On 23 March 2021, a new Decree no. 41/2021 named Sostegni (you can read the Italian version of the decree here), came into force, providing for new measures to support business activities impacted by the COVID-19 emergency.
1. COVID-19 RELATED SALARY SUPPORT SCHEMES (“CIGO”, “FIS” and “CIGD”)
Employers who suspend or reduce their business activity due to COVID-19, can apply for a further:
- 13 additional weeks of salary support (CIGO), with regard to employers of the industrial sector; these can be used between 1 April 2021 and 30 June 2021
- 28 additional weeks of salary support (CIGD or FIS), with regard to employers of the trade sector; these can be used between 1 April 2021 and 31 December 2021
2. BAN ON TERMINATIONS DUE TO COVID-19
Individual and collective terminations for business-related reasons are prohibited until June 30, 2021. The ban applies to all employers.
The ban is further extended from 1 July 2021 until 31 October 2021, with regard to those employers who can apply for the salary support schemes for businesses operating in the trade sector (i.e., FIS and CIGD).
It is still unclear whether the extension of the ban until October 2021 applies to all employers of the trade sector, regardless of whether they apply for the salary support schemes or not, or if it exclusively applies to those employers of the trade sector who do apply for salary support schemes.
We will keep you posted on the news on this matter that will be provided by the government in the coming days. Until then, a prudential interpretation is recommended and, therefore, the ban should be considered extended until October 2021 with regard to all the employers of the trade sector.
Terminations can still be implemented in the following cases:
- wind up of business activity
- after entering into a shop collective agreement with the unions aimed at incentivizing terminations for employees who voluntarily agree to leave their employment
- bankruptcy without temporary continuation of business
3. EXTENSION/RENEWAL OF FIXED-TERM EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS DURING COVID-19 EMERGENCY
Until 31 December 2021, it is possible to renew or extend fixed-term employment contracts, without mentioning business related reasons, once and for a maximum period of 12 months. In any case the maximum duration of 24 months for fixed-term employment must always be complied with. Any renewal or extension that may have been already made under the special provisions introduced by previous COVID-19 decrees, do not prevent employers form accessing this additional possibility to renew or extend fixed term employment contracts in derogation of the ordinary law provisions governing this matter.
4. PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO “FRAGILE WORKERS” WITH HEALTH CONDITIONS
From 1 March 2021 and until 30 June 2021, for employees who qualify as “fragile” due to health conditions: (i) periods of absence are treated as hospitalization, in certain instances (i.e., when an employees have certification attesting to the existence of a risk condition deriving from immunodeficiency, cancer, serious disability or from the need of life-saving therapies); (ii) employees normally carry out their duties from remote, also via assignment to different tasks belonging to the same employment level. The above also applies retroactively with regard to absences that occurred between 16 October 2020 and 31 December 2020.