On 3 July 2023, Law 85 converting, with amendments, the Decree Law 48/2023 on “Urgent measures for social inclusion and access to employment” (see our newsflash “Employment Decree 2023 – What’s new” of 12.05.2023) was published in the Official Gazette.
Below are the main provisions of interest to companies.
Remote working continues to be the subject of legislative changes.
Provisions expiring on 30 June 2023 relating to certain categories of employees in special conditions have been extended.
The right to remote working is now recognised until 31 December 2023 for:
- parents of children under the age of 14, provided that remote working is compatible with the nature of the service and that the other parent is not suspended through social shock absorbers or not working;
- workers who, based on the company doctor’s assessment as part of the exceptional health supervision (the obligation to which ceased on 31 July 2022) are at greater risk of infection by Covid-19 due to age or immunodepression, resulting from oncological diseases or ongoing life-saving therapies or, in any case, co-morbidities. Also in this case, the right is, however, recognised provided that the remote working mode is compatible with the employee’s duties.
The right to remote working for ‘super vulnerable public and private sector workers is, on the other hand, extended to 30 September 2023, i.e. those affected by serious chronic pathologies with poor clinical control and with particular connotations of seriousness (specifically identified by the Ministerial Decree of 4 February 2022). These individuals may request and obtain to work remotely also by being assigned to a different task within the same category or area of classification, without any reduction in salary.
Remote workers may also use, again until the end of the year, their own IT devices, if these are not provided by their employer.
Fixed-term employment contracts
The measure intervenes, once again, on fixed-term contracts by also changing the rules for renewal.
The hitherto applicable legislation provided for the obligation to indicate the grounds:
- for extension (which intervenes when the previous contract has not yet expired) only when the period of 12 months has been exceeded;
- for renewal (which intervenes after expiration of the previous contract), regardless of the duration of the new contract and of the previous contract(s).
From now on, on the other hand, as a result of the amendment made to the Decree during conversion, also in case of renewals the grounds are required only when the total period of the contracts exceeds 12 months.
For the purposes of calculating the 12 months, which determine the occurrence of the obligation to indicate the grounds, only contracts entered into on or after 5 May 2023 (date of entry into force of Decree Law 48/2023) must be considered.
Amendments also for staff leasing with a view to favouring the employment of specific categories of persons. It is now specified that, the quantitative limit set by the law for the use of staff leasing on an open-ended basis (20% of the workforce employed directly by the user) does not include workers hired by the employment agency with an apprenticeship contract.
In addition, the open-ended staff leasing of certain workers is in any case exempt from these limits, including unemployed persons benefiting from social shock absorbers as well as disadvantaged or very disadvantaged workers identified by Commission Regulation (EU) No. 651/2014 and specified in a Ministry of Labour Decree.
The scope of the simplification made by the Labour Decree to the disclosure obligations incumbent on the employer at the time of hiring or during the course of the relationship has been reduced.
In particular, it is now (again) excluded that the employer may discharge by mere reference to the law or to the collective agreement (including company agreements) the obligation to provide information on the organisational modalities of the service, if they are largely or entirely unforeseeable. In this case it is necessary to specify in the individual contract:
- the variability of the work schedule, the guaranteed minimum number of hours, and remuneration for any extra hours;
- the reference hours and days on which the employee must work;
- the notice periods for starting or terminating assignments.
Whereas information relating to the probationary period, training, holidays and paid leave, notice, remuneration, working hours (in cases where scheduling can be foreseen) and social security and insurance institutions may continue to be provided to the employee by simply indicating the relevant regulatory or contractual reference.
Safety at work
As regards safety in the workplace, it is clarified that the company doctor is obliged to request a copy of workers’ health files, issued by their previous employer for the purposes of the opinion on suitability, both for preventive examinations (i.e. carried out after recruitment but before the worker is assigned to the task) and for those preceding recruitment, unless the file is objectively impossible to find.
Workers in the tourism sector
In order to increase the number of employees in the tourism, accommodation and spa sectors the conversion law also provides for a bonus for private sector employees in these sectors who, in the 2022 tax period, received an employment income not exceeding €40,000.
In particular, for the period from 1 June to 21 September 2023, employers will recognise, at the request of the employees concerned, a sum by way of special supplementary treatment, which does not contribute to the formation of income, equal to 15% of the gross remuneration paid in relation to night work and overtime on holidays. As a result of the payment, companies accrue a credit that can be offset.
The annual non-taxable limit of goods and services provided by employers to employees (including sums paid or reimbursed for the payment of household utility bills) has been increased to €3,000, for the 2023 tax period, but only for employees with dependent children. Moreover, the resources allocated for 2023 for the costs arising from this measure have been increased from €142.2 million to €332.2 million.
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