On May 22 2021 the s.c. “Support Decree 1” has been converted into law (Law 69/2021) and on May 26 2021, the s.c. “Support Decree 2” (Law Decree 73/2021) came into force. Here below a summary of the main provisions related to employment.
Suspension of dismissals
The suspension of dismissals for organizational or economic reasons, both individual and collective, is confirmed extended until 30 June 2021. From 1 July to 31 December 2021, the suspension of dismissals remains for employers who benefit from the Covid-19 social dumpers for the duration of the salary integration granted.
The exceptions to the suspension already provided are confirmed (i.e. dismissals motivated by the definitive cessation of a company’s activities or bankruptcy, agreement with union providing incentives to terminate an employment relationship or a change of contractor).
The Decree is providing, on an exceptional basis and limited to the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 October 2021, the new “re-employment contract”, defined as an open-ended employment contract aimed at encouraging the inclusion of unemployed employees in the labour market during the phase of resumption of activities after the epidemiological emergency. The written form is required and, as a condition for employment, it shall be provided an individual reskilling project of 6 months of duration.
At the end of the reskilling project period, the parties may terminate the contract with notice. If neither party terminates the contract, the relationship continues as an ordinary open-ended employment relationship.
Employers who hire under this kind of contract are entitled to 100% social security exemption for a maximum period of 6 months and up to a maximum of € 6,000 on an annual basis, provided that they have not made collective or individual dismissals for objective reasons in the 6 months preceding the hiring in the same unit the hiring refers to.
Extension and renewal of fixed-term contracts
Without prejudice to the maximum overall duration of 24 months, it is confirmed the possibility until 31 December 2021 to renew or extend fixed-term contracts for a maximum period of 12 months and for one time only, even without the conditions provided by law (i.e. (i) temporary and objective needs, unrelated to ordinary activities; (ii) needs to replace other absent workers; (iii) other needs related to temporary, significant and non-programmable increases in ordinary activity).
Covid-19 social dumpers
The Decree is providing the possibility, for employers who have access to the Redundancy funds linked to Covid-19 (CIG) and who in the first half of 2021 have suffered a reduction in turnover of more than 50% compared to the first half of 2019, to access the Extraordinary Redundancy Fund (CIGS), for a maximum duration of 26 weeks from 26 May 2021 to 31 December 2021 according to the hourly limitations provided for by the Decree and without additional contribution. To benefit from this fund the employers shall have entered into a company collective agreement that provides for the reduction of work activity aimed at maintaining employment levels in the phase of resumption of activities after the epidemiological emergency.
Social contributions exemption for tourism and trade sector
Employers belonging to the tourism, spa and commerce sectors can benefit from exemption from social contributions by 31 December 2021, up to twice the number of hours of salary integration already enjoyed in January, February and March 2021. The suspension of dismissal applies to such employers until 31 December 2021, the violation of which entails the retroactive revocation of the exemption from contributions and the impossibility to ask for salary integrations.
The effectiveness of the rule regarding the benefit is subject to the authorisation of the European Commission.
Supports for employees
Until 30 June 2021, employees sufferring oncological or immunodeficiency diseases or with life-saving therapies, as well as disabled employees (Law 104/1992) are entitled to work remotely (home based). Where the work cannot be performed remotely, the absence from work of such employees is equivalent to hospitalization and is prescribed by the competent health authorities. This period of absence from work shall not be considered for the purposes of the protection period in case of illness provided by the NCLA.
Until 31 December 2021 the automatic reduction and the ordinary requirements for the access to the unemployment indemnity (NASpI) are suspended.
The Decree has reduced the statutory numerical requirement for the access to such a contract, which is now also open to companies employing more than 100 employees (250 or 500 employed population was the requirement formerly provided). The expansion contract is a company collective agreement that allows companies intending to run organisational and production changes aimed at technological innovation, to execute a plan, agreed at government level, that may benefit from extraordinary salary integration and social security exemptions linked to the rebalancing of skills and employed population turnover initiatives provede in the plan.