It’s now possible to accumulate up to eight meal coupons concurrently, and employees can also use them on non-working days.

The rule change took effect on 9 September 2017 following legislative decree no. 122, and applies to employees and associates of public and private companies in Italy.

There are essentially two new features:

  1. up to eight meal coupons can now be accumulated concurrently, however these coupons continue to not be tradable and/or convertible into cash, and can only be used by the holder, exclusively for the entire face value
  2. the coupons can now be used on non-working days.

‘Meal coupons’ refer only to those that are supplied through recognised companies (they must fulfil the requirements set forth under par. 3 of art. 144, Italian Legislative Decree 50/2016, transmitted to the Ministry of Economic Development pursuant to Italian Law no. 241/1990, art. 19). The Italian Ministry in turn stipulates agreements with the owners of the meal-subsidised establishments.

The face value of the meal coupons includes VAT applicable to the sale of food, beverages and ready-to-eat food products to the public.

Content

The paper meal coupons (a daily amount totalling €5.29) must indicate:

  1. The tax identification number or company name of the employer
  2. The company name and tax identification number of the issuing company
  3. The face value expressed in the currency of circulation
  4. The time period during which the coupon may be used
  5. An area reserved for placement of the date used, the holder’s signature and the stamp of the subsidised establishment at which the meal coupon is used
  6. The wording “The meal coupon cannot be transferred or accumulated in excess of eight coupons, nor can it be sold or converted into cash; it can be used only if it bears a date and is signed by the holder”.

Usage

Meal coupons can be used by individuals in Italy who are entitled to:

a) Provide food and beverages (pursuant to Law 287 of 25 August 1991)

b) Operate company and inter-company cafeterias

c) Retail sale, whether from a fixed location or a public area, of products included in the food product sector (pursuant to Italian Legislative Decree 114 of 31 March 1998)

d) Retail sale of food products in production premises and neighbouring premises pursuant to registration in the Registry (article 5, first paragraph, Law 443 of 8 August 1985)

e) Retail sale and on-the-spot selling to consumers of products from own resources carried out by agricultural entrepreneurs (pursuant to article 4, paragraphs 1 and 8 –bis of Italian Legislative Decree 228 of 18 May 2001)

f) Agricultural activity, direct cultivators and simple companies registered in a special section of the Companies Register (pursuant to article 2188 et seq. of the Italian Civil Code)

g) The provision of meals and beverages, consisting mainly of products farmed by the provider and products the originating from farms in the area, sold at the seller’s own premises, as part of an agro-tourism operation pursuant to Italian Law 96 of 20 February 2006

h) The provision of meals consisting mainly of products originating from fishing (pursuant to article 12, paragraph 1, of Italian Law 96 of 20 February 2006), by entrepreneurs in the fishing area as part of a fishing tourism activity

i) Retail sale of food products, including transformed products, in premises that are adjacent to that premises in which production takes place, in the case of individuals and entities that exercise the industrial production activity.

The latest legislative update refers to the procedures for the signing of agreements between companies that issue meal coupons, and owners of subsidised establishments. Said agreements must contain the following elements:

  1. The duration of the agreement, the terms and conditions (including financial), and the deadline by which any negotiation or withdrawal must take place
  2. The clause referring to the usage of the meal coupon, with regard to the conditions of validity, restrictions of use and deadline, specified in an explicit and uniform manner
  3. An indication of the unconditional discount provided to the issuing company by the owners of the subsidised establishments due to usage of the mail coupons at their establishments
  4. An indication of the terms of payment that the issuing company is required to comply with for payment of the subsidised establishments
  5. An indication of the deadline, which must be no less than six months from the deadline applicable to the meal coupon, by which the subsidised establishment is entitled to request payment for services provided
  6. Any indication of any additional consideration payable to the issuing company.

Action

Employers are required to inform their employees of this change.