Covid-19 quarantine periods and sickness allowance

Prepared by Marzio Scaglioni and Leila Rguibi

With the Message no. 2842 of August 6th, 2021, the INPS reminded private employers that the quarantine periods due to Covid-19 ordered by the competent Health Authorities, cannot be compensated by the Institute with reference to the current year.

In particular, it is worth remember that the art. 26 paragraph 1 of the so-called “Care Italia Decree” – Legislative Decree no. 18/2020 – established that the quarantine period (with active surveillance or in fiduciary home permanence with active surveillance) spent by employees of the private sector was equated, from an economic point of view, to illness and that, therefore, would have been compensated by the INPS within the limits of the resources allocated by the Legislator for the year 2020 (663.1 million euros).

The aforementioned regulatory framework has not been amended to date, with the result that, up to now, there are no further allocations for the quarantine periods occurring during the year 2021 to be compensated by the State (through the INPS). 

Therefore, first with the Message no. 1667 of April 23th, 2021 and then with the Message no. 2842 referred to above, the INPS confirmed that the economic equalisation of quarantine periods with illness is a measure with a ceiling on expenditure, which ceases to produce effects when the amounts allocated are reached. It follows that, unless subsequent regulatory interventions aimed at allocating additional funds, the Institute will not be able to compensate the periods of quarantine occurred during the year 2021, with the consequent recovery of any amounts already paid with reference to the events of quarantine prior to the date of publication of the Message mentioned above.

In the event that no further allocations are made available for the year 2021, private employers would have to manage the absences of workers affected by quarantine periods without being able to benefit from the economic indemnity paid by the INPS. However, it should be noted that the departments concerned are currently reviewing the allocation of the resources needed to refinance the above-mentioned protections also for the year 2021.

Finally, it should be noted that all of the above should not be considered applicable either to periods of illness confirmed by Covid-19 (which will continue to be managed according to the ordinary rules in force), or to periods of absence from work of the so-called “fragile workers” who are unable to perform work from the domicile (with regard to which the equivalence of the absence from work to hospitalization – and the consequent economic coverage – will be recognized for events occurring by 30th June, 2021 and in any case within the limits of availability of funds allocated for the year 2021, amounting to €282.1 million).

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Marzio Scaglioni

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