Amendment to the rules on reasons for fixed-term contracts
The Inspectorate provides indications on the amendments to the rules on the reasons for fixed-term contracts introduced by Article 41 bis of Law Decree no. 73/2021, converted into Law no. 106/2021.
Paragraph 1(a) of Article 41 bis allows collective bargaining to identify specific needs for the conclusion of a fixed-term contract exceeding 12 months (but not exceeding 24 months).
The rule requires that such needs be specific and, therefore, identify concrete hypotheses, without therefore using generic formulations (e.g. ‘technical, productive, organisational …’ reasons) that require further specification in the individual contract.
The change introduced also affects the renewal and extension, as the individual provisions refer precisely to the reasons contained in paragraph 1 of Article 19, among which, as seen, as of 25 July, should also be considered those related to specific needs identified by collective bargaining. In fact, paragraph 01 of Art. 21 expressly states that the contract can be renewed only in respect of the conditions set forth in Art. 19, paragraph 1. Similarly, the second sentence of paragraph 01 goes on to state that the contract may be freely extended during the first 12 months and, thereafter, only in the presence of the conditions set forth in Article 19(1).
Therefore, with the amendments introduced by the “Sostegni bis” decree, it is also possible to renew or extend a fixed-term contract in accordance with the new provisions of collective bargaining.
By letter b) of the same paragraph 1 of Article 41 bis, a new paragraph 1.1 was also added to Article 19, which expressly provides that “the term of a duration exceeding twelve months, but in any case not exceeding twenty-four months, referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, may be applied to subordinate employment contracts in the event of specific needs provided for by collective labour agreements referred to in Article 51, pursuant to letter b-bis) of the same paragraph 1, until 30 September 2022”.
Unlike the first amendment, which seems to be of a structural nature, the new paragraph 1.1 shows a partial temporariness, as it provides for the possibility to enter into fixed-term contracts of an initial duration exceeding 12 months according to the needs identified by collective bargaining only until 30 September 2022.
On this point, the INL clarifies that, paragraph 1.1. introduces a temporal limitation to the use of letter b-bis) of paragraph 1 (30 September 2022) in relation to the first fixed-term contract between the parties (“the term of duration exceeding 12 months, but in any case not exceeding 24 months, referred to in paragraph 1…”). Moreover, the deadline of 30 September 2022 – as clarified in the past in relation to similar provisions on fixed-term contracts – refers to the formalisation of the contract, which may well provide for a duration of the relationship exceeding that date, without prejudice to the overall limit of 24 months.
After 30 September 2022, it will therefore be possible to enter into a first fixed-term contract lasting more than 12 months only for the needs defined in subparagraphs (a) and (b) of paragraph 1 of Article 19.
Otherwise, the rules on renewals and extensions, which merely refer to paragraph 1 of Article 19, without referring to the new paragraph 1.1, are not temporally conditioned and, therefore, it will be possible to extend or renew fixed-term contracts on the grounds provided for by collective bargaining, even after 30 September 2022.
LDP Payroll remains at your disposal for any further clarifications.