Governed by Italian inter-ministerial decree n. 96077 of 1st June 2016 and published in the Official Journal n. 180 of 3rd August 2016, the Trentino Solidarity Fund was created from the possibility, as envisaged by article 40, Italian legislative decree n. 148 of 14th September 2015, to establish a cross-sector regional solidarity fund between the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano backed by the provinces, according to the regulation envisaged for bilateral solidarity funds in Italian legislative decree n. 148/2015. The Fund is an INPS pension scheme, it has no legal status and enjoys financial and equity autonomy (INPS circular, 11 November 2016, n. 197).
The Fund includes all private sector employers that do not fall within the scope of the legislation on income support or the above bilateral solidarity funds which employ at least 75% of its dependent workers in production units located in the territory of the province of Trento. Employers that operate in sectors for which a bilateral fund is established have the right to enrol in the Trentino Fund if the employment requirement of 75% is met. Employers that exercise the above right are no longer subject to the regulation of the original fund.
The Fund provides for the following ordinary payments: funding of training programmes for training and/or retraining, including with the support of national and European funds; ordinary allowances for workers affected by reduced working hours or temporary suspension of employment, for the causes envisaged by the legislation on ordinary and extraordinary income support, with the exception of seasonal bad weather. Provision is also made for crediting the corresponding contribution.
With the subsequent Inter-ministerial Decree No. 103593 of 9 August 2019, amendments were made to the access modalities and to the discipline of the ordinary, supplementary and extraordinary benefits contained in I.D. 96077/2016. In particular, the new decree established the provision of supplementary protections, in terms of amounts and durations, with respect to the benefits provided by law in case of job loss (INPS Circular No. 156 of 29 December 2020).
Workers with an employment contract, including apprentices hired under professional training apprenticeship contracts, who have an effective length of service of at least 30 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 and home workers are excluded.
In the case of supplementary benefits, the beneficiaries are workers over 58 years old and seasonal workers in tourism and thermal spas, retail trade, catering and cableways.
START DATE AND DURATION
The ordinary allowance can be granted, both for ordinary Wage Compensation Fund reasons and for extraordinary Wage Compensation Fund 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. This limit is raised by the new decree to a total of 52 weeks in the rolling two-year period if the intervention is required for the reason of solidarity contract. 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 dependent worker, 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 be met between one ordinary allowance payment and another.
WHAT AM I ENTITLED TO?
The amount of the social security allowance is set at 80% of the overall remuneration that the worker would be entitled to for the hours not worked, between zero hours and the limit of the contracted working hours. For 2019, the maximum monthly amount of the benefit, payable net of the 5.84% reduction that remains available to the Fund, is equal to € 939,89 for salaries equal to or less than € 2.159,48 and to € 1.129,66 for salaries greater than € 2.159,48 (INPS Circular, 21 January 2021, No. 7). The amounts are re-evaluated every year with the methods and criteria in place for the industry's Wage Compensation Fund.
The Fund does not pay for the Family Allowance, since it is not envisaged by the Fund's founding decree, nor can it make the Severance Indemnity.
For periods in which the ordinary allowance is paid, the Fund pays the benefit's corresponding contribution to the dependent workers' pension scheme. The contribution due is used to achieve pension eligibility (including the advance pension) and to determine its amount. The remuneration value considered for the calculation is equal to the amount of the normal remuneration that the worker would be entitled to in the month the work event takes place. 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 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.
For the funding of all services, the Fund is due 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 Fund is also due 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 same provisions in force for the Ordinary Wage Compensation Fund apply to the payments guaranteed by the Fund in relation to payments and reimbursement of the services. Therefore, the payment is made by the employer to the eligible dependent workers at the end of each pay period and is reimbursed by INPS to the employer or settled by it based on the indications of the INPS circular, 15 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 resolution of the Fund's Management Committee.
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 (excluding seasonal bad weather) and therefore for causes not depending on the will of the dependent worker or employer, can access the ordinary allowances. As far as is compatible, the legislation on ordinary income support applies.
The worker that carries out employed or independent work during the income support period does not have the right to the benefit for the days of work carried out. The totalisation restriction can be explained as total incompatibility or total or partial cumulation as identified in INPS circular, 4 October 2010, n. 130.
How can I claim?
Claims to access the ordinary allowance, regardless of the reason given, must be submitted with the methods indicated in the INPS Circular No 122 of 17 June 2015 and INPS Circular No 201 of 16 December 2015, to the INPS office in Trento 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).
When submitting the application, it is necessary to attach the documents that prove that the information and trade union consultation obligations were met (article 14, Italian legislative decree n. 148/2015) or the collective agreement for solidarity contract reasons.
As regards training and supplementary protection benefits, see INPS Circular No 156 of 29 December 2020.
It is possible to file an appeal using the adopted procedures within 90 days and exclusively using an electronic channel, to the Fund's Management Committee.