The Italian Government is proposing certain amendments to the Italian Budget Law being currently discussed at Parliament level, in order to regulate both the procedure and possible sanctions for the transfer of Italian production undertakings abroad, whenever the relevant undertaking employs more than 250 employees (such new rules shall not apply to undertakings employing less than such threshold, indeed).
The new regulation shall apply, in fact, when an undertaking with more than 250 employees aims at shutting down a branch, plant, subsidiary, office or business concern located in the Italian territory, finally terminating any relevant activity and dismissing not less than 50 employees: in order to finalize such intended shut down, the relevant enterprise shall give written and detailed notice – at least 90 days before the beginning of the relevant procedure – to the in-shop or local Unions, Regional authorities, Labor Ministry, Ministry of Economic Development and the National Agency for Active Labor Policies.
The notice to be sent by the enterprise, shall include – because, otherwise, any dismissal of employees may be deemed to be null and void – all business, financial, technical and organizational reasons of the planned shut-down.
Within the following 60 days, the enterprise shall prepare and submit to the Unions, local Regional authorities and concerned Ministries, a plan having duration of no longer than 12 months, detailing all relevant measures to limit all relevant work and economic losses arising from the planned shut-down; such plan – to be discussed ad executed with the Unions – shall specifically clarify the following:
Measures to safeguard employment levels, inclusive any relevant recourse to social assistance (concerned employees should receive part of their salary from CIGS-special salary integration fund);
Measures aiming at re-employing those employees who may lose their job, or helping to self-employ themselves;
Sale prospects of the production undertaking which may ensure the continuation of the business activity, or projects to convert the site to a different production.
If such plan is not duly submitted – or any key requirement thereof is missing -, or if the relevant entrepreneur is later in breach of his plan commitments, as a sanction the contribution to be paid for NASPI (the Italian monthly unemployment payment) shall be increased by double the monthly maximum percentage of 41% of said NASPI per each 12 months of that enterprise employment seniority during the last three years as provided for under the Jobs Act in the event of dismissal. If the entrepreneur does not execute the agreement with the Unions, such contribution to be paid for NASPI shall be increased by 50%.
The discussions with the Unions and local authorities can last up to 90 days, with the main aim at avoiding – or, at least, reducing to any possible extent – the relevant dismissals as well as, in any case, the traumatic handling of the relevant dismissals if the entrepreneur decides to shut down the undertaking even if there is no financial crisis.
After having been executed by all concerned parties, the plan shall start its implementation, and only at the end of its duration the enterprise shall be entitled to validly start the dismissal procedure. The concerned employees shall in turn have access to the GOL-national program of employment guarantee of workers, which is supported by the reformation of active labor policies which the Italian Government has put in place for the 2021-2023 period, making available to such regard globally Euro 4.4 Billion.
Besides the above mentioned sanctions related to the maximum amount of NASPI, there are in turn also certain benefits granted to more pro-active enterprises, which benefits can vary from tax rebates to transfer of industrial assets in the event of the relevant ongoing concern sale, provided that the purchaser confirms and keeps in force the same activity and work positions, and furthermore a preferential access to financial incentives to be granted by the Ministry of Economic Development, provided that such enterprises hire employees who have lost their job because of the transfer abroad of the relevant production undertaking.
To such aim, article 24 of the Budget Bill provides for a special fund of Euro 100 Million to help with regard to advanced retirement of employees of enterprises in financial troubles; article 30, moreover, provides for the full exemption from social security contributions for those enterprises which hire for an indefinite period of time employees from such enterprises in financial crisis. The Budget Bill, finally, is re-financing with up to Euro 450 Million the development contracts, providing benefits in particular for investment projects which have the purpose to support the competitivity of the relevant undertakings.
Prof. Avv. Salvatore Vitale
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