance premiums by the following companies.
- Business entities which, in 2019, recorded revenue not exceeding Euro 50 million and which, in March and April 2020, recorded a reduction of 33% of their revenue compared to those recorded in March/April of the previous tax period.
- Business entities which, in 2019, recorded revenues exceeding Euro 50 million and which, in March and April 2020, recorded a reduction of 50% of their revenues compared to those recorded in March/April of the previous tax period.
- Companies that have started a business activity on or after 31 March 2019.
The suspended payments will have to be executed, without the application of penalties and interest, in a single instalment by 30 June 2020 or by instalments up to five equal monthly instalments starting in the same month of June.
Companies belonging to the sectors most affected by the Covid-19 emergency will continue to benefit from the suspension of payments of INPS social security contributions and INAIL compulsory insurance premiums according to the terms and conditions stated in the so-called “Cura Italia” Decree.
Granting of financing with management of employment levels through union agreements
Italian companies (other than banks and other entities authorized to exercise lending and provided that (i) as at 31 December 2019, they are not classified as companies in distress pursuant to the relevant European legislation; and (ii) as at 29 February 2020, they have no impaired exposure towards the banking sector, pursuant to the same legislation) may apply for financings from banks, national/international financial institutions and other entities authorized to exercise lending in Italy, with guarantees issued by SACE S.p.A. in compliance with the relevant European legislation on State aid, until 31 December 2020 and up to a total maximum amount equal to Euro 200 billion (of which at least an amount equal to Euro 30 billion allocated for small and medium-sized companies). The percentage of the guarantee issued is therefore between 70% and 90% of the requested financing, depending on the turnover and the number of employees of the applicant company.
In particular, each company (or group of companies if the company is part of a group) may apply for financings equal to the greater of the following amounts: (i) 25% of the 2019 turnover, as resulting from the approved financial statements or tax return and (ii) twice the personnel costs incurred in 2019, as resulting from the financial statements or certified data if the company has not yet approved the financial statements.
The provision of such financings is subject, inter alia, to the following conditions: (i) the financings must not last longer than 6 years; (ii) the beneficiary company (and any other company of the group located in Italy, if the company is part of a group) may not distribute dividends or repurchase treasury shares until 31 December 2020 and (iii) it will be required to undertake to manage employment levels through trade union agreements.
With respect to point (iii), the legislator has not given any indication concerning the meaning to be given to the generic expression "management of employment levels". However, on the basis of a reasonable interpretation of the legislation in question, it seems likely that this expression does not refer to an absolute dismissal ban by the company benefiting from the loan, but to an obligation of the same company to share and agree with the trade unions the management of any dismissal need arising from the crisis linked to the Covid-19 emergency.
Safety measures in the workplace
Safety measures in the workplace
INAIL technical document on possible containment measures for SARS-CoV-2 contamination in the workplaces and prevention strategies
INAIL has issued a technical document that provides guidelines on the containment measures that companies must apply in the workplaces in order to limit/prevent the risk of contamination from Covid-19.
In particular, the first part of the INAIL technical document sets out the so-called risk map, that identifies for each business activity (distinguished by the relevant “Ateco” code) the corresponding level of risk of contamination from Covid-19 on the basis of the following criteria: exposure (i.e. the probability of coming into contact with Covid-19 contamination sources during work-related activities); proximity (i.e. the existence of characteristics which are inherent to work-related activities that do not allow for adequate social distance between employees); and aggregation (i.e. the performance of work-related activities which, by definition, require contact between the employee and his/her colleagues and/or third parties, including customers, suppliers, etc.).
After having set out the risk map, the second part of the INAIL technical document identifies the safety measures listed below (many of which were already provided for in the Protocol executed by the social parties on 14 March 2020, and subsequently amended on 24 April 2020, referred below) that the employer is required to apply in the workplaces.
- Organisation measures, including, by way of example: (i) changes to workplace environments (using, where necessary, plexiglass panels, furnishings, etc.) to allow adequate social distancing between employees; (ii) the adoption of a continuous air ventilation within the common areas (including lunch areas, toilets and break points); (iii) the provision of staggered entry and exit times for employees; (iv) the reduction to a bare minimum of employee circulation on company premises; and (v) a wide use of the agile working where applicable to the type of working activity performed by the employee.
