Novelties and confirmations on the labour front
Prepared by Francesca Tironi, Marzio Scaglioni, Valentina Panettella and Leila Rguibi
Decree-Law no. 41 of 22 March 2021, concerning “Urgent measures in support of enterprises and economic operators, labour, health and territorial services, connected to the COVID-19 emergency”, and known as Decreto Sostegni 1, was converted into Law no. 69/2021 on 21 May 2021.
Among the novelties in the field of labour support, it seems appropriate to point out that, with reference to the renewal of the redundancy funds (the so-called “CIGO”, “CIGD” and “Assegno Ordinario”), provided for by Article 8 of Decree-Law No. 41/21, introduced for the first time with the “Cura Italia” Decree and since then repeatedly renewed, during the conversion a new paragraph 2 bis was added to Article 8, which allows for the COVID redundancy fund treatments provided for by the Support Decree to be granted in continuity to employers who have fully benefited from the treatments provided for by the Budget Law (Law No. 178/2020).
Therefore, as INPS itself had anticipated, first by means of a Press Release dated 16th April 2021 and then by means of Circular no. 72/2021, a remedy has been provided – albeit belatedly – to the coverage gap which had been created with reference to the last days of March for all those employers who had continuously benefited from the redundancy funds periods made available by the Budget Law 2021, thus exhausting the weeks available before the 1st April, date from which the “new” wage supplementation periods provided by the Support Decree could be placed. The Institute is expected to provide clarifications on the terms within which applications for supplementary wage subsidies may be submitted for the days initially “uncovered”, assuming that the procedures for “adjustment” are those already set out in Circular no. 72/2021.
The new paragraph 3 bis, on the other hand, postpones the deadlines for sending applications for access to the Covid redundancy funds, as well as the deadlines for transmitting the data necessary for the payment or balance of the benefits (the so-called “SR41 form”) to 30 June 2021.
The moratorium of deadlines relating to the above-mentioned obligations affects, specifically, those expired in the period between the 1st January and the 30th March 2021. On this regard, we are waiting for the Institute’s explanatory circular.
The ban on dismissals remains in place until June for companies benefiting from the ordinary redundancy fund and until October for those on the exceptional redundancy fund.
The extension of fixed-term contracts under Article 17 is also confirmed until 31 December 2021. Without prejudice to the maximum overall duration of 24 months, it is possible to renew or extend fixed-term employment contracts for a maximum period of 12 months and only once, even in the absence of the conditions set out in Article 19, paragraph 1, of Legislative Decree no. 81/15.
In order to protect fragile workers (i.e. employees with certified immunodeficiencies and disabilities), until 30 June 2021, the possibility of carrying out work in agile mode (the so-called “smart working”) continues to be envisaged, also through the assignment to a different task included in the same category or area of classification, or by carrying out specific professional training activities remotely. If, on the other hand, it is not possible to carry out the working activities remotely, the period of absence from work is equivalent to hospitalisation. The conversion also specifies that, starting from 17th March 2020, periods of absence from work will not be taken into account for the purposes of the compulsory period (ex art. 15 paragraph 1 letter a).
Finally, within the conversion of the Decree, the article 6-quinquies has inserted, which provides, also for the tax period 2021, for the increase of the exemption threshold referred to the so-called “fringe benefits” from € 258,23 to € 516,46. Employers and employees affected by the recognition of exempt goods and services within the limit set by Article 51 paragraph 3 of the relevant Italian Tax Law had already been able to benefit from the doubling of the exemption threshold during the tax year 2020.
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