On 10 May 2017, the Italian Senate approved the draft law regarding self-employment and smart-working. The next step will be the publication of the law in the Italian Official Journal. This will make the law effective from the first day after publication.
'Autonomous work' is defined in art. 2222 of the Civil Code which states that an 'autonomous worker' is a person who performs, upon payment of an amount of money, work activities which are mainly carried out on their work terms and without any obligation of subordination.
In relation to autonomous work, the draft law contains the following key provisions:
- Abusive clauses and conduct of the employer:
The draft law provides that the following clauses will be deemed to be ineffective:
- Clauses that allow the employer to unilaterally change the terms of the contract;
- Clauses that allow the employer to terminate the employment relationship without notice;
- Clauses through which the parties agree terms of payment more than 60 days from the date of receipt of the invoice by the employer;
The agreement will also be ineffective if the employer refuses to sign the contract in written form.
In these cases the worker is also entitled to claim damages, as well as to attempt to achieve agreement on the terms of the contract before the competent bodies.
The existing regulations which apply to employees will also apply to autonomous workers.
- Maternity, sickness and accident at work
The regulations which apply to employees' entitlement to maternity indemnity will also apply to autonomous workers. In addition, any absences of autonomous workers because of maternity, sickness or an accident at work will not cause the termination of the employment relationship. The workers will be entitled to request a period of unpaid leave up to a maximum of 150 days in a calendar year.
- Deductibility of costs
Autonomous workers can make deductions for income tax purposes (subject to a pre-defined cap) in relation to any training costs and any expenses for board and lodging relating to the performance of their activities.
- Extension of unemployment indemnity
Starting from 1 July 2017, the unemployment indemnity will also be paid to scholars and doctoral candidates.
Smart-working is work chracterized by the use of technological tools which allow the work to be performed partly within, and partly outside, the company premises, without a fixed location, subject only to the sole restriction of a maximum number of daily and weekly working hours.
In relation to smart-working the draft law contains the following key provisions:
- Right to disconnect
Smart-workers have a 'right to disconnect' from their technological equipment at the end of their working day. The technical and organizational measures to ensure the 'right of disconnect' must be set out in the agreement (signed between the employer and the worker) defining the terms on which the smart-working has to be performed.
- Equal treatment
The economic and regulatory treatment of workers engaged in smart-working cannot be lower than the treatment applied to employees who carry out the same duties exclusively within the premises of the company.
- Disciplinary powers of the employer
The smart-working agreement between the employer and employee can define the way in which the employer will exercise control over the worker and define the conduct which may allow the employer to inflict a disciplinary sanction under Law no. 300/1970.
- Safety at work
The employer is obliged to guarantee the health and safety of its workers and, as part of this, it must deliver to its smart-workers, and to their safety representative, at least once a year, a written communication in which the general and the specific risks relating to the execution of the employment relationship are set out. The workers are also required to cooperate in the implementation of any precautionary measures which the employer puts in place in order to deal with the risks connected to working outside of the company's premises.
- Compulsory insurance for accidents and professional diseases
Smart workers are entitled to insurance protection against accidents at work and occupational illnesses connected to the risks of performing work outside the company's premises. This protection is extended to accidents which occur on the way from home to the place chosen for the performance of the work activity (provided that the choice of the place is determined by the requirements of the work or is reasonable in light of the need of the worker to reconcile their personal life with their work activity).