What benefits does Italy’s economic ‘Relaunch’ Decree introduce?

A new Decree, the ‘Rilancio’ or Relaunch Decree sets out urgent measures concerning heath, support for work and the economy, as well as social policies connected to the Covid-19 emergency in Italy. This article summarises the main measures in the Decree.


 

Below is a summary of the main provisions introduced in relation to companies and workers in the ‘Rilancio’ Decree (Decree-Law no. 34 of 19 May 2020).

 

 

Ordinary Wage Guarantee Fund (Cassa Integrazione Guadagni Ordinaria, CIGO) and Ordinary Allowance

 

Changes have been made to the range of beneficiaries, duration, and the procedure for gaining access to the ordinary wage guarantee fund and ordinary allowance in the context of the ‘Covid-19 Emergency’, even where access to the extraordinary wage guarantee fund (Cassa Integrazione Guadagni Straordinaria, CIGS) is converted into access to the CIGO Fund under article 20 of the Cura Italia Decree-Law, see here for details https://theword.iuslaboris.com/hrlaw/insights/italy-introduces-new-health-safety-and-economic-support-measures-to-manage-the-coronavirus-epidemic.

Workers who were employed at 25 March 2020 are eligible to receive the allowance.

The Decree provides for a twofold timeframe for duration of access to the fund:

  • 14 weeks between 23 February and 31 August 2020 (i.e., nine plus five weeks on the condition that the first nine weeks were used in full);
  • four weeks between 1 September and 31 October 2020, with the exception of companies in tourism and related sectors which it will be able to use the fund for periods prior to 1 September.

Individuals who receive the ordinary allowance are also entitled to an allowance for their family in relation to the pay period in question and on the same conditions as those for workers working normal hours.

The Decree has also amended the regulation for applications submitted from 18 June 2020 requesting directly paid wage supplements (under articles 19 CIGO and ordinary allowance, 20 conversion from CIGS to CIGO and 21 (onversion of ‘solidarity allowance’ into ordinary allowance.  

With respect to the procedural aspects of requesting access to CIGO and the ordinary allowance, please note:

  • The Decree has reintroduced the obligation to inform and consult trade unions, as well as carry out a joint assessment with them, which must take place (including electronically) within three days of prior notice being given.
  • The applications must be submitted by the end of the month following the one in which the period of suspension or reduction of hours began (so, no later than the fourth month).
  • The deadline for submitting applications relating to suspensions/reductions which begun between 23February and 30 April 2020 has been fixed at 31 May 2020.

The Decree has also introduced changes for the Wage Guarantee Fund for Agricultural Manual Workers (cassa integrazione salariale per gli operai agricoli, CISOA), which may be used for a maximum period of 90 days,  which is beyond the limits set under normal regulations (art. 8 of Law no. 457/1972), from 23 February to 31 October 2020 and, in any case, no later than December 2020. Workers who are employed by companies in the agriculture sector but to whom the CISOA does not apply, can submit a request for access (this is a departure from the Cura Italia Decree-Law).

Articles 68, 69 and 71 of the “Rilancio” Decree-Law; Articles 19, 20, 21, 22 ter, 22 quinquies of the Cura Italia Decree-Law

 

 

Exceptional wage guarantee fund (Cassa Integrazione Guadagni in Deroga, CIGD)

 

The Decree has made changes to the exceptional wage guarantee fund, making the same amendments relating to the beneficiaries and the duration as those made to the ordinary fund/ allowance:

  • The date by which the employees who will receive financial support from aforementioned fund must have been employed by the company applying for access has been postponed to 25 March 2020.
  • Access to the fund has been increased (18 weeks) according to a two-fold timeframe (i.e. nine plus five weeks from 23 February until 31 August 2020, on the condition that the first nine weeks were authorised and a further four weeks from 1 September until 31 October 2020).

The Decree has once again introduced the need for a trade union agreement for employers that have closed down business activity in compliance with health emergency measures.
For employers with production facilities located in multiple Regions or Autonomous Provinces, taccess to the Exceptional Wage Guarantee Fund can be granted by the Ministry of Labour. There is now also the possibility for businesses with premises located in multiple locations to pay employees an advance on the salary integration allowance.

Applications may be submitted to the appropriate INPS office from 18 June 2020. After this, the application must be submitted by the end of the month following that in which the company began suspending/reducing business activity.

Finally, the method for direct payments from INPS has been simplified. It will now provide an advance on the allowance equal to 40% of the authorised hours, to be paid within 15 days of the application date. The residual allowance will be paid following the receipt of all data from the employer.

