Decree crisis: urgent measures for the protection of work in Italy
The workers belonging to the weaker categories, such as riders, workers with disabilities, socially useful employees and public utility employees, thanks to the "business crisis decree" have finally found new protections. In particular, for workers on digital platforms an additional indemnity is provided for services rendered at night and on holidays, that individual work contracts must be demonstrated in writing, as well as mandatory public insurance against accidents at work and occupational diseases. What news for other "weak" workers?
On November 2nd, 2019, Law n. 128/2019 has been published and it has implemented (with some amendments), the Law Decree n. 101/2019, outlining some urgent provisions for the protection of labour and for the resolution of company crises.
This Law is aimed at providing economic, as well as regulatory, protection to particular categories of workers considered as vulnerable, such as “riders” (e.g. those delivering goods on a bike), workers with disabilities, socially useful employees and employees of public utility, as well as precarious workers.
It also contains provisions intended to cope with industrial crises situations existing in the country, with the purpose of safeguarding occupational levels and guaranteeing income support for the involved workers.
Let’s see the main provisions regarding workers’ protection.
First of all the Law sets out new safeguards in favour of self-employed workers enrolled in the so-called “Gestione separata INPS” social security scheme (i.e. the special public pension fund to which gather all self-employed workers not enrolled to different mandatory funds) who are not already retired nor enrolled in other mandatory funds.
Thanks to this new law, these workers are entitled to a daily allowance in the event of sickness, an hospital stay allowance (whose amount has been doubled by the Law), maternity leave and parental leave provided that it has been paid to the fund at least one month of contributions in the last 12 months prior to the event.
In addition, it has been established that independent contractors employed under a free-lance contract (so called “parasubordination”) may benefit from the unemployment allowance (“DIS-COLL”), in the event of involuntary loss of work, provided that the worker has paid at least one month of contribution in the period from January 1st of the calendar year prior to the termination itself.
The main section of the Law refers to the protection of the so-called “riders”, i.e. autonomous workers equipped with bikes or mopeds, employed in delivering goods on behalf of third parties in an urban context.
In the last year riders received an increased attention from the media, along with the growth of digital platform such as Foodora, Deliveroo and others.
The law defines such digital platforms as computer programs and procedures used by the customer that, regardless of the place of establishment, are instrumental to the delivery of goods, fixing the fee and determining the performance of the service.
The Law provides that individual employment contracts must be proven in writing. Should the employer fail to prove the contract, the rider is entitled to an indemnity up to the compensation received in the last 12 months.
The minimum wage of the riders shall be established by the National Collective Bargaining Agreements entered into by the most representative Trade Unions and employers' organizations, which may define criteria for determining the overall compensation that take into account the manner of performance of the service and the organization of the client.
In addition, riders must be guaranteed with an additional indemnity of no less than 10% for the servicers rendered:
- at night;
- during public holidays;
- under unfavourable weather conditions.
Finally, the companies employing them must guarantee them the mandatory public insurance against accidents at work and occupational diseases.