More comprehensive information. Reference to collective agreements is insufficient

The legislative decree implementing the European Transparency Directive (no. 2019/1152), which must be transposed by 1 August, guarantees workers detailed knowledge of the employment conditions and minimum guarantees of predictability in the conduct of the relationship. Referring to the sector’s collective agreement, which is the case in most existing employment contracts, will not be enough.

Disclosing methods

These disclosing obligations must be fulfilled in writing by the employer, before the commencement of work, either directly in the employment contract or by providing a copy of the relationship establishment notification. Certain information may be provided within seven days or the month following the commencement of work.

Any change to the employment contact that occurs after employment must be notified in writing to the employee by the first day on which the change takes effect.

The new disclosure requirements will apply to newly hired employees and co-workers, and existing employees, if requested.

Employee protection

Workers complaining about violation of rights under the implementing decree and Legislative Decree 152/1997, without prejudice to the right to take legal action, can: attempt at conciliation at the National Labour Inspectorate local offices; conciliation and arbitration boards; arbitration chambers set up at the certification bodies under Article 76 of Legislative Decree 276 of 2003.

The draft decree emphasises the prohibition of retaliatory dismissal by the employer due to the worker’s legitimate complaints about the fulfilment of disclosure obligations.

If the worker appeals to the Employment Tribunal claiming to have suffered a dismissal or prejudicial treatment as retaliation following the exercise of the rights under the decree, the burden of proving that the dismissal or other measures were taken for reasons other than retaliation will fall on the employer.

Continue reading the full version published on Il Quotidiano del Lavoro of Il Sole 24 Ore.

The Decreto Sostegni (Decree Law 41/2021), published in the Official Gazette on 22 March 2021 and enacted on 23 March, extended the ban on dismissals for economic reasons (individual dismissals and collective dismissal procedures), in a generalised manner until 30 June 2021 and then differentiated. Specifically, the ban on dismissals will continue from 1 July 2021 to 31 October 2021 only for companies that can benefit from the exceptional redundancy fund and ordinary allowance (FIS). However, the Decreto Sostegni confirmed the possibility (introduced by the August Decree and also included in the 2021 Budget Law), while the dismissal ban is in force, to stipulate company collective agreements with trade unions that are comparatively more representative at national level.   With its message 689/2021 INPS clarified that the company collective agreement only needs to be signed by one of the comparatively more representative trade unions to be valid. The subject matter of the agreements must be an incentive to terminate employment and regard employees who participate. The workers in question can benefit from NASPI unemployment for which the employer must pay a dismissal ticket.

Other related insights:

The New Skills Fund, introduced by the Relaunch Decree and refinanced by the August Decree, is one of the measures foreseen to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic. The Fund, set up at the National Agency for Active Employment Policies (ANPAL), can be accessed by companies that have entered into agreements with trade unions to reschedule working hours to manage the company’s changing organisational and production needs or promote reallocation of workers. In a Decree dated 22 January 2021, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, in agreement with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, extended the deadline for entering into trade union agreements and submitting ANPAL the applications to access the Fund to 30 June 2021. On 17 February 2021, ANPAL published Directorial Decree no.  69, implementing the new deadlines and modifying those for the preliminary investigation phase to allow the completion of activities, including expenditure, by 31 December 2021. There was a great deal of expectation from companies, as the previous deadline to enter such agreements had expired on 31 December. This year, the collective agreements must provide training projects, the number of employees involved and the number of hours of working time allocated to training courses (the maximum limit remains 250 hours).

Other insights related:

With a view to ensuring adequate support for parental care, through measures aimed at promoting opportunities to reconcile work and personal life, Article 24 of Legislative Decree no. 151/2015 regulates the institution of holidays/retirement jointly. Specifically, it provides for the possibility for all workers to transfer free of charge to their colleagues their rest days and accrued holidays to allow them to care for their minor children who need constant care for particular health conditions. The object of the transfer may be (i) periods of paid annual leave exceeding 4 weeks and (ii) hours exceeding the necessary daily rest period of “eleven hours (…) every 24 hours” and those exceeding “twenty-four consecutive hours, usually coinciding with Sunday, to be combined with the hours of daily rest” as referred to in Legislative Decree no. 196 of 30 June 2003. 66/2003. The relative measures, conditions and methods of transfer are normally established by the collective agreements entered into by the most representative trade unions at national level, in compliance with the provisions on holidays and rest periods of the aforementioned Legislative Decree. 66/2003. In any case, given their nature and taking into account the definition provided by art. 51 of the Legislative Decree, these solidarity systems are not subject to any form of compensation. 81/2015 of “collective agreements“, may also be established by agreements at company level. This occurs on condition that the aforesaid agreements improve conditions or tend to extend the scope of application of Article 24 of the Legislative Decree. 151/2015, also with regard to the conditions of workers who should benefit from the transfer of holidays or rest days by colleagues.