Articles 70 and 71 Rilancio Decree-Law; Articles 22, 22 ter and 22 quater Cura Italia Decree-Law

 

 

Exceptional income support

 

An allowance equivalent to exceptional income support, limited to 12 months and, in any case, no later than 31 December 2020, may be granted to workers whose recourse to the exceptional wage guarantee fund ended between 1 December 2017 and 31 December 2018 and who are not entitled to receive NASPI (a cash benefit granted, on request, in the event of involuntary redundancy or expiry of a fixed-term employment contract, to employed workers).

Article 87 Rilancio Decree-Law

 

 

Unemployment benefits (NASPI and DIS-COLL)

 

Unemployment benefits which would have ended between 1 March and 30 April 2020 have been extended for a further two months on the condition that the interested parties do not benefit from other income support measures for dealing with Covid-19.

Article 92 Rilancio Decree-Law

 

 

Measures for employees


Special leave and childcare vouchers

The period of leave for parents with children under 12 has been extended from 15 days to 30 days (for which a benefit of up to 50% of their pay is granted), regardless whether pre-schools and schools are suspended. This leave can be used before 31 July 2020.

As an alternative, workers can choose to use one or more vouchers for the purchase of childcare services, the amount of which has been increased from EUR 600 to EUR 1,200, and which may also be used to pay for educational or recreational services. For the safety, defence, and public aid divisions of the public and private health sectors, the maximum level of the incentive has been increased from EUR 1,000 to EUR 2,000.

Finally, the Decree provides for the right of employees in the private sector with children under 16 (not children between 12 and 16 as it was previously) to refrain from working for the period in which educational services are suspended, without the payment of any benefit and with the right to keep their job, as long as the other parent does not receive income support and is not non-working.

Article 72 of the Rilancio Decree-Law, Articles 23 and 25 of the Cura Italia Decree-Law

 

 

 

Leave for caring for relatives with disabilities

 

A further 12 days of paid leave have been added for workers who are caring for relatives with handicaps. The leave may be used in the months of May and June 2020.

Article 73 Rilancio Decree-Law and Article 24 Cura Italia Decree-Law

 

 

Absences for disabled and immunocompromised employees

 

For public and private employees who are recognised as disabled or immunocompromised, the Decree has extended the deadline until which the period of absence from work, prescribed by the competent health authorities, can be treated as hospitalisation. The new deadline is 31 July 2020.

Article 74 Rilancio Decree-Law and Article 26 Cura Italia Decree-Law

 

 

The ‘last instance’ income fund

 

The allocation of the Last Instance Income Fund has been increased for the purpose of providing EUR 600 compensation and do not have an open-ended employment contract or a pension. The law that required applicants to be “exclusively” enrolled in a private pension fund has been repealed (see art. 34 of DL no. 23/2020).

Article 78 Rilancio Decree-Law and Article 44 Cura Italia Decree- Law

 

 

Emergency income (Reditto di Emergenza”, REM)

 

For families who are in financial trouble as a result of the Covid-19 health emergency, INPS will pay extraordinary income support called ‘Reditto di Emergenza’ or REM. Applications must be submitted by June 2020 and the benefit will be issued in two instalments, both equal to EUR 400.

Article 82 Rilancio Decree-Law

 

 

New allowances for employees

 

The following allowances will be paid by INPS:

  • An allowance of EUR 600 for April for self-employed workers registered with a separate INPS scheme and ‘collaboratori coordinati e continuativi’ (co.co.co.) workers. If certain requirements are fulfilled, this allowance is increased for the month of May to EUR 1,000 (article 84).
  • An allowance of EUR 600 for April for seasonal workers working in the tourism sector and spas, as well as temporary agency workers who work for businesses that use these sectors under certain conditions. If certain requirements are fulfilled, this allowance is increased for the month of May to EUR 1,000 (article 84).
  • An allowance of EUR 600 for April for self-employed workers enrolled in the special schemes of the Compulsory General Insurance Scheme (Assicurazione Generale Obbligatoria, AGO) (art. 84).
  • An allowance of EUR 500 for the month of April for workers in the agriculture sector (art. 84).
  • An allowance of EUR 600 for each of the months of April and May for other categories of workers (seasonal workers working in sectors other than that of tourism and spas, occasional workers, freelancers without a VAT number, door-to-door salespeople, those enrolled on the Pension Fund for workers in the Entertainment Industry) (article 84).
  • A monthly allowance equal to EUR 500 for the months of April and May for non live-in domestic workers, under certain conditions (article 85).

These allowances cannot be combined with each other, but can be combined with the ordinary disability allowance (article 86).

Articles 84 to 86 Rilancio Decree-Law

 

 

Flexible working

 

The Decree has introduced a new right for parents that have at least one child under 14, under which they can perform their work under flexible working practices until the end of the state of emergency, even in the absence of an individual agreement. This right only applies where the employee in question’s duties can be performed remotely and as long as the other parent does not receive income support and is not non-working.

