Supporting workers and guaranteeing incomes
The Italian Government has set aside over € 10 billion, with the aim of guaranteeing employment and income levels by strengthening the entire social safety net system (“Cassa Integrazione” [fund to supplement earnings] and wage subsidy fund) throughout Italy and for each production sector, including businesses with fewer than 5 employees. There is a similar focus on types of work that, due to their autonomous or unusual nature, do not normally have access to the main social safety nets. To this end, steps have been taken to ensure income support for workers who are not covered by the exceptional fund to supplement earnings (“Cassa Integrazione in deroga”), such as seasonal workers, including those in the tourism sector, the self-employed, including workers in the entertainment industry and workers with a fixed-term contract.
- With a total of € 4 billion being set aside, the exceptional fund to supplement earnings shall be extended throughout Italy, for all employees in all production sectors. Employers, including companies with fewer than 5 employees, that have to suspend or reduce their activity due to the epidemiological emergency can resort to the exceptional “Cassa Integrazione” fund to supplement earnings, on the new grounds of "Covid-19", for a maximum duration of 9 weeks. This possibility has also been extended to companies that already benefit from the extraordinary Cassa Integrazione. Stamp duty is exempted for requests submitted by employers.
- With regard to the Wage Subsidy Fund, which normally covers companies employing between 5 and 50 people, the standard allowance can be used as an exception by companies with between 5 and 15 employees, with a derogation being introduced regarding the limits on the amount that can be drawn.
- The Italian Banking Association (“ABI”) has signed an agreement with INPS (Italian National Institute of Social Security) and trade union organisations, allowing workers who have been suspended from work due to the Covid-19 emergency to receive an advance on the ordinary and exceptional “Cassa Integrazione”, equal to € 1,400. To receive these payments, the procedures no longer require paper forms to be sent with the IBAN certified by bank or post office workers, as the ID code used can be validated by the IT systems.
- € 600 indemnity for self-employed workers and holders of VAT numbers. This indemnity will go to almost 5 million people: professionals not enrolled with official registers, people working under a “co.co.co.” agreement (freelance work contracts coordinated by an employer) with a separate national insurance and pension scheme, artisans, traders, farmers and sharecroppers, seasonal workers in tourism and spa establishments, workers in the entertainment industry and agricultural workers. The € 600 indemnity cannot be combined with pensions or salaries.
- INPS (Italian National Institute of Social Security) will be able to issue digital identities (INPS pin numbers) through a simplified procedure, by receiving an electronic version of the elements necessary to identify those requesting one.
- An ad hoc fund, called the 'Last resort fund', has been set up, worth € 300 million, to support professionals enrolled with official registers and other professionals who are excluded from the € 600 indemnity, helping a total of 500,000 people. The € 600 indemnity is paid to sports collaborators, with € 50 million being set aside to help around 83,000 people. Dismissal procedures initiated after 23rd February 2020 have been suspended for the two months after the decree comes into force. During this period, employers, regardless of the type of contract, cannot withdraw from the contract for an objective just cause, including dismissal for economic reasons.
- Incentives and contributions for workplace sanitisation and safety - For companies, incentives have been introduced for sanitisation and increased safety at work, through a tax credit being granted, as well as contributions thanks to an INAIL fund being established; contributions are also provided for local authorities through a specific fund.
- Incentives for workers - Workers with a gross annual income of up to € 40,000 who carried out their jobs at their workplace during the month of March (not via smart working) shall receive a € 100 incentive (in proportion to the number of days worked).
- People working for municipal social and welfare services will also be able to benefit from this.
- Measures to support working parents, following the closure of schools: thanks to approximately 1.3 billion being set aside, parental leave of 15 additional days is provided at 50% pay or, alternatively, € 600 baby sitter vouchers are available (increased to € 1,000 for public health workers and police officers) as well as vouchers for the self-employed.
- People with serious disabilities can claim an increase of up to 12 days’ paid leave if they benefit from Italian Law no. 104.
- The IT equipment (laptops and tablets) needed for flexible working arrangements shall be provided for employees of the Public Administration. For both public and private sectors, periods of sickness or quarantine or trust-based stays at home shall be equivalent to sick leave.