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In brief

These are the latest Employment updates in Italy. This update includes new rules in relation to digital platform workers and remote workers and a labor court decision on discriminating against ‘anti-vax’ employees. 


Contents

  1. New laws and regulations
  2. Case law developments

New laws and regulations

Mandatory communications for digital platform workers

Starting 14 April 2022, employers who enter into new employment relationships mediated by digital platforms are required to notify the Ministry of Labour through a special online portal. The service is accessible through the so-called Spid system (i.e., s digital identity verification system) or an electronic identity card and the employer will have to indicate: (i) its own data; (ii) the data of the employee; and (iii) information concerning the employment relationship, including the start and end date, its duration expressed in hours and minutes, the agreed compensation and the place of work. This online notification must be made before the employment relationship starts; only for self-employment is it possible to complete the online form by the 20th day of the month following the one in which the freelancer started to provide services.

A special inbound tax regime is also applicable to remote workers employed by foreign companies

The Italian Tax Authority clarified that a special tax regime for inbound employees is also applicable to employees who work remotely for a foreign legal entity. Under such a regime, foreign citizens who work remotely from Italy are entitled to a tax deduction of 70% of their employment income for five years, which can be extended for a further five years if certain conditions are met (i.e., presence of a child and purchase of property). It should be noted that the tax relief is 90% if the employees decide to move to one of the Regions in Southern Italy.

Case law developments

Employers cannot marginalize anti-vax employees

Until recently, to access the workplace, employees were required to show, at the employer’s request, a valid “basic green pass”, which is a certification obtainable following COVID-19 vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or with a negative swab test. A labor court ruled that an employer is liable for unlawful and retaliatory behavior if it marginalizes employees who declare to be against COVID-19 vaccines by segregating them in office space that is separate from the rest of the workforce.

Dismissal for exceeding maximum period of guaranteed sick leave: clarifications on what the related termination letter must state

Under Italian law, employees who are absent due to illness are entitled to retain their employment for a certain period of time (in Italian, comporto period); once this time is over, the employer is free to dismiss them if they do not return to work. Depending on the CBA, there are two types of comporto: the so-called “one-time”, which consists of a single, uninterrupted period of illness; or “fractioned”, that consists of multiple absences that can be added together for the purposes of calculating the maximum guaranteed period of sick leave. The Italian Supreme Court clarified that employers who intend to terminate an employee who exceeded the comporto needs to indicate each period of illness in the termination letter only when the CBA provides for “fractioned” comporto, so as to enable the employee to verify the days when they were absent.

An executive who negotiates with a competitor can be dismissed for cause

According to Italian law and case law, one of the essential elements of the employment relationship is the bond of trust between the employer and the employee. Hence, if an executive were to engage in secret negotiations with competitors, this would be sufficient to ground a dismissal for cause, as the above-mentioned bond of trust would be irreparably compromised. This principle was recently confirmed by the Italian Supreme Court, which considered lawful the dismissal of an executive who had contact with the shareholder of a competitor for the acquisition of a share in that company. In this case, the executive argued that the dismissal was unfair because the negotiations were at an early stage and had not yet been concluded. The Court, however, held that even mere negotiations constituted a breach of the executive’s duty of loyalty, thus justifying dismissal.

Author

Massimiliano (Max) Biolchini joined Baker McKenzie in January 1999. He became a local partner in the Milan office in 2004 and was elected partner in 2011. He is the Head of the Italian Employment Law Practice and is member of the Steering Committee of the EMEA Employment Practice Group. He advises clients on all aspects of labor and employment law. He regularly contributes to the employment section of the prestigious Italian business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

Author

Antonio Luigi Vicoli is counsel in the Employment & Compensation Practice Group of Baker McKenzie Italian offices. He is a multilingual lawyer with English proficiency. Antonio is professionally qualified under the laws of Italy and admitted to practice in Italy, enrolled with the Lawyers’ Bar of Milan.

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