SOCIAL SAFETY NETS FOR 2021
With Circular no. 28/2021, Inps provides some important clarifications on the measures introduced by the Budget Law 2021 and, in particular, on Cigo, Cigd and ordinary allowance. In fact, the Institute had already initiated the possibility to submit applications for the use of social shock absorbers for 2021. Specifically, the message No. 406/2021 announced that it was made available, in the portal Inps, the online service for the transmission of applications for periods of intervention not earlier than 1 January 2021. In order to apply for a further period of 12 weeks of Wage Guarantee Fund (ordinary or in derogation) and ordinary allowance, it will be necessary to send an application for the granting of treatment with the new reason, called “COVID 19 L. 178/20”.
These applications can be submitted regardless of whether the territorial structures of the Institute have issued the authorisations relating to the 6 weeks required under Article 12 of Law Decree 137/2020, converted, with amendments, by Law 176/2020.
Applications for Cisoa treatment must be sent using the new reason for payment “CISOA L. 178/20”.
The circular also points out that employers may submit applications for the granting of wage subsidies for a maximum duration of 12 weeks, to be placed in the periods between
- between 1 January and 31 March 2021 for Cigo
- between 1 January and 30 June 2021 for Aso and Cigd.
For Cisoa, the maximum duration is 90 days, also to be used between 1 January and 30 June 2021.
The periods of wage subsidies previously requested and authorised under the previous law, even partially, placed in periods subsequent to 1 January 2021, are attributed, if authorised, to the 12 weeks of the new treatment period.
In this context, the Institute further clarifies that access to the new periods is not subject to the previous use of periods of wage subsidies. Moreover, as was already the case with the August Decree, the provision is confirmed that if an employer had requested and received authorisation for the 12 weeks provided, the periods which were not actually used cannot be recovered.
Workers targeted by the protections
In order to make the support measures more usable for the entire period of their operation, the Institute extends, for all sectors of activity, the possibility to apply for the benefit for workers who are employed by the employers on 4 January 2021. The Budget Law referred only to workers employed as of 1 January 2021.
The enlargement of the target group was justified by the fact that the calendar of public holidays at the beginning of 2021. With regard to the above-mentioned subjective requirement of the worker (the date on which he/she was employed by the company applying for the benefit), in the case of a transfer of a company pursuant to Article 2112 of the Civil Code, and in the case of recruitment following a change of contract in which the social clauses apply, with the transfer of workers from the outgoing company to the incoming one, and confirming the orientation taken so far, Inps specifies that the period during which the worker was employed by the previous employer should also be taken into account.
Inps Circular no. 28/2021 confirms that the additional contribution provided for by Legislative Decree no. 148/2015 does not apply to the new treatments provided for by Law no. 178/2020.
Applications for ordinary FIS allowance
With reference to the ordinary allowance, the Inps has radically changed its previous policy regarding the employment requirement of employers applying for the benefit. In fact, contrary to what was stated in Circular no. 84/2020, the ordinary allowance is now granted to employers who employ on average more than 5 employees in the six-month period preceding the date of commencement of the suspension period. This means that it will be the responsibility of employers and their intermediaries to check the size limit at each application and, if the average is less than 5 employees, to apply for Cigd.
However, with message no. 769/2021, the Inps then clarified that this only applies to applications submitted by employers who have not previously requested access to ordinary allowance under Decree-Laws no. 104/2020 and no. 137/2020. 104/2020 and 137/2020, while for employers who have already applied for access to the ordinary allowance under the aforementioned Decrees, for the purposes of submitting applications under Law 178/2020, the previous indications remain valid, according to which the employment requirement possessed at the time of the definition of the first application can be taken into account.
It is worth noting that employers may in any case request a review of any rejection measures adopted by the Inps territorial structures.
Deadlines for the transmission of applications and for direct payment
The deadline for the transmission of applications for wage subsidies for the reasons related to the epidemiological emergency by COVID-19 is fixed by the end of the month following the month in which the period of suspension or reduction of work activity started.
