The Italian Parliament has approved the text of a law regulating new protections for professionals and smart working (lavoro agile) which will be enacted shortly and published in the Official Gazette. Smart working is defined as a formality in the execution of the subordinate employment relationship by way of an agreement between the employer and the employee; the working performance is therefore carried out partly on the company premises and partly outside, without a fixed workstation and within the limits of the average weekly working time established by law and the relative collective contract.

The agreement shall have written form and must define the formalities of how the work is to be conducted outside places of business, through the use of computers/mobile devices, also establishing the technological and organizational measures to ensure the respect of rest hours (right to disconnect). The agreement can be either for an indefinite period or for a fixed term. Either party may withdraw from indefinite term agreements, observing the obligation of prior notice (at least 30 days, or more if expressly agreed upon between the parties). This is the case save the existence of a just cause that requires the immediate reentry of the employee in the company’s offices/plants.

The employee that carries out his/her own working activities in a smart working regime has the right to the same economic treatment of the employee who is assigned and carries out same tasks at the company’s place of business. Concerning safety in the workplace, in addition to the general obligation for the employer to guarantee the health and safety of the worker, a specific obligation for periodic reporting requirements is established, on an annual basis, in which the measures are specifically individualized, taking into consideration the specific situation in relation to the smart working being carried out.

The National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work (Inail) will cover accidents that take place during the smart working activity, when the injury is connected to work activities, or when the accident takes place on the journey from the employee’s place of residence to the location where their work will be carried out. Moreover, the approved text does not require any kind of agreement with Unions for the introduction of smart working in a company.

Overall, smart working can be seen as a positive example of the profound transformation of employment in the digital era.