Italy: The 2017 Italian Financial Law: News Concerning Labor, Family, And Transportation

FISCAL RELIEF FOR EMPLOYERS HIRING WITH UNDETERMINED TERM CONTRACTS

According to the 2017 Italian Financial Law, employers are exonerated from social security contributions concerning new employees hired with undetermined term contracts, including apprenticeships, from 1 January 2017 through 31 December 2018. The foregoing exemption is valid for no longer than 36 months, for a maximum of € 3,250 per year.

The exemption is granted only to employers who hire students – with undetermined term contracts and within 6 months of graduation – who had already been hired for periods of work-school alternation or internships in order to obtain titles and professional diplomas.

PERFORMANCE BONUS AND BUSINESS WELFARE

The 2017 Italian Financial Law considerably amends the rules, introduced by the 2016 Italian Financial Law, governing partial tax relieves (consisting in a 10% tax in substitution of individual income tax and additional rates) for performance bonuses and profit sharing, widening their fields of application and increasing the values on which to base the fiscal relief.

In particular (starting from 2017):

  • the benefit concerns workers with employment income not exceeding € 80,000 in the year prior to the one in which the performance bonus or the share of the profit was received (in 2016 the limit was set at € 50,000);
  • the maximum overall amount on which to apply the 10% substitute tax is € 3,000; said limit is raised to € 4,000 for those businesses where employees are included on an equal level in the work organization (in 2016 the limit was set at € 2,500).

Employees receiving the performance bonus or shares of the profit have the option of transforming, in whole or in part, the sum they are entitled to in benefits, and thus benefit from the related tax and social security reliefs.

The foregoing law also holds that the individual sums and values, such as shared cars, loans to employees and similar situations, buildings loaned for use, railway transport ser-vices, do not form part of the employee's income and are not subject to the 10% substitute tax, even where they are enjoyed, by choice of the employee, in substitution of the bonus in cash.

CONTRIBUTION RATE REDUCTION FOR WORKERS REGISTERED UNDER THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL INSURANCE SEPARATE PENSION FUND

The 2017 Italian Financial Law cuts the contribution rate down to 25% for self-employed workers (who has a VAT position) who are registered under the INPS separate pension fund, and who are not retired or registered under any other mandatory social security regime.

The 24% contribution rate for self-employed professionals already registered in other mandatory social security schemes remains, instead, unvaried.

By contrast, in 2017 the contribution rate for workers registered in a separate management scheme who are employed in collaboration contracts (so called "co.co.co.") and who are not retired or registered under other mandatory social security schemes will be increased to 32%.

EXEMPTIONS FOR PRIVATE PROCUREMENT TRANSFERS

The 2017 Italian Financial Law extends the provision, hither-to envisioned by Law No. 92/2010 (so-called "Legge For-nero") only for the 2013-2016 term, by which employers are exonerated from payment of a sum equal to 41% of the monthly unemployment benefit maximum (currently NASpI, formerly ASpI) for every 12 months of seniority in the last 3 years, which is due when undetermined term employment contracts are terminated for any of the reasons giving right to unemployment benefits, if the procurement contract was terminated because it was transferred or, in the construction sector, because the activity has been completed or the work-site has been closed down.

LEAVE OF ABSENCE FOR FEMALE SELF-EMPLOYED WORKERS WHO ARE VICTIMS OF GENDER-RELATED VIOLENCE

Leaves of absence to which female employees and fixed-term workers are entitled by reason of (duly certified) protection programs for gender-related violence are now ex-tended to self-employed workers as well.

The foregoing female workers are entitled to leaves of absence from work, for protection reasons, for a maximum period of 3 months. During such leave, the worker is entitled to:

  • an allowance, paid for by the National Institute of Social Insurance, equal to the last salary, if employed;
  • a daily allowance, equal to 80% of the minimum level of the daily compensation established for minimum social insurance contribution, depending on the worker's level of employment (the limit was set at € 47.68 in 2016).

MANDATORY LEAVE OF ABSENCE FROM WORK FOR FATHERS

The 2017 Italian Financial Law contains measures in support of parenthood, meant as the balancing of one's professional and family life, such as the extension to 2017 and 2018 of mandatory leaves of absence from work for fathers, and the extension of nursery school or baby-sitting vouchers.

In 2017 employed fathers will be allowed to take two days of paid leave of absence within the first five months from the child's birth; the days will be increased to four in 2018.

The foregoing leave of absence is governed by the Ministerial Decree issued on 22 December 2012, pursuant to which the father may take said leave at the same time of and in addition to the mother's maternity leave. Furthermore, mandatory leave of absence applies to adoption and foster care as well.

SUPPORT TO FAMILIES

In order to provide support for families and incentives for increasing birth rates, a new revolving fund, called "Fund in support of birth rates", has been established within the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. The aim of the fund is to promote access to finance for families with one or more children, born or adopted from 1 January 2017, through direct guarantees issued to banks and financial intermediaries, in the form of sureties as well.

Moreover, starting from 1 January 2017 giving birth or adopting minors entitles to receive a bonus of € 800.

For children born after 1 January 2016, the 2017 Italian Financial Law also provides for a yearly € 1,000 bonus, calibrated for 11 months, destined to the cover attendance fees of public or private nursery schools, as well as the introduction of forms of home support for children under the age of three who are affected by severe and chronic health conditions.

TAXES ON VEHICLES: SIMPLIFICATIONS FOR FLEETS OF CARS AND TRUCKS

In order to simplify and rationalize the system of vehicle taxation without increasing public expenditure, the possibility of collective payment (provided for by article 7, paragraph 1, of Law No.99/ 2009) was extended to businesses with cars and trucks held by virtue of ownership, usufruct, title retention agreements, or lease contracts.

TRACKING SYSTEMS AND UNLOADED CARGO MEASURMENT SYSTEMS FOR TANKER TRUCKS AND BARGES

The 2017 Italian Financial Law amends the "Consolidated Text of legislative provisions relating to duties on production and consumption and related criminal and administrative penalties" by adding a new paragraph 15 bis to article 6, headed "Circulation of goods subject to excise tax". Pursuant to the new paragraph 15 bis, "Tanker trucks and barges that are used for the transportation of goods and are subject to excise tax under a customs suspensive arrangement must have a tracking system and a system for the measurement of the unloaded cargo. Terms and conditions under which this provision applies will be determined by the Director of the Customs Agency".

SUPPORT TO PRODUCTIVE INVESTMENTS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE NATIONAL STRATEGIC PLAN FOR SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY

A series of measures, with the aim of increasing the competitiveness of businesses producing goods and services for the ground public transportation industry and the creation of intelligent transportation systems, are scheduled within the context of the national strategic plan for sustainable mobility, enacted for the renewal of the fleets of local and regional public transport bus services and for the promotion and improvement of air quality, through the use of innovative technologies. The measures, which are meant to implement international agreements and European Union legislation, will involve support to productive investments aimed at the transition towards more modern and sustainable production methods, as well as the development of alternative fuel systems.

The measures to be enacted consistently with the national strategic plan must be regulated by 31 December 2017, with a decree issued jointly by the Minister for economic development, the Minister of economy and finance, and the Minister of transport and infrastructure.

The national strategic plan for sustainable mobility must be approved by 30 June 2017 with a specific decree by the President of the Council of Ministers, upon a joint proposal from the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, the Minister of economic development, the Minister of Economy and Finance, and the Minister of the environment and land and water conservation.

LOCATION AND ACTIVITIES OF CALL CENTERS

The 2017 Italian Financial Law introduces new measures safeguarding personal data, national security, competition and employment with respect to activities conducted by call centers.

In particular, if businesses wish to locate or outsource their call center activities in an extra-EU country, they must, at least 30 days before the transfer, give notice to the following public authorities: (i) the Minister of Labor and Social Security, and the national labor Inspectorate; (ii) the Minister of economic development; (iii) the Data Protection Authority.

Businesses who have located or outsourced their call center activities in an extra-EU country before the entry into force of the 2017 Italian Financial Law are required to give notice to the foregoing authorities by 1 May 2017.

The 2017 Italian Financial Law establishes pecuniary administrative sanctions where notices are omitted or delayed: namely, each omitted or delayed notice of localization or outsourcing of call center activity in an extra-EU country is punished with a pecuniary administrative sanction of € 150,000.

The transferor and the extra-EU transferee shall be jointly liable for the sanctions.

Finally, the 2017 Italian Financial Law holds that when a user makes a call to, or receives a call from, a call center, he has the right to be informed in advance on the geo-graphical whereabouts of the operator speaking, as well as on the possibility to require that the service be conveyed through an operator located within national borders or within an EU Member State.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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