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Decreto Rilancio – Workplace Safety Forecasts29 May 2020

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"Article 83 directs that employers must ensure more extensive health surveillance measures for those workers at higher risk of infection."

The Italian Government has enacted various measures to support Italian companies dealing with the impact of COVID-19, including Law Decree no.34, of 19 May 2020 (the “Decreto Rilancio”). Compliance with those measures and obligations already in place (click here to read our previous briefing on these) should continue and will be supplemented, rather than replaced, by the Decreto Rilancio.

In this briefing we analyse new measures required for safety at work.

Health Monitoring

Article 66 reaffirms the importance of surgical masks for all workers unable to socially distance from others. Article 83 directs that employers must ensure more extensive health surveillance measures for those workers at higher risk of infection, e.g. due to age or pre-existing medical conditions. An employer is not entitled to terminate an employment contract if it is unable to comply with the mandatory requirement to monitor employees’ health.

Economic Support

The ‘Cura Italia’ Decree already provides for the payment of a total of €50m to Italian companies, to aid in the purchase of equipment, such as personal protective equipment. Article 77 of the Decreto Rilancio extends this benefit to ‘third sector’ bodies, such as voluntary organisations and social enterprises.

Tax Credit – Organisation and adaption of working spaces

Article 120 introduces a tax credit, at a rate of 60% of eligible expenditure, for the adaptation and reorganisation of working environments to prevent the spread of infection. The tax credit is subject to a limit of €80,000 per beneficiary and is aimed at those businesses carrying out activities open to the public, including bars, restaurants, hotels, cinemas and foundations/other private bodies.

Tax Credit – Workplace sanitation

Article 125 establishes a tax credit for non-commercial entities, including ‘third sector’ entities, equal to 60% of expenses incurred in improving the safety of the workplace and preventing the spread of infection. The tax credit is subject to a limit of €60,000 per beneficiary, and a total expenditure cap of €200m, for the fiscal year 2020.
Expenses eligible for the tax credit include:

(i) those incurred sanitising work spaces;
(ii) the purchase of hand sanitisers/disinfectant and personal protective equipment (e.g. masks, gloves, protective suits, goggles and footwear); and/or
(iii) the purchase of devices to encourage social distancing measures (e.g. barriers or protective panels).

"Coronavirus infection, if contracted in the workplace, is treated as an accident at work."

Employer responsibility

Coronavirus infection, if contracted in the workplace, is treated as an accident at work. The ‘Cura Italia’ Decree extends the protections guaranteed by the National Agency for Insurance against the Risk of Injuries at Work (“INAIL”) to those employees who have contracted COVID-19 while working, or travelling to or from the workplace. In this case it is assumed that, if the virus is contracted, it was while working. Neverthless, INAIL has clarified that any requirement for the employer to pay compensation must not be conflated with criminal or civil liability on their part. Criminal or civil liability must be determined in accordance with rigorous criteria, separate from any employee entitlement to an insurance payment.

Employers should continue to adopt all safety measures detailed in the governmental and regional protocols and guidelines, in so far as possible.

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