Article 1, paragraphs 16-19 of Law 178/2020 provides that for the recruitment of women workers carried out in the two-year period 2021-2022, on an experimental basis, the tax exemption from social security contributions referred to in Article 4, paragraphs 9-11 of Law 92/2012 is recognised to the extent of 100% up to a maximum amount of €6,000.00 per year.
In order to qualify for the benefit, hirings must result in a net increase in employment calculated on the basis of the difference between the number of workers employed in each month and the average number of workers employed in the previous 12 months.
The benefit is granted under the “Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 emergency” and is also subject, pursuant to Article 108(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, to the authorisation of the European Commission.
Who can apply for the contribution relief?
INPS Circular 32/2021 specified that the expression “for the recruitment of women workers”, given the reference to Article 4 of Law 92/2012, is to be understood as “for the recruitment of disadvantaged women workers”, according to the rules set out in Article 4(8) – (11) of the aforementioned law.
The notion of “disadvantaged women” includes the following categories:
- women aged 50 or more and unemployed for more than 12 months;
- women of any age, residing in regions eligible for funding under the European Union’s structural funds and unemployed for at least six months;
- women of any age who work in professions or jobs in economic sectors characterised by a pronounced gender employment gap and who have not been in regular paid employment for at least six months;
- women of any age, wherever they reside, who have not been in regular paid employment for at least 24 months.
For the recognition of the incentive it is required, as an alternative, a state of long-term unemployment (more than 12 months), or compliance, in combination with other provisions, with the requirement of “without employment”.
The requirement must be met at the date of the event for which the incentive is requested, so if the benefit is requested for:
- a fixed-term employment, the requirement must exist at the date of recruitment;
- for a transformation to an open-ended contract, without having requested the same for the previous fixed-term employment, the condition is required at the date of transformation.
For which recruitment is the incentive available?
The incentive in question is available for fixed-term and open-ended recruitment, or for the conversion of a previous subsidised relationship into an open-ended one.
On this point, the Inps message 1421/2021 specifies that the benefit:
- can also be applied in the case of transformations of non-assisted fixed-term contracts into open-ended contracts. In this case, the incentive is available for 18 months from the date of transformation;
- it is also available in case of extension of the relationship, carried out in accordance with the rules of the fixed-term relationship, up to an overall limit of 12 months.
How much is the tax exemption from contributions worth?
Without prejudice to the rate at which pension benefits are calculated, the benefit is equal to the tax exemption from the payment of 100 per cent of the employers’ total social security contributions, up to a maximum amount of €6,000 per year. In case of part-time employment relationships, the maximum amount of the relief must be proportionally reduced.
With reference to the duration of the facilitated period, INPS clarifies that the incentive is granted for up to 12 months in case of fixed-term employment, while in case of permanent employment it is granted for 18 months. In case of transformation of an already facilitated fixed-term employment relationship into an open-ended one, the incentive is granted for a total of 18 months from the date of recruitment and in case of extension of the relationship up to a total limit of 12 months.
The relief can be cumulated with other exemptions or reductions of the financing rates provided for by the regulations in force, within the limits of the social security contribution due and on condition that the other tax exemptions are not expressly forbidden to cumulate with other schemes.
Finally, the European Commission’s prior authorisation is required for the facility for hiring women.
In this regard, the INPS circular no. 32 of 22 February 2021 has been issued, confirming that it is waiting for the approval of the EU Commission on the relief, after which the operating instructions for contribution reports will be issued.