This month’s update on employment law matters in Italy includes developments for part-time employees and smart working as well as case law relating to sick leave and unfair competition in relation to hiring practices.
- New laws and regulations
- Case law developments
New laws and regulations
One-time indemnity for qualifying part-time employees
A new, one-time payment of EUR 550 will become payable to certain, qualifying employees who worked part-time during 2021, provided that (i) they had only one employment relationship in place and (ii) they did not receive unemployment pay or pension. The law also requires that the employee worked between a minimum of 7 weeks and a maximum of 20 weeks that year, with continuous work for at least one month. The indemnity will be paid directly by INPS and will not be subject to taxation.
Smart working: simplified communication procedure fully in force
The so-called “Simplification Decree” has changed the procedure on communication obligations required for smart working. In particular, the simplified procedure that was used during Covid, will continue to apply. Therefore, employers will only need to provide the Ministry of Labor with the names of the employees and the start and end dates of the period of smart working. It will no longer be necessary to send the individual smart working agreements to the Ministry but it will still be necessary to sign such an agreement with each employee who uses this kind of work. Failure to communicate the above-mentioned information will result in an administrative fine ranging from EUR 100 to EUR 500 for each employee concerned.
Case law developments
Sick leave: discriminatory to take into account absences due to disability
A territorial Court recently ruled that it is discriminatory to dismiss an employee for excessive use of sick leave, when disability-related absences are taken into account for the purposes of calculating the maximum period of guaranteed sick leave. According to the Court, such a behaviour constitutes a violation of the principle of equality under EU regulations and national laws. The Court also ruled that it is irrelevant whether the disability has been officially certified or not.
Unfair competition only when know-how is stolen
The Italian Supreme Court recently ruled that hiring employees of a competitor constitutes unfair competition only if the employer aims at stealing the competitors’ know-how. This means that it is lawful to hire employees of a competitor who do not have a special professional profile or knowhow available only to the competitor. The Court also clarified that the activity carried out to convince the employees to change employer cannot be used, per se, as evidence of the new employer’s unlawful intention.