NEW SKILLS FUND
The notice regulating the procedure for obtaining the contributions allocated by the New Skills Fund has been published on the Anpal website. After the signature of the Implementing Decree of 9 October by the Minister of Labour, which took place at the end of October, it makes the Fund operational, whose endowment has increased to 730 million euros.
Provided for by the Relaunch Decree (Article 88) and confirmed by the August Decree (Article 4), the Fund is a new instrument that focuses on training and retraining of resources as an alternative to the redundancy fund, through an intervention that supports companies, also considering the need to adapt to new organizational and production models following the epidemiological emergency in progress. In essence, working hours can be remodeled to allow employees to attend training courses, with costs for companies amortized by the intervention of the Fund, without any reduction in pay for workers compared to the values of the redundancy fund.
The indications on the timing in the notice, where not specified, must be understood in terms of calendar days.
On Anpal website are available the answers to Faq.
All private employers who, in accordance with Article 88, paragraph 1, Legislative Decree 34/2020, have entered into collective agreements on the remodulation of working time by 31 December 2020 are recipients of the contribution.
Employers must be in good standing with the payment of social security and welfare contributions (Durc verification).
All private employers who have employees and who apply the CCNL may participate. In the audience of beneficiaries are included freelancers who have employees. Companies not in crisis, which have not made Cig, can benefit from the benefits.
Employees employed in companies eligible for financial contributions from the Fnc or under administration are affected by the interventions, for which the working hours are reduced compared to the participation in paths of skills development, provided for by the collective agreement.
There is no maximum number of workers to be allocated to the skills development path. All employees employed in companies eligible for financial contributions from the Fnc or under administration, regardless of the contractual framework, are affected by the interventions.
The workers in redundancy fund or Tis recipients in derogation can not be affected simultaneously by the Fund or Tis and the Fund: they must have finished the period of redundancy, even the day before, and then access the Fnc. It is confirmed, therefore, the compatibility between the access to the Fnc and the use of income support treatments, provided that they do not affect the same worker.
In the case of a pre-existing emergency solidarity contract COVID-19, expiring at the end of 2021, it is possible to access the Fnc, but only for employees who are not affected by the solidarity contract. It is not possible, subject to a trade union agreement, to “freeze” the application of the solidarity contract, creating a training period within its application, and then postponing the deadline for a period equal to the duration of the training action (max 250 hours), because for the same worker the recourse to the Fnc and, at the same time, other income support measures, is not possible. The worker must have finished the period of solidarity, even the day before, and then access the Fnc.
In accordance with article 5 of the Decree of implementation, the project for the development of skills identifies the learning objectives in terms of skills, the recipients of the project, the provider, the charges, the methods of carrying out the learning path and its duration.
The project must give evidence of the modalities:
- of valorization of the patrimony of competences owned by the worker, also through services of identification or validation of competences;
- of personalization of the learning paths, based on the incoming evaluation, starting from the design by skills of the interventions consistent with the professional and qualification standards defined in the National Directory, referred to in Article 8, Legislative Decree 13/2013;
- of the skills acquired as a result of the courses and of the persons in charge of the transparency and attestation, in accordance with the provisions defined pursuant to and for the effects of Legislative Decree 13/2013.
The Anpal excludes that the training projects may concern the activities provided by the State-Regions agreement (Legislative Decree 81/2008).
The Fnc reimburses the cost of the remodeled working hours for the frequency of skills development paths and not the training activities. The trade union agreement must identify training needs and workers interested in acquiring new or increased skills. The training projects should identify how to achieve these objectives.
The interventions of the Fnc have as their object the recognition of financial contributions in favor of all private employers who have stipulated, pursuant to Article 88, paragraph 1, D.L. 34/2020, and Article 4, D.L. 104/2020, for changed organizational and productive needs of the company or to promote paths of relocation of workers, collective agreements on remodulation of working time – signed at company or territorial level by employers’ and workers’ associations comparatively more representative at the national level, or by their trade union representatives operating in the company – for which the hours in reduction of working time are intended for paths of development of workers’ skills.
The maximum limit of 250 hours of working time reduction per worker must be respected.
The Fnc reimburses the cost, including social security and welfare contributions, of reduced working hours allocated to the frequency of skill development paths by workers. The Fnc does not finance the cost of training activities, but the cost of working hours of workers involved in the frequency of training activities (pay + social security contributions and welfare). Additional monthly payments or severance indemnities are not eligible for reimbursement.
The payment of the contribution is made by INPS, at the request of Anpal, in 2 tranches: advance of 70% (upon approval of the application) and balance (upon completion of skills development activities at the request of those who signed the application).
Any reduction in the number of workers involved affects the determination of the balance due.
The benefit deriving from the Fnc does not fall within the scope of State aid; on the other hand, if the benefit of the Fund is integrated with other benefits referred to the same company, the latter will have to verify the compatibility of the different benefits with State aid regulations.
In order not to incur in double funding, the employer who already benefits from other public funding for the same remodeled hours cannot benefit from the contribution of the Fnc (for example, regional funding that provides, in addition to the recognition of costs related to the implementation of training activities, also the recognition of contributions for the cost of labor). The apprenticeship contract and the incentives referred to in Article 13, Law 68/1999, for the hiring of people with disabilities, do not fall within the definition of “other public funding”, which is closely linked to the recognition of costs for the same hours of work subject to remodulation.
