Prepared by Sara Tanieli and Carlo Marinelli
On May 25th, 2021, has been published in the Italian Official Gazette the law decree “Sostegni bis” (“Decree-law on urgent measures for the support of companies, work and professions, for liquidity, health and territorial services, connected to the emergency from COVID-19”), which entered into force on the following day, on May 26th, 2021.
Please find below the main news:
Ordinary and extraordinary redundancy fund.
In the event of recourse to the ordinary or extraordinary redundancy fund for the period from July 1st to December 31st, 2021, the additional contribution (9% of the total remuneration for the hours not worked) is not due in respect of the extension of the prohibition on dismissals for the entire duration of the wage supplementation requested.
Reduction of working time
Employers forced to suspend or reduce their work activity due to the epidemiological emergency and who in the first half of 2021 recorded a 50% drop in turnover compared to the first half of the year 2019, may apply for CIGS for a maximum duration of 26 weeks in the period between the date May 26th, 2021 and December, 31st, 2021. However, it will be necessary to sign in advance a company collective agreement along the lines of the defensive solidarity contract, which may provide for an average percentage of working time reduction up to a maximum of 80% (90% at individual level). Workers affected by the reduction in working hours will receive a wage supplement equal to 70% of the total remuneration they would have been entitled to for the hours not worked, without the application of the ceiling and with the relevant figurative contribution. There is no additional contribution to be paid by the companies for the CIGS treatment in question and its duration is not included in the calculation of the so-called “five-year rolling period”.
Extension of the redundancy fund for termination of activity: from May 26th, 2021 to December 31st, 2021, companies of particular strategic importance may apply for a six-month extension of the redundancy fund for termination of activity. In this regard, it will be necessary: (i) the extension agreement must be signed at the Ministry of Labour; (ii) the company termination process must have already been initiated and the actions necessary for its completion and to safeguard employment must have encountered phases of particular complexity also recognised by the Ministry of Economic Development.
For the period from July 1st, 2021 until October 31st, 2021, a new type of subordinate employment contract has been established, similar in some respects to the apprenticeship contract: the outplacement contract. The purpose of this contract is to encourage the integration of currently unemployed persons into the labour market through an individual integration project lasting six months. At the end of the insertion period, the parties may terminate the contract, subject to the obligation to give notice. Otherwise, the relationship continues as an ordinary open-ended employment relationship. For a maximum period of six months, 100% exemption from social security contributions with a ceiling of 6,000 euros on an annual basis, prorated and applied on a monthly basis. The exemption cannot be requested by employers who, in the six months preceding the recruitment, have made individual dismissals for justified objective reasons or collective dismissals in the same production unit. Similarly, the social security relief will be withdrawn if the employer dismisses the employee during or at the end of the insertion period, or dismisses individually or collectively a worker employed in the same production unit and classified at the same level and legal category as the worker hired with the outplacement contract, while in case of resignation the benefit is granted for the period of actual duration of the relationship.
The number of companies which, in the presence of particularly complex reorganization/restructuring processes, may use the expansion contract has been extended to include all companies with not less than 100 employees. The expansion contract is an instrument aimed at assisting employees who are no more than 5 years away from a pension and/or to implement a temporary reduction in working hours in the face of new recruitment, as well as the implementation of specific training and education courses.
News also for NASpI recipients. In fact, until December 31st, 2021, for the benefits paid from June 1st, 2021, the so-called “decalage” mechanism, i.e. the progressive reduction of the treatment starting from the fourth month of use, will not operate, and the NASpI benefits will be confirmed in the amount paid on May 26th, 2021, while for the new benefits starting in the period from June 1st, 2021 until September 30th, 2021 the above-mentioned mechanism will not operate until December 31st, 2021.
From January 1st, 2022, however, the “decalage” mechanism will start to be fully applied again and the amount of benefits payable prior to October 1st, 2021 will be calculated by applying the reductions corresponding to the months of suspension that have elapsed.
Tourism and commerce sectors
Employers in the tourism, spa and commerce sectors are granted exemption from social security contributions up to double the number of hours of wage subsidies used in the months from January to March 2021. This exemption, which will be prorated and applied on a monthly basis, can be used by December 31st, 2021. Employers who decide to benefit from the exemption will continue to be subject to the moratory on dismissals until December 31st, 2021.
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