INPS clarifies the Covid-19 quarantine-disease binomial

Prepared by Giulia Spalazzi and Valentina Panettella

By Message no. 3653, INPS (National Social Security Institute) clarified that quarantine and precautionary surveillance for the so-called fragile employees, referred to respectively in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 26 of Legislative Decree no. 18 of 2020, do not constitute a temporary incapacity to work such as to absolutely prevent the performance of working activities (a prerequisite for the granting of social security protection for the common sick leave), but represent mere situations of risk both for the  employees and the community.

As a result,  it will not be possible to have recourse to  social security protection for sick leave or hospitalisation if the employee under quarantine or  precautionary surveillance continues to work at home, on the basis of agreements with his/her employer, by means of alternative working modalities  (i.e. smart working, teleworking, etc.).

On the other hand, in the event of Covid-19  illness (art. 26, paragraph 6) and in the presence of a health measure prescribing quarantine, the employee temporarily unable to work will have the right to access the corresponding social security benefit, compensating for the loss of earnings.

In the absence of a public health care order, therefore, it will not be possible to  be entitled to the protection provided for by Article 26, paragraph 1, even in the case of absence from work following an order issued by the local administrative authority prohibiting the distancing  of citizens from a certain territory (in order to contain the spread of the epidemic), nor if an employee, insured in Italy and who has gone abroad, has been subject to a quarantine order by the competent foreign authorities.

Therefore, the  access to the protection referred to in the above-mentioned paragraph 1 of article 26 is only granted upon a procedure carried out by the Italian health authorities.

The principle of the prevalence of wage supplementation treatment over the sick leave, which ensures that when the employee is the beneficiary of supplementation treatment the possibility of being able to apply for the sick leave ceases to exist, due to the similarity of the protections provided for in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 26 to the sick leave and hospitalization, will operate in this case as well, since these protections are incompatible with each other.

Let’s Talk

For a deeper discussion, please contact:

Marzio Scaglioni

PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti


Giulia Spalazzi

PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti

Senior Manager