The collective agreements on remodulation of working time must comply with the provisions of Article 88, paragraph 1, D.L. 34/2020, Article 4, D.L. 104/2020 and Article 3 of the Decree of implementation:
- must be signed by 31 December 2020;
- must provide for training projects aimed at the development of skills, the number of workers involved in the intervention and the number of hours of working time to be allocated to paths for the development of skills, as well as, in cases of provision of training by the company, the demonstration of the possession of the technical, physical and professional requirements of training capacity to carry out the project itself;
- the maximum limit of hours to be allocated to the development of skills for each worker is 250;
- must identify the needs of the employer in terms of new or increased skills, due to the introduction of organizational, technological innovations, product process or services in response to the changed production needs of the company, and the related adjustment necessary to qualify and retrain the worker in relation to the needs identified, as a rule, also in order to achieve a qualification of EQF level 3 or 4, in accordance with the European Recommendation on pathways to improve the level of skills for adults of December 19, 2016;
- may include the development of skills aimed at increasing the employability of the worker, also in order to promote relocation processes in other work realities.
It is not defined a format for the drafting of collective agreements for the remodulation of working time.
The principles of collective bargaining and related interconfederal agreements apply. Collective agreements must be signed at the company or territorial level by employers’ and workers’ associations that are comparatively more representative at the national level, or by their trade union representatives operating in the company in accordance with current regulations and inter-confederal agreements.
SUBJECTS DISPENSERS OF TRAINING COURSES
The provider of the skills development paths is identified by the company within the training project presented in the collective agreement.
It is preferable that the certifying body is a third party to the training provider.
All accredited bodies at national and regional level, or other subjects, including private ones, that by statute or institutionally, on the basis of specific legislative or regulatory provisions, including regional ones, carry out training activities, including state and non-state universities legally recognized, secondary education institutions, centers for adult education (Cpia), higher technical institutions (Its), research centers accredited by the Ministry of Education, also in organized form in territorial or sectoral partnership networks. In accordance with Law 240/2010, the training activities provided by universities are recognizable in terms of university credits in the context of further university training courses. The role of training provider can be played by the same company that has applied for a contribution, where the collective agreement so provides. No specific requirements are required, although preferably the company should have gained direct experience in this area. The company’s choice to provide training internally falls within the scope of negotiations with trade union and employer representatives. The employer who opts for the internal mode assumes responsibility for the proper conduct of training of its employees. Even if the training is carried out by the company, certificates of the skills acquired by the individual workers as a result of the development processes carried out must be issued. The use of on-the-job training is possible, provided that:
- it is expressly provided for in the training project and is consistent with its objectives;
- the training project quantifies punctually the hours allocated to on-the-job training;
- the hours allocated to on-the-job training are quantitatively fixed at a marginal level with respect to the hours allocated to training activities.
Training can be provided both in presence and in FAD.
The training activity must be started after the approval of the application by Anpal, also in 2021, as long as it is concluded within 90 (or 120) days from the approval of the application, and provided that the working time rescheduling agreements are signed by December 31, 2020.
The routes must be completed within 90 days of approval of the application. In the case of an application submitted by the Joint Interprofessional Funds and the Fund for Training and Income Support for Workers, the final deadline for implementing the development paths is increased to 120 days. The deadlines of 90 and 120 days, not peremptory in nature, if motivated by proven reasons, may be extended, upon request by the employer and subsequent evaluation of Anpal.
A format for the drafting of competence development projects is not defined. When submitting the request for the balance of the application to the Fnc must be attached the certificates/certifications of skills acquired by individual workers, issued as a result of the development paths.
The prerequisite of the training projects that must be attached to the application is the development of new and increased skills to respond to the changing organizational and production needs of the company or to encourage paths of relocation of workers.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF APPLICATION
Anpal will provide an application dedicated to the presentation and management of applications. Until the communication of operativity of the application it is necessary to use the Pec at the dedicated address firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is not fixed a deadline for the presentation, it will be able to be transmitted the instances until exhaustion of the funds of the endowment of the notice.
They can present instance for the access to the Fnc private employers in possession of the requirements of article 88, paragraph 1, D.L. 34/2020.
The submission of applications, signed by the legal representative of the company or his delegate, may be made from the date of publication of the notice on the website Anpal. Any proxy must be in writing and must be attached to the request for contribution, accompanied by the identity document of the delegating party. As a labor consultant it is possible to submit applications for the companies managed, with appropriate delegation.
The application can also be signed digitally and submitted using the forms attached to the notice. The application can be for single company (model A) or cumulative (model B).
As provided, in fact, respectively by Article 4 (Access to the Fund) and Article 8 (Joint inter-professional funds and Fund for training and income support for workers) of the Decree of implementation:
- in the case of corporate groups, the application may also be filed by the parent company on behalf of the subsidiaries;
- in the case in which companies access the Fnc through notices on behalf of a joint interprofessional fund or through the Fund for training and income support for workers, the application may be submitted by the Fund in the name and on behalf of the member companies.
The cumulative application is submitted by the legal representative, or his delegate, of the parent company or of the Joint Interprofessional Fund or of the Fund for training and income support for workers.
The parent company may enter into a single collective agreement for all subsidiaries.
Aggregated companies in a network contract may submit a cumulative application.
In the case of submission of the petition by an Interprofessional Fund or the Fund for Training and Income Support, the trade union agreement on the remodulation of working time must be stipulated and attached for each member company.
Employers who have already submitted an application may submit a new application for access to the Fnc, in the same manner as indicated above, provided that the application concerns workers other than those indicated in the first instance.
The employer who applies for the contribution to the Fnc must ensure that he does not receive other public funding for the cost of work for the same hours.
The investigation of applications for grants is made according to the chronological criterion of presentation and, to this end, the date and time of the submission of the application for a contribution through Pec or by application.
LDP remains available for further clarification.