- Prevention and protection measures, including, by way of example: (i) the provision of adequate information to the employees regarding the risks of contamination from Covid-19 and the behavioural rules to be observed for the limitation or prevention of such risk; (ii) the use of surgical masks and other adequate personal protective equipment by employees who share common areas; (iii) the strengthening of health surveillance during the Covid-19 emergency period; and (iv) the use of adequate safety measures to protect so-called fragile individuals (i.e. those who may be defined as such in relation to age, or those who may be affected by past or present pathologies, including, by way of example, chronic degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular, respiratory or dysmetabolic diseases; state of multi-morbidity or congenital or acquired immunodepression; oncological cases).
- Specific measures for the prevention of epidemic outbreaks including, by way of example: (i) the checking of employees' body temperature before entering the company's premises, with the subsequent prohibition of access by those whose body temperature exceeds 37.5° C, and (ii) the management of employees showing symptoms of Covid-19 pursuant to the provisions of the Protocol executed by the social parties on 14 March 2020, and subsequently amended on 24 April 2020 and, in any case, with the collaboration of the competent health authorities.
Amendments to the Protocol regulating the measures to counter and contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the workplace
On 24 April 2020, the social parties amended the Protocol they executed on 14 March 2020. In particular, in addition to the safety measures already provided for in the first version of the Protocol and available at the following link, section "Employer's obligation to adopt safety measures in the workplaces", the following additional security measures have been provided for:
- Suspension of the business activities of companies that have not adopted adequate safety measures to protect their employees until adequate safety conditions are established in accordance with the applicable law.
- Delivery of specific information to employees, as well as to any employees of contractor companies, regarding the safety measures adopted in the workplace.
- Delivery to the employer of a medical certificate confirming that the negative result of the test has been obtained, according to the procedures required by the competent health authorities, by any employee who has tested positive for Covid-19.
- The possible adoption by the competent health authorities of security measures additional to those indicated in the above-mentioned Protocol with regards to companies located in the geographical areas most affected by Covid-19.
- The cooperation between principal and contractor companies in the management of workers employed by the contractor companies who have tested positive for Covid-19.
- Extraordinary sanitisation of company premises, workstations and common areas in companies located in the geographical areas most affected by Covid-19.
- The adoption of adequate personal safety equipment within the company's premises, considering the related risks of contamination from Covid-19, and the use of surgical masks by employees within the common areas.
- Encouragement to work in agile working mode, by providing the employee with adequate support (for example: assistance in the use of IT tools, changes to working schedules and daily breaks, etc.).
- Maintaining social distance between employees, including through the innovative adaptation of company workspaces and working hours (for example: spaces obtained from unused offices or meeting rooms; rearrangement of workstations within the spaces shared by several employees; reduction of the number of employees at the office by organising work shifts; adoption of staggered entry and exit times to avoid group meetings, etc.).
- Encouragement of employees to use means of transport on the way home/work that allow an adequate social distance between passengers and, in any case, to use private means rather than public transport.
- Timely supply of surgical mask to any employee who, showing symptoms of Covid-19, has been timely isolated in a specific area within the company premises.
- The involvement of the doctor responsible for the identification of so-called fragile individuals (as defined above) and for the reintroduction to work of workers who have previously contracted Covid-19.
Conversion Law of the “Cura Italia” Decree”
Conversion Law of the “Cura Italia” Decree
Conversion Law No. 27 of 24 April 2020 of “Cura Italia” Decree
CIGO and ordinary allowance: trade union information and consultation procedure has been removed
The conversion law of the so-called “Cura Italia” Decree has removed the obligation for employers who want to access the ordinary wage supplementation fund (CIGO) with the payment purpose "COVID-19 Nazionale" provided by INPS or the ordinary allowance paid by FIS with the payment purpose "emergenza COVID-19", to carry out the trade union information and consultation procedure before submitting the relevant application (which, therefore, may be submitted without any trade union consultation).
Extension of the CIGO treatment scope, ordinary allowance and derogated CIG
The CIGO treatment, the ordinary allowance and the derogated CIG treatment (previously addressed exclusively to workers who were hired as at 23 February 2020) have also been extended to workers hired between 24 February and 17 March 2020.
