AMENDMENTS TO THE RULES ON FIXED-TERM CONTRACTS FOR COVID-19
Due to the economic and health situation, the Legislator, by way of Decree Law 73/2021, has introduced important changes to the rules on compulsory grounds required for fixed-term contracts lasting more than 12 months, and in other cases. In fact, this has an impact also in operational situations of extension and renewal, as well as having possible repercussions also in relation to the additional contract in derogation, exceeding the maximum limit of 24 months. NLI (National Labour Inspectorate), in its note of 14 September 2021, offers some suggestions on the subject. Indeed, the new legislation delegates to collective bargaining, i.e. to the “national, territorial or corporate collective agreements entered into by the most representative trade unions at national level and the corporate collective agreements entered into by their corporate trade union representatives or by the unitary trade union representation“, the possibility of identifying specific needs for the stipulation of a fixed-term contract lasting more than 12 months (but not exceeding the maximum duration of 24 months). It is required that such needs be very specific, i.e. that they identify concrete hypotheses, without the possibility of using generic formulations (e.g., reasons “of a technical, productive, organisational nature“) that require further specification in the individual contract. It is therefore clear that such situations do not only affect the case of entering into a contract with a duration of more than 12 months, but also impact on the rules governing the institutions of renewal and extension. It is therefore possible, given these changes, to renew or extend a fixed-term contract in accordance with the new provisions of collective bargaining. According to NLI, this regulatory indication appears to be of a structural nature.
Another novelty, introduced by the same provision, concerns the possibility of drawing up a fixed-term contract, for the particular case of the first stipulation between the parties, of a duration exceeding 12 months, but in any case not exceeding 24 months, in the event of specific needs provided for by the collective labour agreements, which we have already mentioned. However, this derogating hypothesis is only valid ex lege until 30 September 2022. This rule therefore appears, unlike the previous one, to be transitional in nature and therefore not structural, given the peremptory deadline set out in the regulatory text. It should be noted that the deadline, set at the end of September 2022, must be understood as referring to the date of formalisation of the contract, which may well, therefore, provide for a duration of the relationship that exceeds that date, subject to the overall limit of 24 months.
The NLI concludes its note by specifying that “the rules on renewals and extensions … 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“.
ADMINISTRATIVE SANCTION FOR FAILURE TO REPORT OR DELAY IN REPORTING AN ACCIDENT
In its circular no. 24/2021, INAIL intervenes on the subject in question, providing an overall picture of the declarative obligations in the matter of accidents at work, and of the relative sanctions in the event of omission or delay in sending them.
It immediately recalls the obligation to submit a report to the Insurance Institute for all accidents to workers that are not expected to heal within 3 days, regardless of any assessment of whether the legal requirements for compensation are met.
This report must be submitted electronically via the existing service on the INAIL website within two days of the date on which the employer was informed. With regard to operability, it is pointed out that the starting day for the deadline is the one following the date on which the employer received notice from the worker. If the deadline falls on a public holiday, the deadline is extended to the next day that is not a public holiday. In the case of a five-day working week, Saturday is considered an ordinary working day.
Exceptions to these rules are fatal and life-threatening accidents, for which the report must be made within 24 hours of the accident.
If the worker is initially diagnosed as recoverable within 3 days from the date of the accident, and only afterwards is the prognosis extended beyond the fourth day, the deadline for reporting the accident starts from the day after the date of receipt of the references of the additional medical certificate of injury that establishes the lack of recovery within the initial deadline (i.e. within 3 days).
In the residual case where it is ascertained that the employer had not been informed of the accident, and therefore was not aware of the references of the medical certificate, the deadline for sending the report starts from the date of receipt by the employer of the request for the accident report, which is transmitted by the competent office via Pec.
In the event of omission or delay in filing, the amount of the sanction has been updated by several subsequent regulations and currently ranges from €1,290 to €7,745. It should be noted that such violation falls within the scope of the mandatory warning notice provided for by Legislative Decree no. 124/2004, which can be activated in the event of administrative offences that have been ascertained and proven, where the non-compliance can be remedied. The warning notice shall also apply in cases where the offender has, even before the warning notice is issued, taken the necessary action, albeit belatedly. Following the extension of the power to issue warnings also to the staff of the Social Security Institutions, INAIL inspection staff are therefore obliged to apply this procedure for such non-compliance. If the offender does not remedy the breach and does not pay the reduced penalty for warning within the prescribed time limit, the INAIL officials who detected the breach and started the procedure must immediately report to the competent TLI (Territorial Labour Inspectorate). In such a situation, the TLI will issue an injunction order, with a reduced fine of € 2,580, i.e. twice the minimum edictal penalty.
Penalties must be paid by means of the F23 form using the tax codes provided for this purpose.
Finally, it is recalled that the obligation provided for by Legislative Decree 81/2008 is in force, concerning the communication of accidents for statistical and information purposes to the National Information System for Prevention in the Workplace (Sinp) for cases of accidents at work involving absence from work for at least one day, excluding the day of the event. The communication must be sent within 48 hours of receiving the medical certificate.
For this purpose, a telematic service for the communication of accidents has been set up on the INAIL website, called Communication/Accident Report. In the event that for an accident at work, which was initially considered curable within 3 days, and that the employer has regularly communicated within 48 hours to Sinp through INAIL, the prognosis is prolonged beyond 3 days of the event, a special function of the service has been provided, which allows the employer to fulfil the obligation of reporting the accident to INAIL by retrieving the data already present in the communication made.
Failure to file an accident report is classified as an instant formal administrative offence with permanent effects, so that the date of commission coincides with the day after the expiry of the deadline by which the report should have been filed; therefore, the five-year limitation period starts from that date. In the case of omitted or late reporting of an accident at work initially considered curable within 3 days, for which the doctor issues a certificate of continuation of the accident, with a prognosis that therefore extends beyond 3 days from the event, the date of commission of the offence (as said, the day following the expiry of the time limit) is the third day following the day on which the employer received from the employee the identification number of the medical certificate of injury extending the prognosis.
Finally, it should be noted that the following conditions must be met in order to establish that an accident has not been reported:
- receipt by INAIL of a medical certificate attesting to an occupational accident that is not expected to heal within 3 days;
- the non-receipt of the accident report, after the 2-day period provided by law for the fulfilment of the reporting obligation;
- verification of the actual date of knowledge of the accident on the part of the employer or the person required to report the accident and of the references of the relevant medical certificate.
If no accident report has been received, INAIL’s office must ask the employer to send the report, providing the references of the medical certificate sent electronically by the doctor or hospital. In the case of late reports, the INAIL offices must provide for the immediate contestation and notification of the ascertained violation, through the compulsory warning.
LDP Payroll remains at your disposal for any further clarifications.