The «increasing protections» in the new agreement apply to hirings occurred after 7 March 2015. For all others, article 18 still applies, representing a dual system with many contradictions.
It is a dual-system for dismissals, where law applies double standards depending on the categories of employees. This is the situation that, according to Vittorio De Luca, attorney at the De Luca & Partners law firm, occurred in the Italian job market after the approval of the Jobs Act, the welfare reform implemented by the Renzi government. As those who followed the matter know, the Jobs Act effectively voided article 18 of the Workers’ Statute. Effective last year, the obligation to reintegrate the worker applies only in limited cases, for example when the employee is dismissed by the company for discriminatory reasons (for example due to racism).
In the majority of the cases, (for example when the employee is dismissed for disciplinary reasons), the reintegration obligation is no longer applicable: the employee has only the right to a monetary compensation, proportional to the seniority, even if the dismissal is found to be unlawful. Thus, a new employment contract has been created, known as «increasing protections» because it establishes dismissal protections that become increasingly stronger over time. However, this new agreement is applicable only to hirings that took place after 7 March 2015. For those employees who were already employed before said date, the rules of the old article 18 are still valid, since they were in force before approval of the Jobs Act.
It is specifically for this reason that, according to De Luca, the last labour reform gave life to a dual system. “The paradoxical consequence is,” says De Luca, “that two employees of the same company, dismissed for the same reason and at the same time, may be entitled to two radically different protections, based on the date in which they were hired». In short, in the case of unlawful dismissal, those who were employed prior to the Jobs Act have the right to be reintegrated in their job position at the contrary of a peer hired after 7 March 2015. This limitation to the reform emerged also from a survey carried out by De Luca & Partners, interviewing more than 200 companies. The companies interviewed, even if they expressed a positive opinion on the Jobs Act, pointed out that the major obstacle to hiring in Italy is still represented by the labour cost which is still too high.
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