Governed by Italian interministerial decree of 20th December 2016, n. 98187 and published in the Official Journal n. 54 of 6th March 2017, the Bilateral Solidarity Fund of the autonomous province of Bolzano – South Tyrol was created from the possibility of establishing a cross-sector regional solidarity fund for, and supported by, the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano, according to the regulation envisaged for bilateral solidarity funds in Italian legislative decree n. 148/2015.
The Fund has no legal status, constitutes an INPS pension scheme and enjoys independent financial and equity management (INPS circular of 9th August 2017, n. 25).
The Fund provides ordinary allowances to workers affected by reduced working hours or temporary suspension of employment in relation to reasons provided for in the regulations on ordinary and extraordinary income support. Provision is also made for crediting the corresponding contribution.
Workers with an employment contract, including apprentices hired under professional training apprenticeship contracts, who have an effective length of service of at least 90 days in the production unit for which the benefit is claimed, can benefit from the services of the Fund. The 90 days start from the date the benefit claim is submitted.
Managers, civil servants, home workers and other professional figures excluded by current legislation are ineligible.
All private sector employers with more than 5 dependent workers (for those with 1 to 5 dependent workers enrolment is voluntary) who do not fall within the scope of the regulations on income support or bilateral solidarity funds referred to in Articles 26 et seq. of Legislative Decree no. 148/2015 and who employ at least 75% of their dependent workers in production units in the province of Bolzano – South Tyrol, meet the requirements to be enrolled in the Fund.
Employers that operate in sectors for which a bilateral fund is established have the right to enrol in the Bolzano – South Tyrol Fund if the above employment requirement of 75% is met. Employers that exercise the above right are no longer subject to the regulation of the original fund.
START DATE AND DURATION
Payment of the ordinary allowances guaranteed by the Fund can be made to all workers affected by a reduction in working hours or suspension of work due to causes envisaged by the legislation on ordinary or extraordinary income support, and therefore for causes not depending on the will of the employee or employer.
The ordinary allowance can be granted both for Ordinary Wage Compensation Fund (CIGO) reasons and for Extraordinary Wage Compensation Fund (CIGS) reasons, for a maximum duration of no more than 13 weeks for each production unit, and in any case within the overall limit of 26 weeks of use in a rolling two-year period. Ordinary allowance hours cannot be approved if they exceed the limit of 1/3 of the ordinary workable hours in a rolling two-year period, with reference to all dependent workers in the production unit employed on average in the six months before the submission of the ordinary allowance claim, unless the solidarity contract is used. If this reason is used, the average working hour reduction cannot be greater than 60% of the daily, weekly or monthly working hours of the dependent workers affected by the solidarity contract and, for each employee, the percentage of overall reduction of working hours cannot be greater than 70% throughout the entire period for which the solidarity contract is stipulated.
For each production unit the ordinary allowance cannot exceed the overall maximum duration of 24 months in a rolling five-year period.
Regardless of the reason for the claim, in the event of continuous use for 26 weeks, the requirement of 78 weeks of return to work must nevertheless be met between one ordinary allowance payment and another.
For the purposes of the maximum duration of the benefit, the duration of the payments for solidarity contract reasons is taken into account by half for the part not exceeding 24 months.
WHAT AM I ENTITLED TO?
The amount of the allowance is set at 80% of the overall remuneration that the worker would be entitled to for the hours of work not provided, between zero hours and the limit of the contracted working hours. The amount that is consequently determined is not subject to the reduction provided for in Article 26 of Law No 41 of 28th February 1986, currently equal to 5.84%, since it is not provided for in the Fund's founding decree. Therefore, for 2020, the maximum gross monthly benefit is 998,18 euro for salaries equal to or less than 2.159,48 euro and 1.199,72 euro for salaries over 2.159,48 euro (INPS circular of 10th February 2020, n. 20). The amounts are re-evaluated every year with the methods and criteria in place for the industry's wage compensation fund.
During the period that income support is received, the Family Allowance (ANF) is not due, as it is not provided for by the Fund's founding decree, nor can Severance Indemnity (TFR) be received.
For periods in which the ordinary allowance is paid, the Fund pays the benefit's corresponding contribution to the employee's pension scheme. The contribution due is used to achieve pension eligibility, including the advance pension, and to determine the amount. The sums necessary to cover the corresponding contribution are calculated using the funding rate of the dependent workers' pension scheme in force at the time and are paid by the Fund for each quarter within the following quarter.
The benefit is authorised with an adjustment payment from the employer, starting from the month following the one in which the authorisation was granted. To communicate the information needed to recovery the sums paid in advance in the adjustment payment, employers can make use of the UNIEMENS flow, as illustrated in the INPS circular of 15th November 2017, n. 170.
The direct payment can only be made if there is a series of the employer's documented financial difficulties.
The payments and benefits guaranteed by the Fund are authorised by the decision of the Executive Committee.
In relation to funding, the Bolzano – South Tyrol Fund operates in accordance with the balanced budget principle and cannot make payments if it has no financial resources. The payments borne by the Fund are granted following the creation of specific financial reserves within the limits of the resources already acquired.
The fund is due:
- For the funding of all services, an ordinary monthly contribution of 0.45% (of which 0.30% borne by the employer and 0.15% by dependent workers), which is calculated on the taxable remuneration for social security purposes of all employed workers, excluding managers;
- If the ordinary allowance of the Fund is used due to suspensions or reductions in work, the employer must also make an additional contribution of 4%, which is calculated on the taxable remuneration for social security purposes lost by the workers who use the service.
The worker that carries out employed or independent work during the ordinary allowance period does not have the right to the benefit for the days of work carried out.
This restriction can be explained as total non-cumulation or total or partial cumulation as identified in the INPS circular, 4th October 2010, n. 130.
The worker loses the right to the ordinary allowance if they do not promptly inform the local INPS office of the self-employed work activity, since self-employed work is not included among the types of work subject to prior notification.
Before access to the ordinary allowance is granted, trade union information and consultation procedures required for ordinary income support laid down in article 14 of Italian legislative decree n. 148/2015 must be completed. For reasons related to solidarity agreements a company collective agreement pursuant to article 51 of Italian legislative decree n. 81/2015 is required instead.
WHEN CAN I CLAIM?
Claims to access the ordinary allowance, regardless of the reason given, must be submitted by the company no sooner than 30 days before and no later than 15 days after the start of the suspension or reduction in work. Failure to respect the time limits does not lead to the loss of eligibility for the benefit, but, in the event of submission before 30 days, the claim is not admissible, and if submitted after 15 days, there may be a delay in the benefit taking effect. In the event of late submission, any income support payments cannot have been made for periods less than one week before the submission date (namely, from Monday of the previous week).
HOW CAN I CLAIM?
Claims to access the ordinary allowance must be submitted using the dedicated on-line service, following the methods set out in the message of 4th October 2017, n. 3815.