The end of the state of emergency has not changed the simplified rules on smart working.
Decree-Law no. 24 of March 24, 2022, provides, among other things, for the extension of the emergency regulations on agile working by providing for the possibility for employers, both public and private, to resort to smart working in a simplified mode, introduced with the emergency regulations by COVID-19, even in the absence of the individual agreements provided for by the regulations in force, and with a facilitated procedure in the communication of the names of workers to the Ministry of Labour.
The extension of the simplified regime to June 30, 2022 seems to have the purpose of “ferrying” companies from an emergency smart working to a discipline of agile work more aligned with the provisions of the Unified Text that will redesign Law no. 81/2017; already under discussion by the Labor Commission of the Chamber.
According to a first draft, the draft reformulates art. 18 of Law no. 81/2017 explicitly entrusting the CCNL and collective agreements pursuant to art. 51 of Legislative Decree no. 81/2015 with the regulation of a number of aspects. In line with the approach of the Protocol, the new text leaves greater room for maneuver to collective bargaining, which will have to clarify, among other things, the profiles of responsibility of the employer and the worker with regard to safety and the proper functioning of technological tools, regulate the management of subjects with a right of priority in requests for activation of agile work (for example, new parents, disabled workers, family caregiver, etc.. ), guarantee equal economic and legal treatment between staff who work “remotely” and those who are present, as well as regulating the methods of disconnection, to which every worker is entitled.
The massive attribution of these prerogatives to collective bargaining does not eliminate the signing of the individual agreement, which remains firm but in fact loses its centrality in defining the protections of the agile worker. Without prejudice to the provisions of collective bargaining, the content of the company-worker agreement will have to indicate the duration of the agreement (fixed-term or open-ended), the alternation between periods worked remotely and at the workplace and provide for at least 30% of hours of remote work in order to define “smart working”. It will also be necessary to indicate the hours of availability, the measures aimed at ensuring the worker’s disconnection from the work tools, as well as the procedures for carrying out training activities, while at present there do not seem to be any simplifications regarding the obligations to communicate individual agreements.
The new text also aims to make the choice of organizing the activities of employees in an agile manner more attractive to employers.