A problem of some importance is becoming more and more pressing in the world of work: the question of how to pay workers in COVID quarantine. Quarantine due to COVID contact is no longer considered an illness. In fact, the Inps has clarified that the sickness allowance for Covid quarantine will not be paid for events occurring in 2021, but only for the whole of 2020 within the limit of the resources allocated. According to calculations, this means a lighter paycheck for almost one hundred thousand workers throughout Italy, employees who – forced to stay at home because they are in close contact with a Covid positive – will not be entitled to the allowance.
The Inps (National Social Security Institute) has announced that no resources have been allocated for 2021 for sickness benefits in the event of quarantine for private employees who have come into contact with a Covid positive, and that therefore, ‘unless regulatory action is taken, it will not be able to recognise social security protection for events relating to the current year’. Since August and with retroactive effect. Therefore, the quarantine, which was previously treated as an illness and therefore paid by the Inps, is no longer so. The same Institute has also clarified that ‘will not be paid the benefits provided by the decree “Cura Italia” and equated to what is provided in the case of illness common to workers in quarantine.
On balance, therefore, those who will not receive economic coverage for the entire 2021 for the absence due to quarantine and will find themselves without pay and without contributions are especially those workers who can not in any way carry out activities remotely, such as workers, warehousemen, builders, clerks, cashiers, educators of social cooperatives.
But what about if the employer voluntarily wants to meet the needs of his quarantined employees, can he pay compensation? The answer is positive, but under current legislation, these payments would be subject to both contributions and IRPEF.
Then there is the important question of medical certificates issued by the medical staff for the purposes of Covid quarantine protection with fiduciary isolation.
The indications of the supervising Ministries in execution of the provision of paragraph 1 of Article 26, establish that they are valid for the year 2020, even though it has not been possible to find any indication from the measure issued and, consequently, all the suspensions adopted due to the shortcomings found will soon cease.
The question arises, however, for the current year: will doctors continue to issue certificates to justify quarantine, perhaps without the evidence mentioned above? There is a well-founded risk that companies may have managed diseases (COVID infections) that were not diseases or, conversely, quarantines that were not quarantines.
It would therefore seem advisable to intervene to clarify the law and, above all, to provide for an economic increase in the funds available.