In the event of direct payment by the Institute, the employer is required to send all the data necessary for the payment or balance of the wage supplement (simplified forms “SR41” and “SR43”) by the end of the month following the month in which the period of wage supplement begins, or within 30 days from the notification of the Pec containing the authorisation, if this term is more favourable to the company. After the expiry of these deadlines, the payment of the benefit and the related charges remain the responsibility of the defaulting employer. The circular confirms the possibility of requesting the direct payment of salary treatments by the Institute with the possible advance payment of 40%. In this specific case, the submission of applications for Cigo, Cigd and Aso must be made within 15 days from the beginning of the period of suspension or reduction of work. Following the authorisation of the Inps, and within the same terms indicated above, the employers will have to send, through the simplified form SR41, all the necessary data for the balance of the wage supplement.
The circular also provides some indications on other interventions of the Budget Law 2021 relating to:
- extension of the extraordinary wage integration treatment for cessation of activities in favour of companies that cease production activities;
- extension of income support measures for workers employed by companies in the call centre sector;
- extension of income support measures for workers suspended from work or employed at reduced hours, employed by seized or confiscated companies under judicial administration;
- extension of extraordinary wage subsidies for enterprises of strategic economic importance;
- Solidarity fund for the air transport sector and airport system;
- Cigd supplementary benefits.
ON-LINE APPLICATION FOR LEAVE FOR DAD
The Inps, with message no. 515/2021, has provided instructions on the procedure for sending online applications for special leave for suspension of teaching activities in attendance.
The extraordinary leave is addressed to parents of children attending second and third year classes of secondary schools located in red areas, in case of suspension of teaching activities, and to parents of children with severe disabilities, in case of suspension of teaching activities in schools of all levels or in case of closure of day care centres, regardless of the scenario of seriousness and level of risk in which the region where the school or care centre is located.
The application can only be submitted electronically and can also cover periods of suspension prior to the date of submission of the application, but not prior to 9 November 2020.
CONTRIBUTION EXEMPTION FOR COMPANIES NOT REQUIRING SALARY INJURY INCLUDES IN THE 2021 BUDGET LAW
The 2021 Budget Law has provided for an exemption from the payment of social security contributions for companies that do not apply for the newly introduced COVID wage subsidies. In its Circular No. 30/2021, the Italian National Social Security Institute (INPS) has provided the first indications for the management of social security obligations related to the aforementioned contribution exemption measure.
Access to the new COVID wage supplementation treatments entails the impossibility, in the same production unit, to access the contribution exemption for which employers must have benefited, at least partially, from the wage supplementation treatments with COVID-19 cause in the months of May and/or June 2020. The amount of the exemption must be apportioned and applied on a monthly basis for a maximum period of 8 weeks and cannot exceed, for each month of use of the facility, the amount of contributions due.
However, the application of the benefit is subject to the authorisation of the European Commission and, therefore, Inps will issue the instructions for its use only after such authorisation.
The benefit is available to all private employers (identified on the basis of the Inps registration number), including non-entrepreneurs, except for those in the agricultural sector, who have benefited from COVID wage subsidies in May and/or June 2020, regardless of whether the workers employed in the months of actual use of the exemption are the same as those employed during the use of wage subsidies in May and/or June 2020.
In the event of transfer of a business unit, the right to benefit from the exemption remains with the transferring employer, which may benefit only with reference to the workers still employed by it after the transfer. In the case of a merger (whether by amalgamation or incorporation), the exemption may be used by the company resulting from the amalgamation/incorporation process.
Those who take advantage of the exemption will not be able to take advantage, in the same production unit, of any further wage subsidies for COVID-19 pursuant to Law 178/2020, but will be able to use ordinary shock absorbers. Since the choice is made for each production unit, some production units may benefit from the exemption and others from the wage subsidies, and in this case the exemption may be enjoyed within the limits of the contribution due with reference to the production units not affected by the new wage subsidies. The contribution benefit is also available to those who renounce the use of the residual exemption under Law Decree 137/2020 and do not make use of the wage subsidies of the Budget Law 2021.
