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Covid-19 Employment Law Update – Latest measures to fight the second wave of the virus in Italy

Measures enacted in Italy to overcome the second wave of the virus, in 8 bullet points:

  1. Division of the Italian territory in 3 geographical areas (Red, Orange and Yellow), enacting a “soft” lockdown with varying measures through December 3, 2020;
  2. Extension of the termination ban to January 31, 2021;
  3. Extension of Governmental Salary Integration for an additional 6 weeks;
  4. Renewal of exemption from social security contributions for an additional 4 weeks;
  5. Suspension of November 2020 social security contribution and insurance premium payments;
  6. Right to remote-working for parents of children under 16-years old in case of suspension of school activities and the right to abstain from working;
  7. Parental leave and babysitter vouchers for parents of children aged 14 or less;
  8. Mandatory remote working in the public sector and strongly recommended in the private sector.

Sources:

  • Law by Decree no. 149/2020, entered into force on November 9, 2020 (the “Ristori-bis Decree);
  • Law by Decree no. 137/2020, entered into force on October 29, 2020 (the “RistoriDecree”);
  • Prime Minister Decree of November 3, 2020 (the “PM Decree”).
1. Division of the Italian territory in 3 geographical areas (Red, Orange and Yellow), enacting a “soft” lockdown with different measures through December 3, 2020

Since November 6, 2020, each Italian region has belonged to the Red area, the Orange area or the Yellow area, where different measures have been adopted depending on how the contagion rate is developing across each region. The whole country is under a nighttime curfew from 10pm to 5am.

  • Red area (currently Calabria, Lombardy, Piemonte, Valle d’Aosta, and Provincia autonoma di Bolzano).
    In this area the toughest restrictions are applied. All shops and catering services (restaurants, bars, etc.) shall be shut down, with the exception of those selling primary needs goods or providing essential public services. Movement is prohibited, unless for work, health or other essential reasons.
  • Orange area (currently Abruzzo, Basilicata, Liguria, Puglia, Sicilia, Toscana, and Umbria).
    Shopping malls shall be shut down on weekends and catering services (restaurants, bars, etc.) shall be shut down, with only takeaway services allowed. People can move only within their municipality, unless for work, health, or other essential reasons.
  • Yellow area (the rest of the Italian territory).
    Shopping malls shall be shut down on weekends. Catering services (restaurants, bars, etc.) can stay open from 5am to 6pm and takeaway is allowed until 10pm. People can move only within their region, unless for work, health or other essential reasons.
2. Extension of the termination ban to January 31, 2021

Collective redundancy procedures and individual terminations for objective reasons (i.e., dismissals related to the organization and management of the business) are prohibited until January 31, 2021.

The termination ban does not apply in cases of permanent termination of the business activity due to liquidation of the company, bankruptcy without temporary exercise of the business and execution of a shop agreement with the national trade unions with incentives to terminate employment relationships.

3. Extension of Governmental Salary Integration for additional 6 weeks

Companies can request 6 additional weeks of Governmental Salary Integrations, to be used in the period between November 16, 2020 and January 31, 2021.

Companies may have to pay a fee in order to use such 6 weeks. In fact, the additional 6 weeks are free only for companies that had a reduction of more than 20% of their turnover in the first semester of 2020 as compared to the first semester of 2019, for those that started their businesses after January 1, 2019, and for companies that were forced to close, totally or in part, by Prime Minister Decree of October 24, 2020.

4. Renewal of exemption from social security contributions for additional 4 weeks

Employers who do not request the additional 6 weeks of Governmental Salary Integrations may be granted a maximum of 4-week exemption from social security contributions to be used until January 31, 2021.

5. Suspension of November 2020 social security contribution and insurance premium payments

Companies whose activity was suspended or restricted per effect of Prime Minister Decree of October 24, 2020 can pay social security contributions and insurance premium payments due for November 2020 by March 16, 2021, without any fines or interests. Alternatively, employers may apply for a four-month instalment plan and in such a case the first payment shall be made by March 16, 2021. The suspension of social security contribution payments (but not the suspension of the insurance premiums) also applies to companies in the Red and Orange areas.

6. Right to remote-working for parents of children under 16-years old in case of suspension of school activitiesand the right to abstain from working

Through December 31, 2020, employees with families composed of 2 working parents, employed or self-employed, and children aged 16 or less, have the right to work remotely in case of suspension of school activities.

For the same period, employees with children aged between 14 and 16 may also abstain from working in case of suspension of school activities. While they have the right to retain their job, they will not receive any salary.

7. Parental leave and babysitter vouchers for parents of children aged 14 or less

Through December 31, 2020, employees with families composed of 2 working parents, employed or self-employed, and children enrolled in middle school (scuola secondaria di primo grado), have the right to abstain from working if the child is in quarantine or the school activities have been suspended, while continuing to  receive 50% of their salary paid by INPS. Alternatively, they are entitled to baby-sitting vouchers up to 1,000 Euro.

8. Mandatory remote working in the public sector and strongly recommended in the private sector

Pursuant to the Prime Minister Decree, all employees of Public Administrations must work remotely whenever possible.

It is also strongly recommended that employees of private companies work remotely.