In Italy, along with the re-opening and easing of restrictive measures related to Covid-19, the emergency phase of smart working, which had provided for simplifying derogations to the current regulations, have ended from August 31st, 2022. As a result, as of Sept. 1st, 2022, Law No. 122/2022 has come into effect, reintroducing the previous regulations contained in Law No. 81/2017 with some new features.
The Regulation of Smart Working During the Pandemic
Prior to the entry into force of Law No. 122/2022, an employer had the possibility of resorting to smart working without an individual agreement with the employee by sending a simplified communication to the Ministry of Labor. Therefore, it was at the sole discretion of the employer to apply smart working procedures, with no choice for the employee. This measure was intended to simplify and facilitate smart working during lockdown periods by greatly streamlining bureaucratic procedures.
However, this legislation, in place in an emergency period, had to be necessarily replaced with a new one that could safeguard workers and capitalize on the experience gained by improving the previous discipline.
The Requirements of the New Law
As anticipated, as of September 1st, 2022, the legislator has provided the following conditions for the use of smart working:
(a) the obligation to enter into an individual agreement between the parties, as provided for in Law No. 81/2017,
(b) the employer’s communication to the Ministry of Labor indicating the employee’s personal details and the period in which he/she will carry out smart working in a simplified form no longer requires the need to send the individual agreement as in the emergency .
In particular, the contract will have to be stipulated in written form and will have to indicate punctually the modalities of carrying out the smart working, such as: the duration of the employment contract, which can be for a fixed term or for an indefinite period; the places where the work performance can take place; the modalities of alternating between in-person and smart work as well as the modalities of use of the work tools.
In addition, for further protection of the worker, any training activities necessary for the conduct of smart working, all technical and organizational arrangements aimed at ensuring the worker’s disconnection at the end of the shift and the modalities for the exercise of union rights will have to be provided.
As for the communication to be sent to the Ministry of Labor with the details of the worker and the contract, this can done singularly or in bulk in the first case, it should be sent through the predisposed online portal; in the second case, since it involves several labor agreements, it will be necessary to contact the public relations office (URP) of the Ministry of Labor directly.
It should be noted that, given the new methods of communication and the necessary use of new IT platforms, the obligation to send the communication can be fulfilled no later than November 1st, 2022, so as to avoid incurring administrative penalties.
These innovations certainly represent a step forward in the regulation of smart working, facilitating the employer and, at the same time, protecting the employee. Moreover, this period of “forced” smart working has highlighted its many benefits in terms of economic, social and labor sustainability, which, however, risk being dampened with the return to in-person work practices.
D’Andrea & Partners Legal Counsel will continue to monitor regulatory developments in labor matters and publish timely updates on any new legislation. For more information, you can contact our professionals at email@example.com.