Updates on labour matters introduced by the Budget Law for 2023

Prepared by Francesca Tironi, Giulia Spalazzi and Marco Bove

On 29 December 2022, the Budget Law for 2023 (Law 197/2022) was published in the Official Gazette. The Law contains numerous interventions on labour and social security matters, aimed at reforming (without distorting) the employment regulation.

Analyzed below the main measures introduced and confirmed for 2023, which include (i) the changes to the smart working regulations (ii) the introduction of the “Quota 103”, the confirmation of the “APE Sociale” and the modification of the requirements for the access to pension treatment through “Opzione Donna”, (iii) the cut in the tax wedge for employees, (iv) tax relief for the hiring of young employees under 36, women and recipients of Basic Income, (v) the extension of parental leave, (vi) the changes to the discipline of vouchers.

Changes to the smart working regulations

Article 1, paragraph 306 of the Budget Law provided for the extension of the right to work in smartworking until 31 March 2023 for frail employees, for whom the employer must ensure the performance of work in smartworking also through the assignment to a different task included in the same category or classification area, as defined by the collective labour agreements applied, without any reduction in remuneration. We also recall that as of 1 January 2023, the simplified smartworking regime, introduced by the emergency legislation of the last two years, will end. From the beginning of the new year, therefore, it will be mandatory to sign an individual agreement between the employer and the employee regulating the modalities for carrying out work outside the company premises and under the smartworking regime.

Introduction of “Quota 103”

Paragraphs 283-285 of Law no. 197/2022 have provided for the possibility of access to early retirement treatment for those who, by 31 December 2023, reach a registered age of at least 62 years and a seniority of contributions of at least 41 years. The early retirement treatment with Quota 103 is recognized for a maximum gross monthly value not exceeding five times the minimum treatment envisaged by current legislation.

Confirmation of the APE Sociale

The APE Sociale has been extended for the whole 2023. APE Sociale provides for the payment of an allowance that accompanies the employee from 63 years of age up to the ordinary old-age pension.The long-term unemployed, caregivers, invalids who have a certified disability of at least 74%, and heavy-duty employees.

Amendments to Opzione Donna regulations

The procedures for accessing early retirement benefits for female employees, the so-called “Opzione Donna”, have been reformed. As a result of the changes introduced by paragraph 292 of Law 197/2022, female workers who, by 31 December 2022, have accrued a contribution period of 35 years or more and a retirement age of at least 60 years, reduced by one year for each child up to a maximum of two years, and who are in one of the following conditions, can access the “Opzione Donna”:

  1. they have been assisting, at the time of the application and for at least six months, a spouse or first-degree relative living with a disability, or a second-degree relative living with a disability if the parents or spouse of the severely disabled person have reached the age of 70 or are also affected by disabling pathologies or are dead or missing;
  2. have a reduction in working capacity, ascertained by the competent commissions for the recognition of civil invalidity, greater than or equal to 74%;
  3. they are workers made redundant or employees of enterprises for which a round table for the management of the enterprise crisis is active at the enterprise crisis structure.

Cut of the tax wedge for employees

An exemption was introduced on the portion of social security contributions due by public and private employees, excluding domestic employees, for pay periods from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2023 equal to:

  • 2% if the taxable remuneration does not exceed a monthly amount of € 2,692;
  • 3% if the taxable salary does not exceed a monthly amount of € 1,923.

A 3-point reduction in contributions is then granted to employees whose salary does not exceed € 25,000 per year. Above this limit and up to € 35,000 per year, the reduction is confirmed at 2 points.

Contribution relief for hiring young people under 36

The new Budget Law has provided for the extension of the total contribution exemption on the hiring of young people under 36 made in the year 2023. Employers will be entitled to benefit from the total exemption of contributions – up to a maximum amount of € 8,000 per year and for a maximum period of 36 months (48 months for private employers who make hirings in a head office or production unit located in the regions: Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Apulia, Sardinia and Sicily) – for the hiring of young people under 36 years of age, on open-ended contracts (excluding apprenticeship contracts and domestic work contracts) and for the transformations of fixed-term contracts into open-ended contracts made in 2023.

Contribution relief for the hiring of women belonging to the so-called ‘disadvantaged categories

The contribution relief for hiring women belonging to the so-called ‘disadvantaged categories’ is also confirmed for 2023. Employers will, in fact, be able to benefit from the total exemption from contributions in the amount of € 8,000 per year for fixed-term, open-ended hirings, as well as for the conversions to open-ended status of a previous facilitated relationship carried out in 2023 of women who find themselves in one of the following conditions:

  • women who are at least 50 years of age and have been unemployed for more than 12 months;
  • women of any age, resident in regions eligible for funding under the EU Structural Funds, who have not been in regular paid employment for at least 6 months;
  • women of any age working in professions or occupations in economic sectors characterized by a pronounced gender gap, with a gender gap rate at least 25% higher than the average gender gap, and unemployed for at least 6 months;
  • women of any age, wherever they reside and who have not been in regular paid employment for at least 24 months.

Tax relief for hiring citizenship income recipients

In order to promote the stable inclusion in the labour market of citizenship income recipients, the Budget Law has provided for the recognition of an exemption from the payment of 100 per cent of social security contributions, excluding premiums and contributions due to INAIL, for private employers who hire citizenship income recipients with open-ended employment contracts in 2023. This exemption is granted for a maximum period of 12 months and up to a maximum amount equal to € 8,000 on an annual basis, prorated and applied on a monthly basis.

Extension of parental leave

The Budget Law provided for the extension of parental leave under Legislative Decree 151/2001 for an additional month. The additional month of leave, which can be used alternatively by the father or the mother, is paid at 80% of the salary (previously was set at 30%) and can be used within the sixth year of the child’s life (or within the sixth year of the child’s entry into the family in the case of adoption or fostering), recognized alternatively (or alternatively for fractions of a period).

Changes to the regulation of work vouchers

Changes have also been made to the regulation of occasional work. The Budget Law has in fact provided for the increase – from € 5,000 to € 10,000 – of the maximum limit of remuneration that may be paid by each user for occasional services, in the course of a calendar year, with reference to all the workers. The new provisions have also provided for the possibility of using the occasional work contract for employers with more than 10 permanent employees (previously the limit was set at 5).

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For a deeper discussion, please contact:

Francesca Tironi

PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti