In accordance with Ministerial Decree of 8 June 2015, a bilateral solidarity Fund in favour of the employees of the maritime sector - called «SOLIMARE» - was set up at the National Institute for Social Security (INPS), in implementation of the agreement reached among entrepreneurs’ associ- ations Confitarma, Fedarlinea, Federimorchiatori and trade unions FILT CGIL, FIT CISL and UILTRA- SPORTI.

The Solimare Fund aims at ensuring wage protection to the personnel employed by companies of the maritime sector (including sea transport companies and licensed towage service providers) in the event of reduction or temporary suspension of their working activity for reasons envisaged by the Ordinary and Extraordinary Redundancy Fund («cassa integrazione guadagni ordinaria e straordinaria»),  namely:

  1. temporary events not imputable to the employer or to the employees, or due to temporary market inactivity;
  2. business restructuring, reorganisation or conversion;
  3. business distress; or
  4. bankruptcy proceedings, court-supervised pre-bankruptcy composition with creditors, administrative compulsory liquidation, extraordinary administration proceedings («concordato preventivo, liquidazione coatta amministrativa and amministrazione   straordinaria»).

Beneficiary of the above income protection measures are seafarers as well as administrative and land personnel of shipping companies.

The income protection regime was restricted to companies employing more than 15 employees until 31 December 2015. Then, since 1 January 2016, it was extended to companies employing from 5 to 15 employees and to apprentices previously not eligible for benefiting from such regime.

Shipping companies wishing to benefit from the Fund’s redundancy payments shall start a manda- tory consultation procedure, notifying trade unions of the redundancy situation, its expected du- ration and the number of employees involved. Within 7 days of receiving the notice, at the trade unions’ request, a joint assessment will take place to analyse the reasons for redundancy. The en- tire negotiation, even if no agreement is reached, must be completed within 25 days from the transmission of the notice.

Companies shall pay a monthly 0.30% standard contribution (of which 0.20% to be paid by the employer and 0.10% by the employee) calculated on the gross remuneration (taxable for social se- curity purposes) of the personnel on board vessels flying the Italian flag and all the remaining per- sonnel of shipping companies. Italian personnel working abroad are not subject to the above con- tribution requirement (non-EU Countries who are not a party to, or partially signatories of, a con- vention).

The above contribution shall be paid with retrospective effect from the pay period current at the date of the execution of the agreement (March 2014). Companies are allowed to pay the standard contribution payable for the period from 24 March 2014 to January 2016 by 16 May 2016.

In case of payment by the Fund, the employer shall pay an additional 1.50% contribution, calculat- ed on the gross remuneration (taxable for social security purposes) lost by the employees who benefit from the salary support.

The Fund shall make a standard payment of, respectively, (i) Euro 974.62 to employees with a re- muneration of up to Euro 2,102.24 and (ii) Euro 1,171.91 to employees with a remuneration ex- ceeding Euro 2,102.24.

The benefit, including payment of social security contributions, shall have a minimum duration of no less than one eighth of the overall working workable hours, to be calculated in a flexible two- year period and in any event no longer than 1 year. In this regard, in relation to seamen working on a shift open-ended contract, the term of the benefit shall be proportional to the actual period of work done on board over the last two years for the shipping company applying for the income support measure.