Employment obligations regarding “disabled” personnel: tightening of sanctions

Prepared by Marzio Scaglioni and Leila Rguibi

In order to facilitate the insertion into the labor market of disadvantaged categories such as disabled workers and the so-called “protected categories” (i.e. orphans and widows of subjects who died due to work, war or service, war refugees, etc.) our legislative system provides that employers who employ at least 15 “eligible” workers are obliged to include one or more disabled workers.

In particular, Law no. 68/1999 establishes that the obligation to hire disabled workers is determined as follows:

  • companies whose “calculation base” is between 15 and 35 employees are obliged to hire 1 disabled worker;
  • companies whose “calculation base” is between 36 and 50 employees are obliged to hire 2 disabled workers;
  • companies with more than 50 employees are obliged to employ a number of disabled people equivalent to 7% of the workforce.

Furthermore, for companies whose “calculation base” is higher than 50 employees, Law no. 68/1999 imposes the further obligation to hire workers belonging to the so-called “protected categories”. In particular:

  • companies whose “calculation basis” is between 51 and 150 employees are obliged to hire 1 worker belonging to the “protected categories”;
  • companies whose “calculation basis” exceeds 150 employees are obliged to hire a number of workers belonging to protected categories equal to 1% of the total company staff.

In order to determine the “calculation basis” on which the above employment obligations are defined, it is necessary to take into account the company personnel employed throughout the national territory – to be calculated in proportion to the working hours performed – and to deduct some categories of workers specifically provided for by the law. By way of example only, disabled workers employed in accordance with Law no. 68/1999, workers employed with fixed-term contracts lasting up to 6 months, managerial staff, workers hired for activities to be carried out abroad limited to the duration of this activity, apprentices, workers hired to replace workers absent and with the right to keep their jobs, etc.

Together with the compliance with the employment obligations referred to above, our legislator has established that each employer who has a calculation basis of at least 15 employees prepares and annually sends to the territorially competent Employment Center the so-called “information disabled declaration”, within which – by January 31st  of each year – the employer, also through his intermediary delegate, is required to provide a clear and precise indication of the company staff in force at December 31st of the previous year. The Company whose obligations regarding the disabled have not changed compared to the previous year is not required to send a new “information disabled declaration”.  

We would like to remind you that the failure or delay in sending the declaration entails an administrative sanction which, starting from 1st January 2022, is higher than in the past. In particular, the Ministerial Decree no. 194/2021 established that the defaulting employer is punished with an administrative fine of € 702.43, increased by a further € 34.02 for each day of delay.

Similarly, failure to fulfill the obligation to hire disabled workers within the terms set by the law (60 days from the moment the obligation arises), is punished with an administrative sanction, also in this case increased from 1st January 2022, equal to € 196.05 for each disabled worker who is not employed on the same day.

In order to avoid the above-mentioned administrative sanctions, if the legal requirements are met, the reference legislation provides the employer with a number of tools for fulfilling the employment obligations described above, such as the agreement and the partial exemption. Broadly speaking, the first one allows the opportunity to postpone the recruitment of disabled workers within the terms established by the agreement stipulated with the territorially competent employment office. The second allows the payment of a daily contribution of €39.01 in order to partially cover the number of disabled workers to be hired under Law 68/99.

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For a deeper discussion please contact:

Marzio Scaglioni

PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti