The Italian Senate has recently approved Bill AC N 2233 B which has introduced protections for freelance consultant professionals in addition to creating more favorable conditions for employees to work remotely – also more commonly referred to as Smart Working and in Italy as Agile Working.
We provide a summary here below of some of the main points that should be of interest to employers:
Traditionally freelance consultants in Italy lack the protections that are guaranteed for full time employees. For example, there is no paid sick leave or maternity leave. However, this situation has been improved with the introduction of Bill AC N 2233 B.
In particular freelance workers (who carry out their work under the ‘Gestione Separata’) will now be allowed to receive an allowance during the maternity period (which encompasses the 2 months before the estimated birth to 3 months after birth) even if they continue to work during this time.
In terms of time off for maternity / paternity leave freelance consultants that work for an organization on a continual basis may now, with this new bill, ask for the suspension of the working relationship for up to six months (previously it was only 3 months) up until the infant has 3 years of age (before it was only up to when the infant reached their 1st birthday) – just like full time employees would be entitled to.
In addition, in case of maternity, accidents or severe illness freelance consultants may request that the relationship with the organization they work for be suspended for up to 150 days within a calendar year. In these instances the employer will not have to pay the freelance consultant – but the indication is that when they are back up on their feet the working relationship will be continue as before.
Another small detail employers should be aware of in terms of payments made to freelance professionals is – it is now considered abusive any contractual clauses with freelance professionals which allows the payment of invoices after 60 days from issuance.
In order to cancel any standing agreements with freelance consultants employers will also need to provide prior notice.
Bill AC N 2233 B has also been positive for Smart Working, that is working remotely, by aiming to to increase competitiveness and facilitate the reconciliation of working time with private life time. The bill also provides a more clear definition of the working relationship as being “established by an agreement between the parties, also with forms of organization for phases, cycles and goals and without precise timetables or workplace constraints” – hence making a clear distinction from teleworking.
Important to note here that remote workers, Smart Workers, will be regulated by Italian National Collective Contracts. In addition, Human Resource Managers should be aware that the Health & Safety of the Smart Worker working offsite will be will the responsibility of the employer. This also includes ensuring that the Smart Worker has the required working technological instruments required to carry out their duties off site. In essence, by law, Smart Workers must have the same treatment, also the same economic treatment, as the employees that work onsite.
Italian employment and labour laws are constantly in evolution. This is just an example of some of the many recent changes that have been implemented … and will be implemented in the near future.
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