The Italian Budget Law 2023 (Italian Law No 197/2022) was published in the Official Journal (Gazzetta Ufficiale) on 29 December 2022 and comes into force on 1 January 2023 and introduces the following important initiatives in the employment law field.
Agile working: as of 1 January 2023, the categories of workers with the right to agile working will be reduced. Until 31 March 2023, only so-called ‘vulnerable’ persons will have this right, workers with children under 14 being excluded.
Parental leave: an extra month of optional, 80% paid parental leave is introduced. The leave may be taken by either parent, alternatively, until the child is six years old.
Recruitment incentives for permanent contracts: for the whole of 2023, there will be incentives for the recruitment of permanent hires with a contribution threshold of up to EUR 8,000 for those who already have a fixed-term contract and in particular for women under 36 and for citizenship income recipients.
Productivity bonuses: as of 2023, the taxation of productivity bonuses will decrease from 10 per cent to 5 per cent. The preferential taxation applies to variable bonuses not exceeding EUR 3,000.
Temporary income: the possibility of using temporary employment services is extended by increasing the maximum limit of remuneration that can be paid by each employer from EUR 5,000 to EUR 10,000 per year. These temporary services may also be used for agricultural activities, as well as by employers with up to ten employees on permanent contracts, instead of five.
Vouchers: employment vouchers for temporary services are back, with a limit rising from EUR 5,000 to 10,000, for temporary services used in certain sectors, including agricultural activities, the hotel industry, personal care activities, and domestic work.
Pensions: there is a lot of news on the pensions front. The renewal for 2023 of the Early Pension (Anticipo Pensionistico – ‘APE Sociale’) and the extension of the Woman’s option 2023 (Opzione donna 2023) are confirmed, the latter with some limitations on the prerequisites with respect to the original measure (only for caregivers, women with disabilities and employees of companies in crisis). Introduction of the new ‘Quota 103’ whereby the pension prerequisite is reached at the age of 62 and after 41 years of contributions, but only applies to 2023. Finally, a new pension revaluation system for the years 2023 – 2024 is also in the offing.
Self-employment: the flat-rate regime, which provides for taxation at a rate of 15 per cent, will apply to revenues up to EUR 85,000, instead of the current EUR 65,000.
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Covid-19 and right to the use of parental leave: INPS provides the first indications
The outgoing government focused on labour market regulation as part of its last actions. A choice made necessary by the impending economic crisis, which threatens to put a strain on the national production fabric and employment. The government intervened by issuing the Aiuti (Aid) decree (Decree Law 50/2022) and later the Aiuti-ter decree (Decree Law 144/2022), which was published in the Official Gazette on 23 September, two days before the Parliamentary elections.
The Aiuti-ter decree introduced significant changes which benefit workers and established new and different allowances for employees, self-employed workers and other categories. This is additional to the provisions of the Aiuti (Aid) decree, and modifies the rules introduced by the Budget Law 2022 on production termination of large companies.
De Luca & Partners managing partner Vittorio De Luca said: “The Budget Law introduced a new and complex procedure into our legal system, for companies with at least 250 workers. This preserves the employment and production fabric. The involved employers must initiate a consultation procedure and submit and discuss a plan for limiting the business termination or reduction’s employment and financial fallout, with trade union representatives, the involved regions, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Economic Development and ANPAL. The regulatory provision requires a plan which includes actions to safeguard employment, non-traumatic measures to manage redundancies (such as social safety nets), measures for the re-employment or self-employment, and any projects for the reconversion of the production site and related implementation timeframes.”
This procedure caused application problems for companies that had to adapt to the new legislation and institutions that should have a leading role in the management of company crises resulting from a plant, an office or independent department closure. De luca said: “With the entry into force of the Aiuti-ter decree, the government made some restrictive changes. One of the provisions requires the reimbursement of public subsidies, grants, and financial aids or advantages by the beneficiary production plants which terminate or downsize their business.”
Source: Affari & Finanza
According to ordinary fixed-term contract rules (Art. 19 et seq. of Legislative Decree no. 81/2015), the extension exceeding 12 months and a renewal must be justified by one of the following reasons:
under penalty of changing the contract into a permanent relationship.
The dangers of serious economic and employment relations damage led the legislator to introduce specific exceptions for fixed-term contracts, as part of the regulatory framework to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic.
Art. 1, paragraph 279, of Law 30 December 2020, no. 178 ( Budget Law) extended until 31 March 2021 extending or renewing fixed-term contracts without the obligation to provide reasons.
This extension ensures greater flexibility, and was first introduced by the “Relaunch Decree” until 31 August 2020, then extended until 31 December 2020 by the “August Decree” and now extended by the Budget Law until next spring.
Under the above emergency legal framework extending or renewing without providing a reason is only allowed once. This means that, even if the regime’s expiry date is changed from 31 December 2020 to 31 March 2021, those who have already benefited from an extension or a renewal under the August Decree cannot use it again under the Budget Law.
A further condition provided for by the law concerns the maximum extension or renewal duration without providing a reason, of 12 months, without prejudice to the maximum total duration, when added to other periods of 24 months.
The exception rules contained in the August Decree, and amended by the Budget Law up to the regime’s final term, have generated many interpretation doubts. Deviation from the rules governing the “stop and go” (i.e. the time that, according to the ordinary rules, must elapse between a contract stipulation and its subsequent renewal) and the maximum number of extensions.
Due to the legislator’s objectives and the wording used, The National Inspectorate of Labour, with its note no. 713 of 16 September 2020, specified that
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Law 30 December 2020, no. 178 (2021 Budget Law) introduced a new protection period from 1 January 2021 to the following 28 February for public and private at-riskemployees. INPS clarified this with its message no. 171 of 15 January. This protection involves equating the period of absence from work to hospitalisation for workers in possession of certification indicating their at-risk status. They must provide documentation about their disability or risk condition resulting from immunosuppression or the results of oncological diseases or due to life-saving treatments. Equating the absence with illness means recognising the worker’s financial benefit and contribution within a maximum period provided for by the legislation for the employee qualification and working sector. In addition: This protection allows the at-risk employee to carry out their duties in smart working, including (i) the assignment to different tasks included in the same classification category or area, as defined by collective agreements or (ii) the performance of specific vocational training activities which can be done remotely.
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Budget Law 2021 covers a wide range of measures in labour, taxation, liquidity support areas and business development and, in 1,150 paragraphs, outlines the financial manoeuvre rules.
Art. 1, paragraph 279, of Law 30 December 2020, no. 178, extended until 31 March 2021 the possibility of extending or renewing fixed-term contracts by repealing the strict and controversial obligation to include reasons introduced in the fixed-term contracts’ general regulations by Legislative Decree no. 81/2015 ( Jobs Act), as amended by the Dignity Decree (Decree Law 87/18 as converted by Law 96/18).
This important exception, which provides newfound flexibility in the use of fixed-term contracts, was first introduced by the Relaunch Decree until 31 August 2020, extended until 31 December 2020 and further extended until next spring by the Budget Law. This “favourable” extension or renewal is allowed only once and for a maximum of 12 months, within the maximum duration limit of fixed-term employment contracts of 24 months.
Continue reading the full version published in Guida al Lavoro of Il Sole 24 Ore.