With the end of the state of emergency on 31 March 2022, some restrictions contained in the emergency legislation have also ended and there is a progressive return to the pre-COVID system.

The following is a summary of key labour law changes.

“RESTART” DECREE “Simplified” remote work

On 24 March 2022, Decree Law No. 24 (also known as the “New Covid Decree” or the “Restart Decree”) was published. The Decree contains “Urgent provisions to deal with the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, after the end of the state of emergency “.

Art. 10 of Decree Law no. 24/2022 provides for extension of “simplified” or “emergency” remote working (already provided for by art. 90, paragraphs 3 and 4, Decree Law no. 34/2020) until 30 June 2022. Therefore, until that date, the use of remote work will be permitted, even without individual agreements:

  1. with a simple (mandatory) telematic communication by the employer, through a simplified procedure (already in use), using the forms and computer application of the Italian Ministry of Labour;
  2. although it is not necessary to enclose any agreement with the employee for such communication;
  3. the employer will have to give the employee a notice (available from the website of the National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work) on the policies related to health and safety.

Therefore, from 1 July 2022, in order to use remote work, an individual agreement with the employee will instead be required, in compliance with the regulations of Articles 18-24 of Law No. 81/2017 and the “National Protocol on Remote Work” of 7 December 2021. Also, the employer will be required to provide the employee with annual information concerning health and safety in the workplace.

Health surveillance for at-risk employees

The New COVID Decree provides for the extension until 30 June 2022 (art. 10, c. 2, attachment B, Decree Law no. 24 of 24 March 2022) for measures on the health surveillance of employees most exposed to the risk of contagion (as per art. 83, cc. 1, 2 and 3, of Decree Law no. 34 of 19 May 2020, converted with amendments into Law no. 77 of 17 July 2020).

Vaccination requirements for specific categories of employees

Vaccination obligations  (art. 4-sexies) for access to the workplaces of the following types employees remain in place:

  • until 31 December 2022, for employees working in the health professions and for employees in residential, socio-assistance and socio-health facilities;
  • until 15 June 2022, for teaching and educational staff of schools, the defense, security and public-rescue sector, the local police, the bodies of the National Cybersecurity Agency, penitentiary institutes, universities, institutions of higher artistic and musical education and higher technical institutes, and the Forestry Corps of special statute regions.

Basic/Reinforced COVID certification (“Green Pass”) and employees under and over 50 years

Decree-Law No. 24 of 24 March 2022 provides for the return to the "Basic Green Pass" system (i.e. COVID-19 certification for vaccination, recovery, rapid antigen or molecular test with a negative result) for access to workplaces, and also for workers over 50. Therefore, from 25 March 2022 until 30 April 2022, employees over 50 will be allowed to access workplaces with only the Basic Green Pass and will no longer need an “Reinforced” Green Pass (i.e. COVID-19 certification for vaccination or recovery).

Nevertheless, the vaccination requirement for employees over 50 remains in place until 15 June 2022 (art. 4-quater of Law Decree 44/2021).

As for employees under the age of 50, they will be required to have the Basic Green Pass until 30 April 2022 in order to access a workplace.

In this case as well, emergency regulations have been extended until after the end of the state of emergency.

From 1 May 2022 (unless further changes will be introduced), the Green Pass will no longer be required for access to workplaces, except for employees of hospitals and care facilities where the vaccination and Green Pass requirement will continue until the end of the year.

“Sostegni Ter” Decree and agency employees

The law converting the "Sostegni Ter" Decree (Decree-Law no. 4 of 27 January 2022 converted into Law no. 25 of 28 March 2022) introduced several new provisions, including the possibility, until 31 December 2022, for staff leasing agencies to use temporary workers for periods of more than two years, even if not continuously.

Therefore, the possibility of activating fixed-term contracts exceeding 24 months (even if not continuously) has been extended until 31 December 2022 for the supply of agency employees at the user company.

In these cases, there is no longer the risk that the staff leasing company will lodge a claim against the user company for the establishment of a permanent employment relationship.

These employees can therefore be sent on both permanent and fixed-term missions to user companies without the obligation to specify a reason justifying the fixed-term contract. It will, however, be necessary to respect the percentage limits between agency workers and company employees.