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Measures taken by the Italian Authorities to Face the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Workplace

By Sara Mandelli and Ilaria Ballabeni, Baldi & Partners

Since March 2020, the Italian Government, through a sequence of Law Decrees (02 March 2020 and 19 May 2020), introduced several urgent support measures for families, workers, and companies seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, the most relevant measures implemented in the field of labour law are briefly summarised below:

Prohibition of redundancies

All companies, regardless of the number of employees, are forbidden to make redundancies for economic reasons.

Right to smart working

Parents with children up to 14 years of age have the right to ask for such a measure, subject to two limitations: a) there must not be another parent in the household who benefits from other income support measures; b) there must not be a non-working parent in the household.

Extension of social security cushions

The Decrees provide for simplified procedures to apply for the Ordinary (for companies having more than 15 employees) and Extraordinary payroll subsidies. The term for the salary integration measure, by means of the Italian Law Decree of 16 March 2020 (Decreto Cura Italia), was set at nine weeks maximum from 23 February 2020 to 31 August 2020, and then, with the Italian Law Decree of 19 May 2020 (Decreto Rilancio), extended for an additional nine weeks, until 31 October 2020. In compliance with this simplification measure, among others, electronic information, consultation, and joint examination procedures with the trade unions are permitted and all workers are allowed access to the extraordinary payroll subsidies, as the seniority of service requirement of 90 days is temporarily not applied.

Parental leave

Parents and foster parents with children up to 12 years of age or of any age if disabled, have the faculty to be absent from work for a maximum of 30 days with the right to 50% of their wage. The same right is granted to parents with children between 12 and 16 years of age, but with no wage, and the provisions are also applied in case of adopted children or children in temporary foster care.

Babysitter bonus for families

As an alternative to parental leave, families may apply for the “babysitter bonus”, now increased from EUR 600 to EUR 1,200. This budget could also be spent on childcare summer camps and supplementary childcare services.

Caregivers bonus

A bonus of EUR 500 per month for April and May 2020 has been granted to housemaids, caregivers, and babysitters who, as of 23 February 2020, had one or more employment contracts for a total time of more than ten hours per week, provided that they do not live with their employer.

Quarantine

In case of quarantine, the period spent by private workers under active health monitoring measures is treated as sick leave, for compensation purposes, and is not counted for sick grace period purposes (i.e., the time during which the worker, even though absent from work, has the right to keep the job, and after which, the worker may be dismissed).

Safety measures in the workplace

On 14 March 2020, the Italian Government signed a Protocol with the Trade Unions, updated on 24 April 2020, on the safety measures to be taken in the workplace to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It is worth noting that the measures taken by the Italian Government to address the COVID-19 emergency are continuously evolving. Indeed, on 07 August 2020, the Prime Minister approved the Decreto Agosto, providing for several further actions to control the spread of the pandemic and supporting measures, including, a) a further extension of the social security cushions for 18 weeks, and b) the extension of the full prohibition to dismiss for companies benefitting from payroll subsidies (ordinary or extraordinary).


Sara Mandelli

Sara Mandelli

GGI member firm
Baldi & Partners Avvocati e Commercialisti
Advisory, Auditing & Accounting, Fiduciary & Estate Planning, Law Firm Services, Tax
Reggio Emilia, Italy
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Baldi & Partners was born from the merger between two GGI member firms: Studio Baldi (Tax & Accounting) and Studio Legale Baldi (Legal). It is a multidisciplinary professional firm specialised in legal, tax consulting, audit and accounting, and further advisory services. Its sister company, Baldi Finance, extends the array of offered services to corporate finance.

Sara Mandelli, an Italian Senior Lawyer, has been a partner at Baldi & Partners Avvocati e Commercialisti since 2018. She advises within the labour, corporate compliance, and litigation areas.
Ilaria Ballabeni

Ilaria Ballabeni

GGI member firm
Baldi & Partners Avvocati e Commercialisti
Advisory, Auditing & Accounting, Fiduciary & Estate Planning, Law Firm Services, Tax
Reggio Emilia, Italy
T: +39 0522 271 220
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Ilaria Ballabeni, an Italian Junior Lawyer, has been part of the Baldi & Partners Avvocati e Commercialisti staff since 2014. She advises within the international corporate, commercial, and labour areas. In 2015, she took part in a GGI Staff Exchange Programme at McCabe Curwood, Sydney.


Published: Labour Law Newsletter, No. 09, Autumn 2020 l Photo: Jürgen Fälchle - stock.adobe.com

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