Decree Law no. 146/2021 ( “Tax Decree”) introduced several changes regarding health and safety in the workplace. The legislator intended to “tighten” the rules on illegal work, extend National Labour Inspectorate (‘INL’) powers and sanctions for non-compliant employers.
The Tax Decree gave the National Labour Inspectorate (“INL“) the power to suspend a company business if at the time of inspection more than 10 per cent of workers were employed “without prior employment establishment relationship notice“, i.e., illegally. The previous percentage, established by Art. 14 of Italian Legislative Decree no. 81/2008 ( “Consolidated Law on Safety at Work”), was 20 per cent.
The measure cannot be applied if there is only one employed worker. In this case, the inspectors will remove the illegal worker until they are legalised (Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, circular no. 33/2009).
INL’s business suspension powers can be applied if there are serious health and safety violations, even for the first offence. Violations are identified by a forthcoming ministerial decree. Pending the decree, the violations are specified in the new Annex I of the Consolidated Law on Safety at Work, namely:
Among the violations, listed in Annex I, that lead to suspension include the following:
The suspension for safety reasons is for those parts of the company’s activity affected by the violations or the activity carried out by workers who (i) have not received appropriate education and training or (ii) have not been provided with personal protective equipment to prevent falling.
Together with the suspension measure, INL may require “specific measures to eliminate the danger to the safety or health of workers during work.”
The suspension measure revocation – governed by art. 14, paragraphs 9 and 10 of the Consolidated Law on Safety at Work – can be ordered by the supervisory bodies if the following conditions are met:
Before the reinstatement of regular working conditions, it is necessary to pay (i) €2,500 for up to five illegal workers or €5,000 if more than five illegal workers are employed for suspensions for irregular work and (ii) a variable sum (€3,000, €2,500 or €300 for each worker) for suspensions for health and safety violations, depending on the violations.
If the same employer has been subject to a suspension measure in the previous five years, the amount is doubled.
Participation in public tenders
The Tax Decree states that the employer is prohibited from contracting with the public administration during business suspension due to non-compliance with occupational safety rules. So a company that employs illegal workers or commits violations of occupational safety may be blocked from participating in tenders.
In addition, an ad hoc report is made to the National Anti-Corruption Authority (“ANAC”) and the Ministry of Infrastructure. A suspended party who does not comply with the measure is punished with (a) up to six months jail for suspensions due to violations on health and safety in the workplace and (b) three to six months jail or a fine from €2,500 to €6,400 for suspensions due to illegal work.