On 5 January 2022, the Council of Ministers, based on a proposal from the Prime Minister and Minister of Health, approved a law-decree that introduces “urgent measures for dealing with the COVID-19 emergency, in particular in workplaces, schools and institutes of higher learning”. The decree-law was published in the Official Gazette last 7 January and became effective 8 January.
According to what the Council of Ministers declared through its own press release, the new measures were aimed at “slowing the growth curve of cases related to the pandemic and provide greater protection to those categories which have greater exposure and greater risk of hospitalisation”.
Extension of the vaccine obligation
The introduced measures include the extension from 8 January 2022 to next 15 June, of the vaccine obligation for Italian citizens and other Member State citizens resident in Italy as well as other non-EU citizens or persons in violation of the laws regarding entry into and residency in Italy who are fifty years old. The obligation in question “does not apply in cases of a verified health risk in relation to specific documented clinical conditions, attested by the patient’s primary care physician or vaccinating physician, in relation to the Ministry of Health’s circular letters concerning exemption to the anti SARS-Cov-2 vaccination; in such cases the vaccine can be omitted or deferred”.
Furthermore, according to the Decree, as of next 15 February and until next 15 June, all workers with an age equal to or greater than 50, must possess and show a Covid-19 green pass certification of vaccination or recovery (so-called “reinforced Green Pass”) to access job sites.
For the periods in which the vaccination is omitted or deferred, the employer will assign the worker in question to duties, even different, with no decrease in remuneration, in order to prevent spread of cases.
Moreover, the Decree in question states, in art. 3, that “the employer (editor’s note regardless of the size requirement) can suspend the worker for the duration corresponding to that of the employment contract stipulated for the substitution, but for a period not greater than ten work days, renewable until the aforesaid tern of 31 March 2022, without any disciplinary consequences and with the right of the suspended worker to keep his/her job”.
The control procedures will remain those currently in use, the workers who communicate that they are not in possession of a reinforced Green Pass or do not possess one at the time of access, shall be considered unjustified absences. They shall have the right to keep their job without any disciplinary consequence until presentation of the same, and by 15 June 2022.
Workers without a reinforced Green Pass shall be denied access to the workplace. Violation of this ban exposes the worker to a fine from 600 euro to 1500 euro, without prejudice to the disciplinary consequences according to the respective sector rules. The fine from 400 euro to 1,000 euro for employers for failure to comply with the control measures remains unchanged.
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