- Removal of the trade union agreement obligation for all employers who had to terminate their business in accordance with Covid-19 emergency regulations
All employers (and therefore not only employers who employ up to 5 employees) who have terminated their business in accordance with the emergency measures issued to deal with the Covid-19 epidemiological emergency are not required to enter into a trade union agreement with the comparatively more representative trade unions organisation at national level.
- Employers resident in the municipalities of the former "red zone"
Employers with business units located in the municipalities of the so-called former red zone (i.e. the municipalities of Bertonico, Casalpusterlengo, Castelgerundo, Castiglione D'Adda, Codogno, Fombio, Maleo, San Fiorano, Somaglia, Terranova dei Passerini in Lombardy and the municipality of Vò in Veneto) and employers with employees resident or domiciled in the same municipalities, are entitled to access derogated CIG treatment for an additional period, compared to the original 3 months period provided for by Decree Law 9/2020, of a further 3 months.
- Employers resident in the regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna
Employers with business units located in the regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna (excepting for the production units located in the municipalities of the so-called former red zone to which the provisions of the previous point are applied) and employers with employees residing or domiciled in the above-mentioned regions, are entitled to access the derogated CIG treatment, for an additional period, compared to the original one of 1 month provided for by Law Decree 9/2020, of a further 4 weeks.
Employers who access social shock-absorbers with the payment purpose Covid-19 may, by way of derogation from the ordinary legislation: (i) renew or extend fixed-term agreements and fixed-term agency agreements; and (ii) disapply the so-called stop&go rule, and therefore reemploy the fixed-term worker within 10 days from the expiry date of the previous fixed-term agreement, in case the duration is up to 6 months, or within 20 days from the expiry date of the previous fixed-term agreement, in case the duration is more than 6 months, without the second fixed-term agreement converting into a permanent employment agreement.
Measures to support self-employed workers of the municipalities of the former "red zone"
Self-employed workers having a VAT registration number, employees in coordinated and continuous collaboration (collaborazione coordinata e continuativa) registered with the so-called “gestione separata” of INPS, as well as the self-employed workers registered with the so-called AGO, who, as of 23 February 2020, perform their activity in the municipalities in the so-called former red zone or are resident or domiciled in the above-mentioned municipalities, may apply, in addition to the monthly allowance of Euro 600 provided for the generality of self-employed workers, for the payment of a monthly allowance of Euro 500 for a maximum period of three months, depending on the actual period of suspension of activity. The allowance is paid directly by INPS.
Derogation to the dismissal ban
The prohibition to implement collective dismissals in force until 16 May 2020 does not apply to dismissals served by the principal in the context of a terminated service agreement where the new contractor hire - pursuant to law, the national collective agreement or a clause of the same service agreement - the employees previously performing their services in the context of the terminated service agreement and who have been dismissed.
Employees with disabilities or who have a disabled person in their household, pursuant to Law 104/1992, as well as immunologically compromised employees or employees living with immunologically compromised persons, are entitled to work in an agile manner until the end of the Covid-19 emergency. In addition, employees in the private sector affected by serious and proven pathologies with reduced working capacity have the right of priority in accepting applications submitted to their employers to work remotely. Furthermore, it should also be reminded that art. 18, paragraph 3-bis of Law No. 81 of 22 May 2017 sets out a right of priority with respect to the applications submitted by female employees in the three years following the end of the period of maternity leave.
Frequently asked questions
- Is the employer required to provide its employees with the necessary equipment to perform the work remotely?
NO, within the following limits. The employee may use its own IT tools to carry out the work remotely. However, if the employee does not have such tools or the IT tools he/she owns are not suitable to carry out the work, the employer is required to take any organizational and management measures to ensure the performance of the employee’s duties.
- Are employees working remotely, during the Covid-19 emergency, entitled to a remuneration for overtime work?
YES, within the following limits. Notwithstanding the Italian legislation on Covid-19 does not contain any provision in this respect, by making reference to the general principles concerning overtime work, it is reasonable to assume that overtime hours, previously requested and/or approved by the employer, should be remunerated (despite the fact that it may not be easy to determine overtime hours in case of remote working).
- Are employees working remotely, during the Covid-19 emergency, entitled to reimbursement of expenses incurred at home?
NO. The employer is not required to reimburse any expenses incurred by the employee in relation to its remote working (e.g. heating costs, internet connection, meals, etc.), unless otherwise agreed between the parties and without prejudice to what provided for under the collective bargaining agreement.
