On 24 March 2022 the Italian legislature passed Decree Law no. 24/2022 (the New Covid Decree), which took effect on 25 March 2022. Set out below is a summary of the main provisions of the New Covid Decree, including its impact on workplace-related regulations.
Green Pass requirement
The New Covid Decree provides that from 01 April to 30 April 2022:
- The “Reinforced or Super Green Pass”, a certification that a person has obtained a full Covid-19 vaccination cycle or has recovered from a Covid-19 infection, is compulsory to have in one’s possession when carrying out a range of indoor activities, including: eating at restaurants, swimming in indoor pools, participating at conferences, or dancing at discos.
- The “Basic Green Pass”, a certification that a person has obtained a negative Covid-19 molecular swab test within the past 72 hours or antigenic test within the past 48 hours is compulsory to have in one’s possession to gain access to certain locations, including: workplace and school cafeterias, places where examinations are held, outdoor sporting events, as well as airplanes, ships, ferries and trains.
Isolation and self-monitoring
The New Covid Decree provides that from 01 April 2022:
- Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 must isolate at home until a negative result is obtained from a rapid antigen or molecular test. The test may be taken at a private facility as long as the facility is able to electronically transmit the test results to the relevant health authority. Violation of the isolation rule may result in imprisonment from 3 to 18 months and a fine from €500 to €5,000.
- Anyone who has been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid-19 must self-monitor, which consists of: wearing an FFP2-quality mask when indoors, or when in the presence of other people, for 10 days after the last contact with the infected person. Moreover, if the close contact develops Covid-19 symptoms, then they must take a rapid antigen or molecular test and again, if still symptomatic, on the fifth day after the date of the last contact with the infected person.
Prior to the enactment of the New Covid Decree, a distinction was made between vaccinated and non-vaccinated persons with regard to isolation and self-monitoring rules. The New Covid Decree eliminates this distinction, and also does not set a minimum time period required for home isolation.
Mask wearing (Personal Protective Equipment)
With regard to masks, the New Covid Decree provides that from 01 April to 30 April 2022:Any person over the age of 6 must wear an FFP2-quality mask to gain access to:
- public transport or public service vehicles (including aircraft, ships, ferries, trains and buses), and
- shows open to the public that take place indoors or outdoors, in theatres, concert halls, cinemas, live music and entertainment venues, or similar events, including sporting events and competitions.
Until 30 April 2022, to gain access to other types of indoor places, excluding private homes, any person over the age of 6 must wear Personal Protective Equipment, but not necessarily FFP2-quality masks.
The New Covid Decree provides the following rules regarding the obligation to get the Covid-19 vaccination:
- Until 31 December 2022, the vaccination requirement will remain in force for all healthcare professionals, healthcare workers and workers employed in residential, assistance-living and healthcare facilities.
- Until 15 June 2022, the vaccination requirement will remain in force for teachers and other workers in schools and universities, and military and security personnel. During this period, teachers who have not been vaccinated and do not intend to become vaccinated, may return to work at schools, but will be assigned to support activities that do not involve direct teaching activities.
- For anyone over 50 years of age, the Covid-19 vaccine obligation remains in force until 15 June 2022.
Suspension from work and workplace-related regulations
Suspension from work without pay remains in force for all workers who do not possess a Basic Green Pass. If the employer is a private company, until 30 April 2022, a worker who does not possess a Basic Green Pass may be replaced.From 25 March to 30 April 2022, workers must present a Basic Green Pass to gain access to their places of work.Prior to the enactment of the New Covid Decree, certain workers (including those over 50 years of age) were required to present a Reinforced or Super Green Pass to gain access to their places of work. Therefore, for these workers, the New Covid Decree enables them to gain access to the workplace even if not vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19, as long as they can demonstrate a negative swab test result every 48 hours.
Until 30 April 2022, a worker who enters the workplace without a Basic Green Pass may receive a sanction of between €600 and €1,500, in addition to other disciplinary sanctions decided by the employer.
The deadline for access to the ‘Smart Working Simplified Mode’ has been extended to 30 June 2022. Therefore, a smart working arrangement between an employer and a worker may be put in place without any requirement to record the arrangement in writing and sign an individual agreement with the worker; the only requirement is for the employer to send the name of the person who is smart working through a dedicated electronic system to the Ministry of Labour.In any case, we still highly recommend that our clients draft relevant smart working agreements, in the interests of both the employer and its workers. A draft law is currently being discussed in the Italian Parliament, which intends to reform Law no. 81/2017 related to smart working.We will keep you informed of developments regarding new smart working legislation and Covid-19 related regulations in Italy.