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The latest Italian National Protocol on remote working

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Livio Bossotto

Partner

Milan

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13 December 2021

On 7 December 2021, the Italian Government and the social partners entered into a protocol regarding remote working (addressed in Italy as “smart working”) in the private sector (the Protocol).

The Protocol supplements the legislative framework on remote working, as defined by law no. 81/2017, and sets up the guidelines for collective agreements in respect of the subject. The pandemic has undoubtedly boosted in Italy recourse to such kind of work performance. Indeed, as widely known, the Italian Government provided for simplified procedures to establish remote working in businesses during the pandemic and until the end of the emergency period.

The individual agreement

The Protocol continues to provide the voluntary recourse to remote working, providing for the necessity for the employer and the employee to enter into a specific individual agreement. Such agreement will have to comply with the applicable collective agreements in this regard, as well as the Protocol.

The agreement must detail a series of information, such as duration of the agreement, when working remotely and when at the workplace, the modalities through which working remotely, etc.

No disciplinary consequence may be imposed in case of an employee’s refusal to enter into such agreement.

Organisation of the remote working performance

The Protocol reiterates that remote working is characterised by the absence of a set working time. Still, the parties may agree on specific availability slots. The right to disconnect must also be granted by establishing a specific time slot when the employee has the right to disconnect.

Place of work

The employee will remain free to choose the place from which they will be working remotely, to the extent that health and safety and confidentiality requirements are complied with. Collective agreements may establish places deemed inadequate to work remotely.

IT equipment and health and safety

The Protocol states that, unless otherwise provided by the parties, the necessary equipment must be supplied by the employer, which must facilitate the adequacy and security of such devices. It remains the employer’s responsibility to ensure compliance with health and safety obligations (including the obligation to inform the employee of the related health and safety risks).

Final provision

The social partners also requested the Government to set incentives for businesses which will enter into specific collective agreements on remote working. They also requested that the simplified procedures to establish remote working, currently in force during the pandemic, will continue to be applied.

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