Littler Global Guide - Italy - Q1 2022

Browse through brief employment and labor law updates from around the globe. Contact a Littler attorney for more information or view our global locations.

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COVID-19: “Green Pass” for Employees

New Legislation Enacted

Authors: Carlo Majer, Partner, and Caterina Colombano, Associate – Littler

The Italian government has recently approved the Legislative Decree of 24 of March 24, 2022, which loosens the rules governing employees’ access to their workplace. Unlike what was previously established by previous regulations, all employees – until April 30, 2022 – will be required to show the basic “Green Pass,” i.e., the health record issued by the authorities in case of a full course of vaccination for COVID-19, certified recovery from the virus and in case of a rapid or molecular test with a negative result. Therefore, the differences between general employees and employees over 50, for whom the possession of the “enhanced Green Pass” (rafforzato) – i.e., the one issued in case of vaccination cycle or certified – are no longer applicable.

It should be noted, in this regard, that Legislative Decree n. 44 of 2021 has provided for the compulsory vaccination against the COVID-19 virus – until June 15, 2022 – for all subjects over 50 residing or staying in the Italian territory, except those who have proven health problems. The Ministry of Health can carry out checks through the registers kept by local health authorities and, if it finds that a subject required to be vaccinated is not vaccinated, it can impose fines.

Remote Working: Extension of “Simplified” Smart Working

New Legislation Enacted

Authors: Carlo Majer, Partner, and Caterina Colombano, Associate – Littler

Legislative Decree of March 24, 2022, extended the possibility for employers, until June 30, 2022, to use so-called “simplified” Smart Working: this allows companies to activate Smart Working without the need for an individual agreement with employees. Employers will have to communicate to the Ministry of Labor, exclusively with the forms made available on the relevant website and through the application therein (usable only with the SPID digital identity), the names of the employees concerned and the duration of the remote work service (whether fixed-term or open-ended).

After this period – unless further extensions are granted by the Italian Government – it will be necessary to stipulate an individual agreement with the workers who will work in Smart Working. The agreement will have to comply with the relevant legislation (Law no. 81 of 2017) and the Protocol concluded between the social partners in December 2021. These sources provide that, within the agreement (or in the company policy if any, to which the agreement may refer) a number of elements will have to be indicated, including, the alternation between the time in which the worker must work inside the company premises and remotely, the places from which smart working cannot be performed, the right to disconnect from the devices used to work, and possibly the manner in which the expenses for carrying out remote work are reimbursed, which, unlike telework, are not compulsorily borne by the employer.

Ukrainian Crisis: Refugee Flows and Hosting Conditions

New Order or Decree

Authors: Carlo Majer, Partner, and Caterina Colombano, Associate – Littler

In light of the recent conflict that exploded in Ukraine, to provide a more efficient response to the large migratory flows across the EU, the EU Council adopted Decision 2022/382 on March 4, 2022, which implemented the EU Directive 2001/55/EC, known as “Temporary Protection.” This is an exceptional protection regime for refugees from, among other countries, Ukraine, which entails the obligation for the Member States to provide such persons with residence permits for one year (extendable). To activate temporary protection internally, the Italian government has issued a measure in which it recognizes the Temporary Protection for one year, starting from March 4, 2022, which applies to refugees from Ukraine since February 24, 2022 (Ukrainian citizens as well as stateless persons or citizens of third countries who benefited from Temporary Protection or other equivalent treatment before this date), through the issuance of a residence permit for one year, extendable by six months in six months for a maximum period of one year.

The residence permit allows access to the national health system, the labor system, and the school system and there is also a system of accommodation in specific facilities. Moreover, the Department of Civil Protection is authorized to recognize the persons requesting Temporary Protection who have found independent accommodation, a one-off contribution of 300 euros per month per person, for a maximum duration of three months from the date of entry into the national territory, conventionally identified in the date of submission of the application for Temporary Protection if not otherwise determinable, and in any case not later than December 31st, 2022. In the presence of minors, in favor of the adult holder of legal guardianship or custody, an additional monthly contribution of 150 euros is recognized for each child under the age of 18 years.

Family Protection

New Order or Decree

Author: Carlo Majer, Partner, and Caterina Colombano, Associate – Littler

On March 31, 2022, the Italian government approved the draft of the Legislative Decree that implements the Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of June 20th, 2019 on work-life balance for parents and care providers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU, with the aim of promoting gender equality and a better distribution of care loads within families. Confirmation of the measures will have to wait for the publication of the official decree, which will take place by 2022.

As for new fathers, the changes introduced by the Budget Law of 2022, which establish a mandatory leave of 10 days to be used in the five months following childbirth, adoption, or foster care, would have been confirmed. The period of parental leave for single parents would have been extended from 10 to 11 months. Moreover, the maximum period within which parents taking paternity leave to receive an allowance equal to 30% of their salary, up to the child's 12th birthday, would have been extended from six to nine months. Other changes would include priority access to smart working to caregivers; automatic admission to remote working for parents of children with disabilities; maternity allowance for self-employed and freelance professionals.

Disability Protection in the Working Environment: Permits under Law no. 104/1992

Important Action by Regulatory Agency

Authors: Carlo Majer, Partner, and Caterina Colombano, Associate – Littler

Art. 33 of Law 104/1992 – i.e., the law on assistance, social integration, and the rights of disabled persons – provides that employees may benefit from three days' monthly leave to assist a spouse or relative up to the third degree who is disabled. Of relevance is Law no. 76/2016, which regulates civil unions between persons of the same sex and de facto cohabitations, and further provides that the regulatory provisions referring to marriage or spouses also apply to each of the parties to the civil union. Moreover, the Constitutional Court (Italy's highest court of justice) has declared the illegitimacy of art. 33 of Law no. 104/1992 because it did not include the cohabitant among the subjects entitled to benefit from leaves of absence.

In light of this, with Circular No. 38 of 2017, the National Institute of Social Security (INPS) has specified that the party to a civil union between persons of the same sex may take advantage of the permits de quo, as well as the de facto cohabitant. With Circular no. 36 of March 7, 2022, the INPS expanded the guidance, specifying that the relationship between the party to the civil union and the relatives of the other party must be legally recognized, with the result that the permits under Law 104/1992 must be recognized for the party to the civil union, even if the person assists relatives of the other party. At the same time, however, INPS pointed out that the legal bond of cohabitation is not recognized between the “de facto” partner and the relatives of the other partner, as the cohabitation is not a legal institution, but a factual situation. This is a reminder that in order to qualify a party to a civil union, one can refer to the records of the civil union registered in the civil status archives.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.