Prohibition to start any collective dismissal procedure or for economic reasons, special parental leave for parents-workers with children not older than 12 years, possibility to request the ordinary wage guarantee fund – “CIGO” or an ordinary allowance based on a cause of intervention called “emergency COVID-19”. These are some of the measures envisaged by the Cura Italia decree to support Italian companies and families in tackling the health and economic emergency of Coronavirus. In addition,Regions and Autonomous Provinces will be entitled to activate an Additional Temporary Wage Guarantee Fund “CIG in deroga”.
On March 17th, 2020, the Italian Government issued a Cura Italia decree providing for a number of economic, sanitary and labor-related measures in order to support Italian companies and families to face the Coronavirus emergency. The main measures are summarized below.
Among these measures, the Decree Law has prohibited Italian companies to start any collective dismissal procedure and to dismiss employees for economic, technical or organizational reasons until May 16th, 2020, and to suspend any collective dismissal procedure started after February 23rd, 2020.
Moreover, the Decree has provided for a special parental leave. In particular, as of March 5th, 2020 and limited to the current year, parents-workers with children not older than 12 years will be entitled to take a special leave for a continuous or split period not exceeding 15 days, with the consequent payment of an allowance equal to 50% of their remuneration and with notional coverage of the contribution. Such special leave is granted to only one parent per household for a total of 15 days, provided that the other parent is not unemployed, non-worker or beneficiary of income support instruments. All the above also applies to foster parents.
The Decree also provides that any periods of parental leave taken by employees from March 5th, 2020, onwards shall be automatically converted and treated as “special leave”. In addition to all the above, working parents, also including foster parents, with children aged between 12 and 16 years will have the right to abstain from work for the entire period of suspension of activities in schools, without payment of allowances or recognition of notional contribution, with a ban on dismissal and the right to keep their job. Even in this case, the special leave without compensation shall be granted on condition that the other parent is a worker and not a beneficiary of income support instruments.
Lastly, the Decree provided for several emergency measures relating to access to wage guarantee funds and short-time work solutions. The main novelties included in the Decree consist of the elimination – for the entire duration of the emergency period – of some of the regular terms of the proceedings to request ordinary and extraordinary wage guarantee funds, the removal of the length of service requirement, the elimination of the additional contribution due by the employer and the provision of special limits in the maximum amount of the wage guarantee funds.
In particular, the new Decree includes the possibility to apply for the ordinary wage guarantee fund (so-called “CIGO”) or to an ordinary allowance on the basis of a cause of intervention named “emergency COVID-19”. Such wage treatment will last for a maximum period of nine weeks and in any case not over the month of August 2020. Companies applying for such treatment will be exempted from the normal terms of the procedure but will still be required to carry out the information, consultation and joint examination with the trade unions – also online – within three days from the preliminary communication. In any case, the application will have to be submitted by the end of the fourth month following the month in which the period of suspension or reduction of work began. The ordinary allowance will also be granted to employees of employers registered to the “FIS” fund who employ more than 5 employees. There will be an option to have the treatment granted directly by INPS.
Companies that already have access to the extraordinary wage guarantee fund (so-called “CIGS”) will be able to apply for the granting of the ordinary wage subsidy treatment for a period not exceeding nine weeks. The granting of the ordinary treatment will suspend and replace the pre-existing extraordinary treatment. Furthermore, employers registered with the FIS who already had an ongoing solidarity agreement as of 23 February 23rd, 2020, will be granted the right to apply for ordinary allowance for a period not exceeding nine weeks. The granting of such ordinary treatment suspends and replaces the ongoing solidarity allowance.
Lastly, the Regions and Autonomous Provinces will be entitled to activate an Additional Temporary Wage Guarantee Fund (so-called “CIG in deroga”), for the duration of the suspension of the employment relationship and in any case for a period not exceeding nine weeks, subject to agreement with the more representative trade unions. Nevertheless, such agreement will not be required for companies with less than five employees. Some Italian Regions (namely Emilia Romagna, Tuscany and Veneto) have already activated an Additional Temporary Wage Guarantee Fund.