Amount of the exemption
The amount of the exemption is equal to the full employer’s contribution not paid in relation to the hours of use of the wage supplementation schemes taken, even partially, in the months of May and/or June 2020, excluding the premiums and contributions due to INAIL. The amount thus determined constitutes the maximum amount that can be used, until 31 March 2021, for a maximum period of 8 weeks and must be recalculated and applied on a monthly basis. The amount of the exemption may not exceed the contribution due in the months of use. The remuneration lost in May and/or June 2020 must be increased by additional monthly payments. The following contributions are not subject to the exemption:
- premiums and contributions due to Inail;
- the contribution, if due, to the “Fund for the payment of severance pay to private sector employees pursuant to Article 2120 of the Civil Code”;
- the contribution, where due, to the Funds referred to in Articles 26, 27, 28 and 29, Legislative Decree 148/2015, to the intersectoral Territorial Solidarity Fund of the Autonomous Province of Trento and to the Bilateral Solidarity Fund of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-Alto Adige, as well as to the Solidarity Fund for the air transport sector and the airport system;
- the contribution of 0.30% of the taxable salary, destined, or in any case allocable, to the financing of interprofessional funds for continuous training;
- contributions which are not of a social security nature and those designed to bring elements of solidarity to the social security schemes of reference.
Conditions for entitlement to the exemption
As regards compliance with the rules protecting working conditions and workers’ compulsory insurance, the exemption is subject to compliance with the provisions of Article 1(1175) of Law 296/2006, namely:
- regularity of social security contribution obligations (Durc);
- absence of violations of fundamental rules protecting working conditions and compliance with other legal obligations;
- compliance with national collective agreements and contracts, as well as regional, territorial or corporate ones, signed by the most representative employers’ and workers’ unions at national level.
Law 178/2020 also provides that, in order to legitimately benefit from the exemption, the employer must comply with the prohibition on collective and individual dismissals for objective reasons, which is currently in force until 31 March 2021, and whose violation entails the retroactive revocation of the exemption.
The contribution benefit is a selective measure and, therefore, requires the prior authorisation of the European Commission, which considers State aid compatible with the internal market if it complies with, among others, the following conditions
- they do not exceed €1,800,000 (per company and before any tax or other charge);
- they are granted to companies that were not already in difficulty on 31 December 2019;
- by way of derogation from the previous point, are granted to micro or small enterprises that were already in difficulty on 31 December 2019, provided that they are not the subject of collective insolvency proceedings under national law and have not received rescue or restructuring aid;
- it is granted no later than 31 December 2021.
In addition, since the aid is granted in accordance with the Temporary Framework, the provision according to which beneficiaries subject to the so-called Deggendorf clause receive the aid net of the amount due and not reimbursed, including interest accrued until the date of disbursement, applies.
Inps will register the measure in the National State Aid Register.
Coordination with other measures
The exemption can be combined with other exemptions or reductions in funding rates provided for by current legislation, within the limits of the social security contribution due and provided that the other exemptions are not expressly prohibited from being combined with other schemes. For example, the exemption cannot be cumulated with the structural incentive for youth employment (Article 1, paragraph 100 ff., Law 205/2017) and with the so-called IoLavoro incentive.
In the event of cumulation with other facilitated schemes (e.g. employment incentives), the cumulation applies only where there is a residual contribution that can be abstractly relieved and within the limits of the same contribution due, both with reference to other contributory benefits (e.g. incentive to hire over 50 unemployed for at least 12 months) and with reference to economic incentives (e.g. incentive to hire disabled people or to hire beneficiaries of NASpI).
The combination of the exemptions, if allowed, must take place on the basis of the approved rules, in temporal order (the last exemption introduced is combined with the previous ones), therefore the measure in question will be applied residually on the employer’s contribution not exempted under another title. Where, on the other hand, the legislation provides for a total reduction in the employer’s contribution (e.g., exemption for the hiring of women under Law 92/2012), the exemption may be applied to the same workers only where there is a residual exempt contribution (it should be noted, in this regard, that the relief for the hiring of women made in the two-year period 2021-2022 applies to 100% of the employer’s contributions, but within the limit of €6,000 per year). Finally, with reference to the benefits that have been introduced into the system at the same time (e.g., the so-called “decontribution to the South”), the application of the exemption in question precludes the application of the so-called “decontribution to the South” for the entire period of use of the measure, but at the end of the use of the measure, the “decontribution to the South” will be available for the period of entitlement.
LDP Payroll stays at your disposal for any further information,
Arianna De Carlo
Head of Payroll Department