On March 18, 2020, the Italian Government enacted a new decree (document in Italian here) with measures to support businesses and families during the Covid-19 crisis.
Below is a summary of the main provisions:
Social shock absorbers
In case of reduced or suspended business activity due to Covid-19, certain existing social shock absorbers will be funded and made available to qualifying employers, like “CIGO”, “Fondi di Solidarietà Bilaterali Alternativi” and “FIS”. Each one of these social shock absorbers has specific requirements that will be implemented in the coming days by provisions issued at ministerial and regional level. We can provide additional information upon request. In addition to the above, a special unemployment fund, known as “CIGD”, will be made available for employers who do not qualify for the above listed social shock absorbers.
The above social shock absorber (with some specific regulation for CIGD only that will be implemented in the coming days at regional level), will have the following main features:
- Employees will be entitled to the payment of an indemnity equal to 80% of salary but maximum limits apply;
- Duration: maximum 9 weeks, continuous or non-continuous;
- Period covered: from February 23, 2020, until August 2020;
- Beneficiaries: all employees in force on February 23, 2020;
- Procedure: union information and consultation done from remote and to be completed within three days;
- Application deadline: by the end of the fourth month following the beginning of the suspension;
No contribution is due by the employer to access this measure.
A case-by-case assessment is necessary to determine which social shock absorber should be used, taking into account that funding is subject to spending limits and that applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis.
Prohibition of dismissal
- Individual and collective terminations for business related reasons are prohibited until May 18, 2020.
- A caretaker of a disabled person, who lives with the same, cannot be terminated for not coming to work, if the need to stay home has been communicated in advance to the employer.
Special leave for parents and vouchers for baby-sitting
- Employees who are parents of children under the age of 12 are entitled to 15 days of special leave while schools are closed. An indemnity equal to 50% of salary will be paid by the Italian Social Security Institution. The leave is granted alternatively to both parents, at the condition that they are not already receiving another unemployment allowance or are working from home on smart-working.
- Employees who are parents of children aged 12 to 16 are alternatively entitled to a special unpaid leave to be used until schools reopen.
- As an alternative measure to the above, parents can apply for a baby-sitting voucher, the value of which is set at Euro 600.00 paid by the Italian Social Security Institution.
Additional leave for parents with disabled children
- Employees who are parents of a disabled child are entitled to 12 additional days of paid leave to be taken between March and April 2020, in addition to the special leaves for parents mentioned above.
- Severely disabled employees or employees who have a severely disabled person in their family have the right to use smart working until 30 April 2020, unless this means of working is totally incompatible with the employer’s business.
- Funds for companies buying personal protection equipment (PPE
- Companies buying PPE for workforce can apply for specific funds made available by INAIL, the National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work, and Invitalia, the National Agency for Investments and Business Development.
Suspension of terms and statute of limitations
- Terms related to pending litigation and collective dismissal procedures started after February 23, 2020, are suspended until May 18, 2020.
- Terms and deadlines related to social security, welfare and insurance coverage are suspended from 23 February 2020 to 1 June 2020;
- Requests and procedures related to the mandatory hiring of disabled employees are suspended until May 18, 2020.
Injuries and sick leave
- Coronavirus infection, contracted at the workplace, is treated as an accident at work.
- Time spent in quarantine is treated as sick leave and shall not be taken into account when calculating the maximum duration of guaranteed sick leave.
The period of absence from work of severely disabled and severely ill employees is treated as sick leave.