Law decree no. 99 of 30 June and the freeze on redundancies
Employment Senior Associate
14 July 2021
An end to the generalised ban and an "extension" until 31 December 2021 for those who use free shock absorbers.
On 30 June 2021, the generalised extension of the ban on redundancies provided for by Law Decree No. 73 of 25 May 2021 (the so-called "Sostegni-bis Decree") expired and, from 1 July, 2021 the pseudo-extension provided for by Article 40, paragraph 3 of the same decree came into force. In addition, the Government approved Decree-Law No. 99 of 30 June 2021, concerning, among other measures, two important innovations in the field of employment.
The deadlines for blocking redundancies in light of the Sostegni-bis Decree: on 30 June 2021, the ban on collective dismissals and individual dismissals for objective reasons, which was initially introduced by Article 46 of Decree-Law No. 18 of 17 March 2020 (the so-called " Cura Italia Decree") and then repeatedly extended, expired for all companies. The last intervention, in fact, was the Sostegni-bis Decree, which reiterated as the deadline for the operation of the dismissal ban established by Decree-Law No. 41 of 22 March 2021 (the "Support Decree"). Therefore, as of 1 July 2021, all companies will be free to terminate employment contracts, subject to the rules in force prior to the pandemic.
However, the Sostegni-bis Decree, notwithstanding the above-mentioned "unblocking", has again established that companies that will benefit from the wage supplementation instruments referred to in Articles 11 and 21 of Decree-Law No. 148 of 14 September 2015, free of charge and therefore without paying the additional contribution referred to in Article 5 of the same decree, will not be able to proceed to initiate collective redundancies or to order individual redundancies for objective reasons throughout the period of use of such treatments.
On the other hand, the deadline for the operation of the layoffs freeze remains unchanged, set at 31 October 2021, for employers falling within the scope of ASO, CIGD and CISOA, who will make use of the additional weeks of free wage subsidies provided for by the Support Decree, and the exceptions to the prohibition already in force remain confirmed, namely: (1) definitive cessation of the company's activity or definitive cessation of the company's activity as a result of the liquidation of the company without continuation, even partial, of the activity; (2) company collective agreement with the most representative trade unions at national level of incentive to terminate the employment relationship of those workers who adhere to such agreement; and (3) bankruptcy without provisional exercise of the activity or in the case of cessation of the activity.
The news from Decree-Law No. 99 of 30 June 2021: Decree-Law No. 99 of 30 June 2021 was approved, concerning a series of measures aimed at protecting employment, businesses and consumers, subsequently published in the Official Gazette on 30 June 2021 (the “Decree”).
Among the main provisions introduced in the field of labour are:
Free “CIG” (wages integration fund) and ban of dismissals for the textile and fashion sector: article 4, paragraph 2 of the Decree establishes that employers in the textile, clothing and leather and fur industries, and in the manufacture of leather and similar articles (ATECO codes 13, 14, 15) which, as of 1 July 2021, suspend or reduce their work activity, may submit, for workers in force at the date of entry into force of this decree, an application for the granting of the ordinary free wage supplementation treatment referred to in Articles 19 and 20 of Decree-Law No. 18 of 17 March 2020, converted, with amendments, into law, by the Ministry of Labour by Decree-Law No. 18 of 17 March 2020, converted, with amendments, by Law No. 27 of 24 April 2020 (CIG Covid) for a maximum duration of 17 weeks in the period between 1 July and 31 October 2021. However, in the case of the use of the above-mentioned treatment, the option to start collective and individual dismissal procedures for objective reasons remains precluded until 31 October 2021.
CIGS (extraordinary wages integration fund) by derogation for other companies: article 4, paragraph 8, of the Decree provides the possibility for employers in the sectors in which the prohibition of dismissal expires - as of 1 July - to access the Extraordinary Wages Guarantee Fund (CIGS) as an exception for a maximum of 13 weeks until 31 December 2021. In this case, too, the use of the benefit corresponds to the consequent prohibition of dismissal for economic reasons, subject to the exceptions already in force.
Joint notice between Government and social parties: lastly, on 30 June 2021, after many hours of discussion, a joint notice was signed between Government and most important trade unions (CGIL – CISL – UIL) and unions of associations (Confindustria, Alleanza delle Cooperative and Confapi). The joint document reaffirms the social parties commitment to recommend companies to use all the social shock absorbers that the law and the new Decree of 30 June 2021 provide as an alternative to redundancies, also hoping for a prompt and rapid conclusion of the reform of social measures.