Aspects of Italian Labour Law in the time of COVID-19

By DOTT. DORIANA DE LUCA | 21.03.2020

With the Prime Minister Decree of 11 March 2020, the Italian Government has provided until next 25 March 2020 for the suspension of numerous work activities and defined those that constitute an essential service and therefore cannot be interrupted.

For productive and professional activities, which can instead continue, the Government recommends that:

a) maximum use be made by companies of smart working methods for activities that can be carried out at home or at a distance;

b) paid holidays and paid leave for employees as well as other instruments provided for by collective agreements are encouraged;

c) the activities of company departments not essential to production are suspended;

d) take on anti-accounting safety protocols and, where it is not possible to respect the interpersonal distance of one meter as the main containment measure, with the adoption of individual protection instruments;

e) encourage workplace sanitization operations, also using forms of social safety nets for this purpose;

f) for productive activities only, it is also recommended that movement within sites be limited as much as possible and access to common areas restricted;

g) preference should be given, for productive activities only, to agreements between employers' and trade unions' organizations;

h) for all non-suspended activities, maximum use of smart working methods is encouraged.

By means of DECREE LAW No 18 of 17 March 2020 (Cura Italia Decree), the Italian Government has provided, inter alia, for various measures of economic support for workers and businesses related to the epidemiological emergency from COVID-19. Let's see them together:

Measures in support of work

Social shock absorbers

  • Cassa Integrazione ordinaria e FIS (solidarity cheque): as far as the ordinary Fund is concerned, there will be a single dedicated reason, COVID-19, which can be activated with a simplified procedure (information and consultation also electronically in a maximum of 3 days), there will be no access limits (even those who have been hired for less than 90 days can access it) and it will not be counted for the purposes of total calculation. As far as the FIS is concerned, without prejudice to the possibility of having recourse to the COVID-19 reasoning, the ordinary cheque will also be payable to small businesses that are currently excluded (those between 5 and 15 employees).
  • Cassa Integrazione Straordinaria and FIS: for those who are already beneficiaries of these income support instruments, their disbursement may be temporarily suspended in order to have access to the ordinary CIG or to the ordinary FIS cheque with causal COVID-19.
  • Cassa Integrazione in deroga: the Supplementary Benefit Fund is extended to those which are normally excluded to CIGO and CIGS, i.e. private employers, including agricultural, fisheries and third sector workers. Domestic employers will not have access to it. The individual Regions will have the possibility of authorizing a wage supplementation fund by way of derogation to support companies that do not fall within the protection provided by the current provision, but need support due to the Coronavirus emergency.

Special rules on the reduction of working time and support for workers

  • Parental leave: 15 days of parental leave is granted to public sector workers, employees and self-employed persons who have children up to the age of 12. With the leave, an allowance of 50% of the salary will be paid. For parents of children with severe disabilities, the age limit for using the leave does not apply. Children between 12 and 16 years of age can take unpaid leave. A parent may have access to parental leave if there is no other parent in receipt of income support.
  • Baby-sitter Voucher: this is an alternative measure to parental leave. Employees, self-employed workers and professionals can take advantage of it. The measure provides for the payment of a bonus for the purchase of babysitting services for a maximum of 600 euros.
  • Special baby-sitting vouchers: provided for police forces, doctors, nurses and social workers, in the front line against Coronavirus. For these categories of workers, the voucher will rise to 1,000 euros.
  • Extension of the permit of Law n.104: the current 3 days of paid monthly leave for the care of seriously disabled family members will be increased with an additional 12 days to be used in March and April. In addition, for public and private employees, there will be the possibility to be absent from work until April 30, 2020 in case of:

1. Severely disabled

2. Immunocompromised

3. Workers with oncological diseases or those undergoing life-saving therapies

For the latter, absence from the service will be equal to hospitalization.

  • Quarantine: it will also be treated as hospitalization in the private sector, as far as the economic treatment is concerned, and will not be taken into account for the behavioral period.
  • Stop to dismissal: pending collective dismissal procedures will be suspended as of 23 February for 60 days. During the same period, no new collective dismissal may be ordered or made for objective reasons.
  • Smart work: until 30 April 2020, employees with disabilities or who have a disabled person in their household are entitled to work in a remote manner provided that this is compatible with the characteristics of the work. Workers in the private sector suffering from serious and proven pathologies with reduced working capacity shall be given priority in accepting requests to perform work in remote mode.

Resources for self-employed, professionals and coworkers

Professionals and self-employed registered in the separate management and; craftsmen and traders (self-employed); seasonal workers in tourism and agriculture, entertainment workers: for the month of March, an allowance of 600 euros will be paid.

Fund for the income of last resort in favor of employees and self-employed workers damaged by Coronavirus

A Fund of 300 million will be set up for all workers not covered by the previous measures, such as those enrolled in the Professional Association (lawyers, architects, psychologists, etc.), domestic and casual workers such as riders.

Measures for businesses

Social security and welfare payments: for companies with a turnover of less than EUR 2 million, they are suspended throughout the Country until 31 March. For companies such as sports associations, bars and similar, the suspension will last until 30 April.

If you have any further questions, we will be happy to advise and support you. 

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