COVID-19 | DL 18/2020: social safety nets and other emergency measures to support labor

On March 17, 2020, the Italian Government has issued Law Decree no. 18\2020 (the "Decree") concerning "measures to strengthen the national health service and provide economic support for families, workers and businesses related to the epidemiological emergency by COVID-19".

The Decree has extended to the entire national territory some extraordinary provisions concerning social security benefits, reduction of working hours and support to workers, thus providing aid to corporations and employees to deal with the various issues related to the current pandemic emergency, as described below in this newsletter.

A. Extension of the special measures for the whole national territory

  1. The Decree provides for special conditions to benefit of the ordinary temporay lay-ff procedure (herinafter for simplicity referred  as "Cassa Integrazione Guadagni Ordinaria - "CIGO"). The purpose of CIGO is to respond to temporary corporate crisis situations. In particular, the admission to the CIGO treatment guarantees the employer to be able to benefit from an economic indemnity provided by the Italian Social Security National Authority (so called, “INPS”), in order to provide the employees  with an indemnity (“Indemnity”) for the salary lost due to the suspension from work ordered by the employer. Once the relevant application is approved, the Indemnity is granted to all workers hired with an employment contract, including apprentices, before February 23, 2020, with the exclusion of managers ("dirigenti") and home-based workers.

The Indemnity – paid by INPS - equals to:

  • 80% of the employee monthly salary of the employee concerned or
  • a maximum of EUR 1,200 gross per month, if the monthly employee’s remuneration is higher than EUR 2,160 gross.

Indeed, the Indemnity is paid – proportionally – only for the hours of work lost due to suspension.

CIGO is granted for a maximum period of 9 weeks, consecutive or split into several periods, for the period starting from February 23, 2020 and, in any case, within August 31, 2020.
Companies wishing to benefit from the CIGO are required to follow a special procedure which, due to the Decree, is now accelerated and simplified:

  • the description " COVID-19 Emergency" will be sufficient to explain the reasons of the request;
  • the treatment is granted starting from February 23, 2020, for a maximum duration of 9 weeks and in any case within August 31, 2020;
  • the unions may ask for a consultation procedure – which may be carried out also remotely by way of a teleconference - to be complied, but the entire process must be concluded within 3 days;
  • as an exception to the ordinary subjective requirements, no minimum effective seniority is required, as it is sufficient that the employee is employed by the employer on 23 February 2020.

B. Special measures “on the reduction of working time and support to workers”

The Decree also provides for the provisions described below.

  1. special 15 days leave with - 50% pay - for Employees of private sector, with children either not older than 12 or regardless the age if disabled. As an alternative to the specific leave mentioned above, it is possible to choose the payment of a bonus for the purchase of baby-sitting services up to an overall maximum limit of €600. The bonus for the purchase of baby-sitting services is also granted to self-employed workers who are not members of INPS, subject to notification by the respective pension funds of the number of beneficiaries.
  2. Employees’ right to be absent from work, for parents employed in the private sector (including foster parents) with children who are between 12 and 16 years old, if the following conditions are met, alternatively:
  • there is no other parent in the family unit receiving income support measures in the event of suspension or termination of employment;
  • there is no non-working parent in the family unit.
  1. Quarantine with active surveillance (“quarantena con sorveglianza attiva”) or permanently under house trust with active surveillance (“permanenza domiciliare fiduciaria con sorveglianza attiva”) is now treated as a period of illness that cannot be counted for the purposes of the maximum period of sickness provided for by the relevant applicable law (“periodo di comporto”).
  2. Indemnity amounting to EUR 600, for the month of March, for self-employed workers with VAT in force on February 23, 2020 and for workers with coordinated and continuous collaboration relationships in force on the same date, registered with the “Gestione Separata INPS”, or enrolled in the “Gestioni speciali dell’assicurazione generale obbligatoria (AGO)”, not pension holders and not enrolled in other compulsory social security schemes.
  3. With reference to dismissals, the Decree provides as follows:
  1. from the date of effectiveness of this Decree, the collective dismissal procedure shall be prohibited for 60 days and during the same period pending procedures started after February 23, 2020 shall be suspended; and
  2. until the expiration of the abovementioned 60-day period, the employer, regardless of the number of employees, may not withdraw from the contract for justified objective reasons.

 

C. New judicial provisions

Finally, the Decree with reference to judiciary proceedings, provides as follows:

  • from March 9, 2020 until April 15, 2020, hearings in civil and criminal proceedings, pending at all courts, shall be postponed ex officio after April 15, 2020;
  • from March 9 until April 15, 2020, the time limits for the execution of any act relating to all civil and criminal proceedings shall be suspended;
  • the postponement of hearings and the suspension of time limits do not operate for particularly urgent matters (including family, children, fundamental rights and criminal proceedings with expiring deadlines for precautionary measures) or declared urgent by the Judge;
  • from April 16 until June 30, 2020, the heads of the judicial offices will establish measures to avoid gatherings within the judicial office and close contacts between persons, such as the holding of hearings with remote connections and possible further postponements after June 30, 2020.

 

Edited by De Luca & Partners - Milan

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