Prepared by Francesca Tironi and Giulia Spalazzi
On May 19th, Law Decree no. 34/2020, commonly known as “Decreto Rilancio”, was published in the Official Gazette. The Law Decree enacted by the Italian Government provides for new urgent measures on health, support for work and the economy, as well as welfare related to the epidemiological emergency by COVID-19.
Here below relevant new provisions for personnel management and the changes made by the Decreto Rilancio to the regulations that issued over the past few weeks.
Social shock absorbers: CIGO, FIS and CIGD
The Decreto Rilancio, on the one hand, confirmed for companies – which have suffered, due to events attributable to the current epidemiological emergency situation, a reduction in their work activities – the possibility (already provided for in the previous “Decreto Cura Italia”) to benefit for the period from February 23rd to August 31st, 2020 of 9 weeks of wage integration treatment, thus making use of the Ordinary Wage Integration Fund (“CIGO”), Ordinary Allowance (“FIS”) or Wage Integration Fund by way of derogation (“CIGD”) with the causal “Covid-19 emergency”.
On the other hand, it has provided, for all companies that have already fully benefitted for 9 weeks from the already mentioned wage integration treatment, the possibility of requesting an additional 5 weeks of treatment with the causal “Covid-19 emergency”, to be used in any case by 31 August 2020.
If, then, the effects of the emergency on employment should be prolonged and provided that the companies have already fully benefited from the 14 weeks of wage integration treatment by August 31st, an additional 4 weeks of treatment for the period September 1st – October 31st, 2020 may be granted to these companies, subject to the availability of the relevant economic resources.
The use of the additional 4 weeks of social security benefits may concern periods prior to September 1st, 2020 only for companies in the tourism, trade fairs and congresses, amusement parks, live entertainment and cinemas.
The total number of weeks of recourse to CIGO, FIS and CIGD are so increased, on the whole national territory, to 18 (14 of them have to be used by August 31st, 2020, and 4 have to be used between September 1st and October 31st, 2020). For the same period, the ordinary wage integration treatment may be granted to companies that were already benefitting from the extraordinary redundancy fund (CIGS) on February 23rd, 2020 and that apply for CIGO, which will suspend and replace the ongoing CIGS.
As to applications for wage integration treatment, the Decreto Rilancio establishes that they must be submitted by the end of the month following the month in which the period of suspension or reduction of work began. In addition, the obligation to use the simplified procedure for trade union information and consultation has been reintroduced and it may also be carried out electronically within three days from the date of the prior communication.
As to the CIGD, the Decreto Rilancio provides that only those companies that have already been granted access to INPS for a period of 9 weeks may apply for a further 5 weeks of treatment. Also in this case further 4 weeks of integration may be granted from September 1st, 2020 to October 31st, 2020.
For employers with production units located in several Regions or Autonomous Provinces (“plurilocalized”), the CIGD treatment may be recognized by the Ministry of Labour, according to what will be established by the issuing Ministerial Decree. Only such employers can opt for the advance payment of the treatment in favour of their employees, while in all other cases the treatment of CIGD can be granted only with direct payment by INPS.
Finally, the Decreto Rilancio, by amending the pre-existing situation, has provided that the Checks for the Family Unit (“ANF”) are also due to the beneficiaries of ordinary FIS cheques, provided that such treatment has been granted for the specific reason, i.e. “COVID-19 emergency”.
Ban on terminations
The ban on terminations for economic reasons – provided for in the Decreto Cura Italia – has been extended until August1 16th, 2020, therefore individual and collective terminations for business related reasons are prohibited until August 17, 2020.
Individual terminations implemented between February 23, 2020 and March, 17 2020 can be revoked without any consequences or penalties for the employer if the latter apply, effective as of the date of the dismissal, for a social shock absorber.
Until the end of the state of emergency (i.e. July 31, 2020), all employees who are parents of children up to the age of 14 are entitled to request “smart working” (even using their own IT tools, where these are not supplied by the employer) provided that:
(a) smart working is compatible with their duties and
(b) there is no other parent within the household who is benefitting from income support instruments for the suspension/termination of employment or other unemployed/non-working parent.
Individual agreements between employer and employees are not necessary for the performance of the work in smart work modality, without prejudice to the employer’s obligation to provide employees with adequate information on health and safety and to communicate to the Ministry of Labour the names of employees in smart working and the date of termination of this modality of work.
New provisions on parental leave and other allowances for workers
For employees with children up to 12 years of age, the parental leave granting an indemnity equal to 50% of salary has been extended for further 15 days, thus consisting of a period, either continuous or split, not exceeding a total of 30 days from March 5th, 2020 to July 31st, 2020. No age limit is, instead, provided for children with disabilities in a situation of proven seriousness.
Parents of children up to 16 years of age are entitled to an unpaid leave for the entire period of suspension of educational and school services, provided that there is no other parent who is a beneficiary of income support instruments for the suspension/termination of work or who is unemployed.
The so-called baby-sitter bonus is increased up to € 1,200.00 and it can also be used for enrolment in local socio-educational services, centres with an educational and recreational function and supplementary or innovative early childhood services.
Lastly, the leaves pursuant to Law 104/92 have been extended for further no. 12 days of leave in May and June 2020 (for a total of maximum 18 days of leave in the two-month period).
Health and safety at work
Employers must ensure exceptional health surveillance of so-called “fragile” employees, i.e. those most at risk of infection such as immunocompromised workers, those undergoing life-saving therapies or those most at risk for age reasons. Employers who are not subject to the obligation to appoint the doctor responsible for carrying out health surveillance may request INAIL to provide such exceptional health surveillance.
In any case, any unsuitability for the job as established in the context of such health surveillance cannot justify any termination of the employment relationship.
Until August 30th, 2020, fixed-term employment contracts already in existence on February 23rd, 2020 may be renewed or extended even in the absence of the grounds laid down by law for the legitimacy of the application of the term to contracts lasting more than 12 months.
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PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti
PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti