Right to smart working for vulnerable workers and for working parents of children under the age of 14 in place through March 31, 2024

27 Febbraio 2024
Thanks to Marta Sponza for collaborating on this article

The “Decreto Anticipi[1] was published on December 16, 2023.

The right to smart working for vulnerable workers and parents of children under the age of 14 in the private sector has been extended through March 31, 2024.[2] More specifically, this applies to:

  1. Vulnerable workers at high risk of contracting Covid due to their ages or because they are immune suppressed, cancer survivors, undergoing lifesaving treatment, or have comorbidities that put them at risk, as determined by the appropriate doctors. However, working remotely must be suitable for their assigned work duties.
  2. Working parents with children under the age of 14. These employees may work remotely if both (i) working remotely is suitable for their work duties and (ii) no other parent in the family is relying upon income support due to suspension or termination of employment.

These individuals do not need to enter into individual written agreements. Employers may simply inform the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of the names of such employees and the duration of their remote work arrangements electronically using the forms available on the ministry’s website.

In connection with the above, it is worth noting that the Court of Trieste determined that vulnerable workers’ right to work remotely is not automatic across the board but must be determined in light of a company’s organizational and production needs.[3]

The case before the court concerned a vulnerable worker who performed her work remotely five days a week under an individual fixed-term agreement. When the agreed upon term expired, the employer informed the employee that, due to organizational and production needs, she would be allowed fewer days of remote work. The employee filed a claim against the employer.[4]

For its part, the employer claimed that the employee’s request limited the employer’s freedom of business organization, i.e., the power to manage the business as the owner sees fit.[5]

The court pointed out that the emergency norm establishing the right to work remotely for vulnerable employees provided that the work duties assigned to the employees in question had to be suitable for remote work, though that measure has never been considered absolute. The court determined that the employer’s procedures were clear and appropriate given that the remote work was not halted completely but merely reduced.

[1] Law No. 191 of December 15, 2023 converting Decree No. 145/2023.

[2] According to Art. 18-bis of Law No. 191/2023.

[3] Decision of December 21, 2023, No. 525/2023.

[4] Based on Art. 2087 of the Italian Civil Code.

[5] According to Art. 41 of the Italian Constitution.

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