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Phase 2 – reopening Italy: what happens now?

  1. Prohibition to dismiss for 5 months, whether individually or collectively;
  2. Extension of Governmental salary integration for up to 18 weeks;
  3. Direct payment of Governmental salary integrations by INPS;
  4. Extension and renewal of fixed-term employment contracts without justification;
  5. Health surveillance and prohibition to dismiss employees at higher risk from contagion;
  6. Up to 30-days paid parental leave;
  7. Unpaid parental leave;
  8. Lump-sum 600 and 1,000 euro bonuses for autonomous workers;
  9. Subsidies to pay employees’ salary and avoid terminations;
  10. Other news: what changed on May 18, 2020?

Sources:

  • Law by Decree No. 34/2020, issued on May 19, 2020 (the “Decree”);
  • Prime Minister Decree of May 17, 2020;
  • Protocol for the regulation of measures to fight and contain the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace, of April 24, 2020, as subsequently amended.

1. Prohibition to dismiss for 5 months, whether individually or collectively.

Collective redundancy procedures and individual terminations for objective reasons (i.e. dismissals related to the organization and management of the business) are prohibited from March 17, 2020 to August 17, 2020.

Moreover, individual dismissals that took place between February 23 and March 17, 2020 can be revoked by a company as long as it requests the Governmental salary integration for the terminated employee from the dismissal date. In case of revocation of the dismissal, the employment relationship will continue without any interruption and without penalties for the employer.

2. Extension of Governmental salary integration for up to 18 weeks.

Pursuant to the Decree, Governmental salary integrations can be granted for 9 additional weeks, with a total of 18 weeks, of which:

  • 14 weeks shall be used from February 23 to August 31; and
  • 4 weeks shall be used from September 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020.

Employers must apply for the Governmental salary integration within 1 month from the beginning of the suspension or reduction of working activity. In cases of suspension or reduction of working activity between February 23 and April 30, 2020, the Governmental salary integration must be requested by May 31, 2020.

3. Direct payment of Governmental salary integrations by INPS.

While under normal circumstances it would be for the employer to advance the payment of salary integration, pursuant to the Decree, employers can apply for the payment of salary integration to the employees to be made directly by INPS (the Italian Social Security Institution).

4. Extensions and renewal1 of fixed-term employment contracts without justification.

In certain cases, pursuant to Italian law, in order to enter into, extend or renew a fixed-term employment contract, it is necessary to indicate a reason.

Pursuant to the Decree and up to August 30, 2020, in order to cope with the restart of activities after the epidemiological emergency from Covid-19, there is no need to indicate a reason for extensions or renewals of fixed-term employments contracts existing on February 23, 2020.

5. Health surveillance and prohibition to dismiss employees at higher risk from contagion.

Until the end of the Covid-19 emergency, employers have to guarantee a high level of health surveillance to the employees who are most at risk from contagion, because of their age or their health condition. If the competent doctor declares that these employees cannot work because of the elevated risk of complications due to contagion, they cannot be terminated.

6. Up to 30-days paid parental leave.

Pursuant to the Decree, employees with families composed of 2 working parents, employed or self-employed, and children twelve years old or less, are entitled to:

  • 30 days parental leave with the payment of 50% of the salary; or to
  • baby-sitting vouchers up to Euro 1,200.00.

7. Unpaid parental leaves.

In cases of families composed of 2 working parents, employed or self-employed, and children less than sixteen years old, the parents have the right to abstain from work, one at a time, for the period schools are closed, without this counting as unjustified absence or holidays, but without remuneration.

8. Lump-sum 600 and 1,000 euro bonuses for autonomous workers.

Pursuant to the Decree, autonomous workers having an active VAT number on February 23, 2020, and workers with coordinated and continuous collaboration relationships on the same date, who are enrolled in the social security fund called “Gestione Separata” and who are not retired, are entitled to a lump-sum bonus of Euro 600.00 for the month of April, to be paid by the Italian Social Security Agency (“INPS”).

Moreover, autonomous workers having an active VAT number on May 19, 2020, who are enrolled in the social security fund called “Gestione Separata” and who are not retired, are entitled to a lump-sum bonus of Euro 1,000.00 for the month of May, to be paid by the Italian Social Security Agency (“INPS”). Such bonus is paid provided that the autonomous workers suffered a reduction of at least 33% of the income in the second two months of 2020, compared to the income of the second two months of 2019.

9. Subsidies to pay employees’ salary and avoid terminations.

Regions, autonomous provinces, chambers of commerce and other territorial bodies may grant subsidies to companies, by using their own funds.

Such subsidies may be granted for a maximum of twelve months and shall be used to pay up to 80% of employee’s salaries, who otherwise would have been terminated because of the suspension or the reduction in company activities due to the spread of Covid-19. The subsidies can be granted provided that the employees continue working during the period in which the subsidy is granted.

10. Other news: what changed on May 18, 2020?

  • From May 18, 2020, all companies can reopen, with the exception of gyms and swimming pools that are allowed to reopen from May 25 (unless the Regions decide to anticipate these reopening) and of theaters and cinemas, which are allowed to reopen from June 15, 2020;
  • Companies must always respect the “Protocol for the regulation of measures to fight and contain the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace” of April 24, 2020, as subsequently amended;
  • From May 18, 2020, the travel ban within each Region was abolished. From June 3, 2020, it will also be possible to travel to other regions without justification;
  • From June 3, 2020, travel to and from the Member States of the European Union will not be subject to any restrictions;
  • 1-meter distance must always be respected (2-meters in case of sports activities).

 

[1] Please note that for extension it is meant a prolongation of the fixed-term employment contract, agreed before the end of the contract itself.

For renewal it is meant a new fixed-term employment contract that is executed after 10 or 20 days from the end of the first fixed-term employment contract (the days depend respectively on whether the first contract lasted less or more than 6 months).