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Italy: New Provisions on Worker Protection and Employment-Related Corporate Crises Take Effect

(Oct. 25, 2019) On September 5, 2019, Decree Law No. 101 of September 3, 2019 (Decreto-Legge 3 settembre 2019, n. 101) (D.L. No. 101), containing urgent measures to provide worker protection and financial aid to resolve employment-related corporate crises in economically depressed areas of the country, entered into force in Italy.

Worker Protection Measures

New measures protect autonomous workers, delivery workers, workers at digital platforms, and disabled workers.

By amending article 2(26) of Law No. 335 of August 8, 1995 (Legge 8 agosto 1995, n. 335) on the Reform of the Compulsory and Complementary Pension System, the new Law grants a daily sickness allowance, a hospital stay allowance, maternity leave, and parental leave to autonomous workers, provided that they are not entitled to any type of pensions and are not registered in other forms of mandatory social security. (D.L. 101 art. 1(1)(b).)

The Law also establishes minimum levels of protection for “non-subordinate” workers who deliver goods on behalf of others in urban areas using cycles or motor vehicles. (Art. 1(2)(c).)

Under the new Law, the compensation of workers at digital platforms may now be determined on the basis of deliveries made, subject to certain restrictions. Collective bargaining agreements may define basic and incentive remuneration systems that take into account different organizational models. Additionally, the hourly wage is applicable on the condition that, for each working hour, the worker accepts at least one call. (Art. 1(2)(c)(3).)

The new Law sets up the “Fund for the Right of the Disabled to Be Employed,” which is to be financed by private philanthropic donations and administered according to regulations that must be issued within 60 days. (Art. 8(1).)

In addition, the Law expands compulsory insurance coverage against employment accidents and occupational diseases. It also establishes a permanent observatory at the Ministry of Labor to monitor compliance with the new legislation. (Art. 1(2)(c)(Capo V-bis)(Art. 47-ter), (Art. 47-quater).

The Law allocates new funds to aid unemployed workers residing in the industrial areas of Sardinia, Sicilia, and Isernia who are not currently receiving citizenship income, which is a government-established stipend “designed to alleviate poverty and address unemployment.” (Arts. 9(1)–(2) & 10(1).)

Financial Support to Companies at Risk or in Crises

With regard to companies in these industrial regions, the Law provides manufacturing companies in the electrodomestic sector that are undergoing financial risks with tax exemptions to help them maintain the stability of their employment levels. (Art. 11(1).)

Among other financial support measures for companies in crisis, the Law creates the “Fund for Occupational Conversion in the Areas Where Coal-Fired Power Plants Are Located” to avert employment crises and reduce energy prices where coal-fired power plants are expected to be closed. Finally, the Law creates the “Energy Transition Fund in the Industrial Sector” to be administered by the Ministry of Economic Development to assist companies transition from high-polluting to cleaner energy sources. (Art. 13(1), (2).)