Finally, the Decree allows private employers to implement flexible working practices for all employees, even without an individual agreement, until the end of the state of emergency and, in any case, until 31 December 2020.

Article 90 Rilancio Decree-Law

 

 

Measures for companies

 

Grants for wages

The Decree has also introduced the possibility for Regions, Autonomous Regions and Local Authorities to give State-aid by and no later than 31 December 2020 contributing to the staff costs of companies in certain sectors, regions or sizes, that have been particularly hit by the pandemic in order to avoid dismissals.

The grants, which cannot exceed 80% of gross monthly pay (including social security contributions borne by the employer), can be given for a maximum of 12 months and on the condition that staff who benefit from them continue to work continuously for the whole period for which the aid is granted.


The grant can be backdated to 1 February 2020 and can be combined with other employment support measures and with the deferral of tax and social security contribution payments.

Arts. 60 and 61 Rilancio Decree-Law

 

 

Dismissals

 

The Decree has increased the period (counting from 17 March 2020) during which individual dismissals for justified objective reason and collective dismissals are precluded from 60 days to five months and suspended related procedures. This means it is not possible to conduct dismissals until 17 August 2020.

It has also provided for the possibility for companies that terminated an employment contract for justified objective reason between 23 February and 17 March 2020, to revoke the termination at any time provided they submit an application for access to the wage guarantee fund under articles 19 to 22 of the Cura Italia Decree-Law. In this case, the employment contract will be restored without any interruption, and without any penalty or sanction on the employer.

Article 80 Rilancio Decree-Law - Article 46 Cura Italia Decree-Law

 

 

Health surveillance

 

The Decree provides, until 31 July 2020, for the exceptional health surveillance (carried out by the company’s occupational health doctor or, in cases in which such an appointment is not obligatory, by INAIL occupational health doctors) of employees who are particularly exposed to the risk of Covid-19 infection.

Furthermore it specifies that in such cases, an employee’s unfitness for the tasks cannot justify a withdrawal by the employer from an employment contract.

Article 83 Rilancio Decree-Law

 

 

New skills fund

 

For the year 2020 and in order to permit a gradual recovery following the emergency, the Decree provides for the possibility for company-level and local-level collective agreements to adjust working hours, as a result of changing organisational and production needs, assigning some hours to training courses. The costs relating to these training hours are borne by a special fund, called the New Skills Fund, set up by Anpal.

Article 88 Rilancio Decree-Law

 

 

Fixed-term contracts

 

In a departure from the normal rules, the Decree has also introduced the possibility of renewing or extending fixed-term employment contracts which were in place on 23 February 2020 until 30 August 2020, even none of the required reasons for these renewals/extensions apply.

Article 93 Rilancio Decree-Law

 

 

Social security attestations (DURC)

 

The Decree has provided that the documents attesting the correct fulfilment of social security obligations due between 31 January and 15 April 2020 will remain valid until 15 June 2020.

Article 81 Rilancio Decree-Law - Article 103 Cura Italia Decree-Law

 

 

Support for companies

 

INAIL has approved special interventions for companies that, after 17 March 2020, implemented anti-infection protocols in the workplace through the purchase of equipment, gear or electronic devices for the isolation or the distancing of workers and other individual protection equipment or kit.

The maximum amount that may be granted is equal to EUR 15,000 for businesses with up to nine employees, EUR 50,000 for businesses with ten to 50 employees and EUR 100,000 for businesses with more than 50 employees.


These contributions cannot be combined with other benefits, including tax benefits, which relating to costs sustained for the same preventive aims.

Aricle. 95 Rilancio Decree-Law

 

 

Tax credit

 

A tax credit equal to 60% of the expenses sustained by the business in the year 2020 has also been granted:

  • For reopening the business safely: up to a maximum of EUR 80,000. At the moment, those who benefit are companies whose businesses are open to the public (e.g., bars, restaurants, hotels), but the identification of further entitled parties, as well as of investments included in this relief, is entrusted to a Ministry of Economic Development Decree (Decreto MiSE).
  • For sanitising the workplace and acquiring personal protective equipment: up to a maximum of EUR 60,000. The credit is granted to individuals engaged in business, the arts or professions or organisations in the third sector. The criteria and the ways in which the benefit are applied and used will be defined by an ad hoc regulation which will be issued by the Italian Revenue Agency (Agenzia delle Entrate).

Articles 120 and 125 Rilancio Decree-Law

 

Visit our Coronavirus Resource Hub and find the information and tools you need to help you manage your international workforce in these times of crisis.

 

Firm: Toffoletto De Luca Tamajo

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