- During the Covid-19 emergency, is the employer entitled to impose to employees the use of holidays?
YES. According to the clarifications provided by the Council of Ministers, the employer may unilaterally require the use of holidays accrued over the previous years, but not yet used, to employees who perform tasks that, due to their nature, cannot be carried out remotely and/or are not required in the context of the Covid-19 emergency as a result of the suspension of the relevant business activity ordered by the Government pursuant to the provisions of the Decrees of the Prime Minister dated 11 March and 22 March 2020.
- Is it necessary for employees to use all the holidays accrued as of 31 December 2019 in order to access the social shock-absorbers for Covid-19?
NO. INPS, with the message dated 18 October 2019, No. 3777 and the circular dated 28 March 2020, No. 47, clarified that in order to be able to access the social shock-absorbers for Covid-19, it is not necessary that the employees involved use all the holidays accrued, but not yet used, at the time of submitting the relevant application.
- May companies that have suspended business activities in accordance with the provisions of the Decrees of the Prime Minister dated 11 March 2020 and 22 March 2020, manage the warehouse, including the preparation of the products to be shipped as part of on-line sales activities, with the support of one or more employees?
YES. The Covid-19 legislation allows the retailing of any type of product, provided that it is carried out "remotely" (e.g. online, by telephone), with home delivery, and provided that the "remote" sale is normally used by the company and the products sold "remotely" have been produced before the suspension of the relevant business activity. Therefore, warehouse management and shipping activities, which, due to their nature, cannot be carried out remotely, may be carried out in the company premises in accordance with the measures provided by the current legislation to protect the health and safety of employees within the company premises.
- Is a dismissal served with a letter received by the employee before 17 March 2020 valid and effective, if it has not yet been notified to the relevant authorities by sending the so-called UNILAV model?
YES. The “Cura Italia” Decree provides that, for a period of 60 days starting from 17 March 2020, companies cannot serve individual or collective dismissals for economic reasons, without prejudice to disciplinary dismissal and dismissal for exceeding the so-called grace period (periodo di comporto).
In the case at stake, the dismissal is fully valid and effective, since it has been finalized with the receipt of the relevant letter by the employee before 17 March 2020. As a consequence, the employer’s failure to comply with the administrative obligation to submit the so-called UNILAV model is not relevant.
- Does the above-mentioned dismissal ban also apply to executives (dirigenti)?
NO, within the following limits. The “Cura Italia” Decree excludes the executives from the application of the dismissal ban for economic reasons with reference to individual dismissal. However, according to certain authors, considering that the above-mentioned decree provides for an unreasonable disparity in the treatment of executives and other employees, it is likely that the dismissal ban may also be extended to executives when the above-mentioned “Cura Italia” Decree will be converted into law. As also observed by certain authors, the dismissal ban applies to executives in the context of a collective dismissal, considering that such dismissals shall not be carried out (see no. 7 above).
- If an employee is positive to Covid-19, does the employer should inform the staff who have been or may have been in contact with that employee?
YES, within the following limits. Although the Covid-19 legislation and the Protocol of 14 March 2020 on measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the workplaces executed by the social parties, provide only the obligation for the employer to inform the health authorities (and to call the Covid-19 emergency numbers provided by the Region or the Ministry of Health), it is recommended that, while waiting to receive feedback from the same health authorities, the employer shall inform, in compliance with the privacy regulations, the staff who have been or may have been in contact with the infected employee so that they may promptly take all necessary precautions to prevent further infections.
- In the case of employees posted by the company Alfa to the company Beta, is Alfa responsible to take the measures provided for by law to protect the health and safety of employees in the company premises during the Covid-19 emergency?
NO. Pursuant to art. 3, paragraph 6, of Legislative Decree no. 81 of 2008, all prevention and protection requirements shall be carried out by the seconded company, and the latter is also responsible for taking all the above-mentioned measures to protect health and safety. However, Alfa has the obligation to inform the posted employee about the risks connected with the performance of the tasks for which he/she has been posted, including the risks of Covid-19 contamination, and, in any case, to cooperate in good faith with Beta in relation to the application of the relevant measures.
- Does dismissal for failure to pass the probationary period fall within the scope of the dismissal ban provided for in the so-called “Cura Italia” Decree?
