Welfare benefits plans
Thanks to the recently introduced legislative framework and NCBA renewals, companies now have many tools to improve their efficiency, reward productivity and provide services to their employees that attract tax benefits.
Companies should prepare welfare plans based on the characteristics of their business and workforce and after an analysis of workforce needs.
The Italian Government has allocated more than EUR 74 million to finance welfare projects submitted by companies. Companies can send their projects until next 18 December 2019. It is possible that the Government may present a similar campaign for next year.
Harassment in the workplace
Following press attention on the #MeToo movement and the entry into force of a new piece of legislation called the ‘Codice Rosso’ in July 2019, the main objective of which is facilitating women’s complaints of sexual harassment or violence and speeding up the investigation of these crimes, it is necessary for employers to give some attention to this topic.
In particular, employers are now expected to adopt internal policies and regulations to implement best practices and prevent harassment at workplace. In addition to this, specific training sessions for the personnel (from key executives to white-collar wokers) are more and more popular, as they help raising the awareness and improve the working environment.
Flexible working (also referred to as ‘smart working’) represents a great opportunity for employers to improve their efficiency and help employees in their work-life balance. In addition to this, starting from 2019, if employers decide to enter into smart working agreements with employees, priority must be given to parents of disabled children and mothers within the three years following maternity leave.
Flexible working is a very powerful tool as it allows employees to work away from the office thanks to technological devices, without diminishing the employer’s control or coverage in the event of accidents.
In addition, it can be considered as a welfare tool to obtain tax benefits.
Companies should prepare smart working plans based on the characteristics of their business and their organisational needs. Any individual smart working agreement with employees must reflect the contents of this plan (the degree of flexibility can vary depending on the needs).
As a general rule, for monitoring systems and equipment necessary for production needs, workplace safety or protection of company assets which also allow remote monitoring of employees’ activities, the employer is required to enter into an agreement with work councils or get an authorisation from the competent labour office before installing such devices (e.g cameras or recording and listening equipment).
After the reform of Article 4 of the Workers’ Statute in 2015, by way of exception, an agreement or authorisation is not required for genuine working tools (e.g. a piece of software necessary for employees to carry out their duties): for these tools, the data can be collected and used for any purpose connected to the employment relationship only if a detailed policy is implemented describing the functioning of the tools themselves, the way employees are expected to use them and the way in which controls or monitoring are carried out.
As a result, it is crucial and very strategically important to adopt a specific policy to make sure the employer is allowed to use the information gathered through such tools for any purpose, including disciplinary purposes.