The Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, with circular letter no. 3 of 3 January 2022, provided the first operating indications concerning wage subsidies applied to employment in light of the new introduction of 2022 Budget Law (Law no. 234/2021).
As seen in various circumstances,innovative interventions provided by the law are aimed at building a more inclusive welfare model, including the integration of more effective active employment policies and social safety nets aimed at sustaining targeted industrial policies.
The new provisions, applied to treatments starting from 1 January 2022, include the following:
- Effective employment seniority requirement: The 2022 Budget Law lowered the effective employment seniority requirement for access to wage subsidies from 90 to 30 days. On this point the circular letter states that:
- in the calculation of “effective work” days – regardless of the type of work hours carried out, and regardless of continuous or previous maturity to the start of the intervention, vacation days, holidays, occupational injuries and mandatory absence from work for maternity leave;
- the requirement in question is not required for access to ordinary wage subsidies treatments (CIGO) accorded for the reason of an event that cannot be prevented in the industrial sector;
- such requirement, for a worker who switches to employment with a subcontractor based on social clauses, is calculated taking into account the period during which the same was engaged in the contracted business.
- Calculation of workers for access to the Extraordinary Wage Subsidy Fund (CIGS in Italian): to provide new criteria to calculate employees to ensure greater inclusivity. For access to this subsidy treatment a threshold of an average of 15 employees in the half year prior to submission date of the application has been established. For this point the circular letter underlines that the following need to be considered in calculating this threshold:
- workers with the position of executive;
- workers at home and trainees;
- workers who perform their jobs with an employee relationship both inside and outside the company as well as external contract workers organised as per art. 2 of Legislative Decree no. 81/2015.
- Job compatibility: The worker – already beneficiary of wage subsidies who performs, during the suspension period or reduction of work hours, employment work of a duration greater than six months, as well as freelance work – does not have the right to wage subsidies for the effective days of work. Instead, wage subsidy treatment remains suspended for the duration of employment, if the employee performs fixed-term employment activity of a duration equal to or less than six months.
- CIGS reasons: The reasons of reorganisation, company crisis and solidarity contract have been amended and supplemented as follows:
- Company reorganisation: the reason has been expanded to include company programs “aimed at implementing transition processes” in the same area. The criteria for identification and governance of the regulations of the programs, will be identified in a ministerial decree soon to be adopted.
- Company crisis: with no change to the criteria to access CIGS treatments following the declaration of a company crisis accompanied by a plan with corrective interventions and objectives concretely reachable aimed at continuing the company business and safeguarding jobs;
- Solidarity: starting on 1 January 2022, defensive solidarity contracts are amended in the sense that the reduction of average scheduled hours may reach 80% of the daily, weekly or monthly hours of involved workers and for each worker the maximum total reduction percentage of work hours can reach 90% of hours over the entire period for which the solidarity contract is stipulated. The novation intervention was aimed at providing an incentive to use the reason.
- Employment transition agreements: the possibility of authorising an additional period of CIGS of the maximum duration of a total of 12 months not renewable is included, if the parties stipulate an agreement aimed at supporting employment transitions of workers at the risk of being surplus at the outcome of reorganisation programs or a company crisis (so-called employment transition agreement). For this purpose use of active policies is planned directed at re-employing the workers through measures of the GOL Programme, or even through equivalent inter-profession funds.
- Expansion contract: experiments are ongoing on the expansion contract for the years 2022 and 2023 with new financial resources to cover the various planned interventions. The requirement for the minimum limit of employees on staff drops to fifty employees, to be calculated on the whole in cases of stable business combination solely for production or service purposes.
- CIGS and extra CIGD extra: in company reorganisation processes or cases of severe economic difficulties of a company – within the field of art. 20 of Legislative Decree no. 148 – that can no longer use the CIGS treatment protection and with exemption from time limits, an additional period of extraordinary treatment may be granted of 52 weeks that can be used until 31 December 2023, within the limit of the financial resources allocated for each year. Since it can be requested in terms of weeks, the company is responsible for specifying the precise time period for requesting the treatment.
- Solidarity funds: the field of application has been expanded for solidarity funds already established to employers that only have one employee. The law provides a transitory period until 31 December 2022, by this date the Funds must adhere to the provisions. For failure to do so, as of 1 January 2023, the employers of the relative sector will become part of the wage subsidy fund (FIS) where already paid contributions will be transferred as well as those due by the same employers, for the sole purposes of paying the wage subsidy treatments.
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