NO. The ban on individual dismissal provided for in the so-called “Cura Italia” Decree only applies to dismissals for justified objective reason (i.e. dismissals for reasons inherent to the production activity, to the organisation of work and to the regular functioning of the said production activity referred to under Art. 3 of Law no. 604 of 1966 ) and does not concern the dismissal for failure to pass the probationary period which is governed by Art. 2096 of the Italian Civil Code.
- Is there a right to agile working for the employees?
NO, within the following limits. The Covid-19 emergency legislation, does not provide for a general right to agile working, although it strongly encourages its use. In fact, such a right is recognised exclusively for disabled employees or employees with disabled family members and for immunosuppressed employees or employees cohabiting with immunosuppressed family members.
Without prejudice to the above, a recent decision of the Court of Grosseto (see Nr. 4 above) stated that, having ascertained the viability of agile working without significant effort for the employer, the latter cannot unreasonably deny to the employee the possibility to work in such a way where the employee requested it.
- Are there any penalties for failure to communicate to the Ministry of Labour the names of employees who perform work in an agile way?
NO. The Covid-19 emergency regulation has provided for the possibility to perform services in an agile way with simplified procedures, i.e. without the need to conclude an individual agreement with the worker. The Ministry of Labour subsequently specified that the employer is required to upload a list including the personal and insurance data of all agile workers on the portal of the Ministry. The Covid-19 emergency regulation, however, does not provide for any penalty for failure by the employer to fulfil this duty.
It is likely that the administrative penalty, ranging from 100 to 500 euros, provided for by ordinary legislation for failure by the employer to communicate the individual agreement on agile working to the competent bodies, is not applicable in the case of failure to communicate the aforementioned list of agile workers to the Ministry of Labour, given that the penalty expressly refers to the failure to communicate the individual agreement, which is not required under the Covid-19 emergency legislation (however, there are conflicting opinions which deem the administrative penalty applicable).
- Is it possible to send health and safety information to agile workers electronically?
YES. Most recently, the Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of 26 April 2020 has provided that the health and safety disclosure obligations towards agile workers can be fulfilled electronically, possibly by using the documentation made available on the INAIL website.
The Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of 26 April 2020 does not, however, provide further operating instructions in relation to the electronic means used for the fulfilment of such disclosure obligations.
In the absence of contrary provisions, it can be assumed that the safety information can be sent to the employee by e-mail or, alternatively, posted on the company’s portal, on the condition that it can be ascertained that the document has been seen by recipients.
- Can employers who access Covid-19 social shock-absorbers renew or extend fixed-term employment contracts, including fixed-term agency contracts, in derogation from ordinary regulations?
YES. Art.19-bis, included within the implementation law of the so-called “Cura Italia” Decree, allows employers who access the social shock absorbers pursuant to Articles 19 to 22 of the same Decree, to proceed, while these social shock absorbers are in use, with the renewal or extension of fixed-term employment contracts, including fixed-term agency contracts, in derogation from ordinary regulations.
- Can the employer measure their employees’ temperature before they enter the workplace?
YES. Pursuant to the Protocol of 24 April 2020 on the measures for containing the Covid-19 virus in the workplace agreed by the social parties, as well as to the Technical Document on the possible containment measures in the workplace prepared by INAIL, the employer is allowed to measure its employees’ body temperature (as well as the visitors’) and prohibit access to company’s premises to those employees whose body temperature is greater than 37.5 degrees.
- Is there an obligation for the worker to communicate to the employer any worsening in his/her health linked to Covid-19?
YES. Pursuant to the Protocol agreed by the social parties on 24 April 2010 mentioned above, any person inside the company who develops fever and symptoms of respiratory infection must immediately inform the HR department of these symptoms.
Without prejudice to the above, based on the workplace health and safety regulations, any employee must take care of his own health and safety and that of other people in the workplace (Art. 20 of Legislative Decree no. 81 of 9 April 2008). According to an interpretation provided by the Ministry of Health in the circular dated 29 April 2020, as well as by the Data Protection Authority via FAQ, this provision also includes the obligation for the worker to notify the employer, directly or indirectly through the competent doctor, of any change in in his/her health linked to Covid-19 (such as, by way of example, possible contact with suspected cases of infection by Covid-19, the beginning of a quarantine period or precautionary home isolation, or a positive test).
Our Employment newsletter series
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