+39 02 48 00 65 14 info@ldp-ita.com

Meal vouchers in smartworking?

by Arianna De Carlo | Apr 13, 2023 | Blog

The issue has been the subject of numerous discussions regarding agile working relationships, raised both on the nature of meal vouchers and their legitimacy in their provision, in the event that they are granted to workers who also perform their duties outside of the company premises.


Meal vouchers in smart working


We remind you that smart working represents a mere mode of executing the work performance, which can legitimately be carried out outside of the workplace.

The regulatory reference is primarily dictated by Law 81/2017, but an important role has also been played by the Protocol on agile work signed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies on December 7, 2021. Regarding the latter, ANSEB – the National Association of Meal Voucher Issuing Companies – expressed satisfaction with the clarification on the subject provided by the same Protocol.

Is the worker in smart working equivalent to the workers in the office?

It is important to remember that the worker who provides their work performance in smart working is entitled to the same economic and regulatory treatment as those employees who perform the same tasks only in person. All this in full compliance with the provisions of law no. 81/2017, among which the right to disconnect, equal pay, the right to a career, and compliance with all obligations related to health and safety at work are exemplary.

Starting from the above statement and having established full parity of treatment among smart workers, the meal voucher is recognized by case law as a contractualizable benefit and therefore fully falls under the case of Article 9 of the Protocol, entitled “Equal Treatment and Equal Opportunities.”

And this is precisely what is being discussed: “economic and regulatory treatment not inferior to that applied overall.” This means that the remote worker is not discriminated against compared to the in-person worker, especially with regard to welfare benefits.

Being recognized as a benefit, it is up to the employer to choose whether or not to grant them, unless there are specific contractual obligations such as second-level or individual agreements. These conclusions were also reached through an indication from the Venice Tribunal on July 8, 2020, and thanks to some rulings by the Court of Cassation (see n. 16135/2020 and 31137/2019), all in full compliance with Article 20 of Law 81/2017 on equal treatment.

The agile working method is an excellent tool for achieving work-life balance, that is, reconciling work schedules with personal time. The same social partners, under Article 9 of the Protocol, support it by stating that “while respecting voluntariness and the alternation between work inside and outside the company premises, they promote the implementation of agile work,” and adding that they “guarantee gender parity, also in the logic of promoting the effective sharing of parental responsibilities and, more generally, enhancing the reconciliation of life and work schedules.”



    Move your business forward.
    Choose LPD as your trusted Advisor.