Solidarity funds, governed by Articles 26 and following of Italian Legislative Decree No. 148 of 14 September 2015, provide income support tools in the event of suspension or termination of work activities of workers employed by companies belonging to sectors not covered by the legislation on wage subsidies for civil servants.
In addition, some funds provide supplementary benefits with respect to public ones in the event of termination of the employment relationship (emergency benefits), as well as, in the presence of specific requirements, extraordinary allowances in favour of workers involved in retirement facilitation processes until they accrue the right to a pension.
The Wage Subsidy Fund (FIS), governed by Inter-ministerial decree No. 943433 of 3 February 2016, published in the Official Gazette No. 74 of 30 March, 2016, arises from the adjustment, with effect from 1 January 2016, of the residual solidarity fund to the provisions of Italian Legislative decree No. 148 of 14 September 2015, is not a legal entity, constitutes an INPS scheme and enjoys autonomous financial and asset management.
The Fund includes all employers, even those not organised in the form of a company, who employ an average of more than five dependent workers, who do not fall within the scope of ordinary and extraordinary wage compensation fund and who belong to sectors in which no agreements have been signed for implementing a bilateral solidarity fund or an alternative bilateral solidarity fund.
The FIS provides income support with to workers whose work is suspended or reduced in relation to the causes provided for in the ordinary wage compensation fund (except for seasonal inclement weather) or extraordinary wage compensation fund (with the exception of the solidarity contract) or reduced in order to avoid or reduce the surplus of personnel (circular no. 176 of 9 September 2016).
In particular, the Fund grants the solidarity allowance, in favour of dependent workers of employers who employ on average more than five dependent workers, including apprentices, in the semester preceding the start date of suspensions or decreases in working hours and the ordinary allowance, in addition to the solidarity allowance, in favour of dependent workers of employers who employ on average more than fifteen dependent workers, including apprentices, in the semester preceding the start date of suspensions or decreases in working hours.
FIS benefits are paid to dependent workers with an employment contract, including apprentices with a professional employment contract and with the exclusion of managers and home workers.
Dependent workers with an apprenticeship contract for professional qualification and diploma, upper secondary education diploma and higher technical specialisation certificate and workers with an apprenticeship contract for higher education and research are excluded.
The solidarity allowance is guaranteed to the dependent workers of employers who, in order to avoid or reduce the surplus of personnel during the collective redundancy procedure, referred to in Article 24, Law No. 223 of 23 July 1991, or in order to avoid multiple individual redundancies for a justified objective reason, sign collective company agreements that establish a decrease of hours with the most representative trade union institutions.
All workers affected by a decrease 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 beyond the control of the employee or employer, may access the ordinary allowances. The wage supplement must be granted for the time deemed necessary to resume interrupted production activities.
The solidarity allowance can be granted for a maximum period of 12 months in a rolling two-year period while the ordinary allowance can be granted, both for reasons of the CIGO and the CIGS, up to a maximum period of 26 weeks in a rolling two-year period.
For each production unit the ordinary allowance and solidarity allowance cannot exceed the overall maximum duration of 24 months in a rolling five-year period.
However, for the purposes of the maximum overall duration, the duration of the solidarity allowance, within the limit of 24 months in a rolling two-year period, is calculated to the extent of half. Beyond this limit the duration of benefits is calculated in full.
Therefore, for example, it will be possible, according to the rolling two-year period referred to individual reasons, depending on the combination of the reasons invoked, to have the following maximum durations:
- 36 months of solidarity allowance;
- 24 months of solidarity allowance + six months of ordinary allowance + another six months of ordinary allowance;
- 24 months of solidarity allowance + six months of ordinary allowance+ six months of solidarity allowance.
WHAT AM I ENTITLED TO?
The sum of the allowance, both for the solidarity and ordinary allowance, is established at 80% of the total remuneration that would have been due to the worker for their unworked hours, ranging from zero hours to the contracted working hours.
For 2019, the maximum monthly amount of the benefit, payable net of the 5.84% decrease that remains available to the Fund, is equal to €935.21 for salaries equal to or less than €2,148.74, and to €1,124.04 for salaries greater than €2,148.74 (INPS circular, No. 5 of 25 January 2019).
The amounts are re-evaluated every year with the methods and criteria in place for the wage compensation fund for industry.
The Fund does not pay the family allowance, since it is not envisaged by the Fund's founding decree.
The Fund operates in accordance with the balanced budget principle and cannot make payments if it has no financial resources. Payments borne by the Fund are granted following the creation of specific financial reserves and within the limits of the resources already acquired.
Jobs that occupy on average more than 15 dependent workers, owe an ordinary contribution of 0.65% of the monthly payment taxable for the social security purposes of dependent workers to the Fund (excluding managers, home workers and workers with apprenticeship contract other from the professionalizing one) , of which two thirds to be paid by the employer and one third by the worker, while the employers who occupy on average from more than five to 15 dependent workers, must pay an ordinary contribution of 0.45% of the monthly payment taxable for the purposes social security for dependent workers (excluding managers, home workers and workers with an apprenticeship contract other than a professional placement), of whom two thirds are paid by the employer and one third by the worker.
Employers who access the services of ordinary or solidarity allowance must also make an additional contribution, calculated at 4% of the lost payment.
The benefit is authorised with an adjustment payment from the employer, starting from the month following the one in which the authorisation was granted. For the communication of data needed for the equalisation payment, the employer can make use of the UNIEMENS flow, as explained in the INPS circular No. 170 of 15 November 2017.
The direct payment of the benefit can be authorised only in the case of serious and documented financial difficulties of the company, proven by submitting, to the relevant INPS regional entity, the documentation referred to in Annex 2, INPS circular No. 197 of 2 December 2015.
The interventions and benefits guaranteed by the FIS are authorised with the measure of the head office manager (or the delegated manager) with reference to the INPS office which is regionally relevant in relation to the production unit. In the case of multi-location companies, the authorisation is still exclusive.
The relevant contribution for both types of allowance is calculated on the basis of the taxable payment for social security purposes and is useful for obtaining the right to a pension, (including early retirement) as well as for calculating its size.
The calculation is based on the financing rate of the pension fund where the worker is registered. 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 amount must be determined by the employer on the basis of recurring and continuous remuneration elements.
The Fund pays the contribution related to the worker's registration management.
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 above totalisation restriction can be explained as total incompatibility or total or partial cumulation as identified in the INPS circular, 4 October 2010, n. 130 in paragraph 2.9.c, INPS circular No. 89 of 23 May 2017.
Workers who are entitled to the benefits of the Wage Subsidy Fund must have, at the date of submitting the claim, a seniority of at least 90 days of actual work at the production unit with
reference to which the claim was submitted.
WHEN CAN I CLAIM?
To be eligible for the solidarity allowance employers must make a claim within seven days of the date of the union agreement and the decrease in work must begin by the thirtieth day following the date of claim. However, the claim cannot be submitted before 30 days from the beginning of the suspension.
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 later than the start of the suspension or decrease of work. Failure to comply with 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 within one week prior to the submission date (namely, from Monday of the previous week).
HOW CAN I CLAIM?
Claims for access to benefits must be submitted by the employer (circular No. 122 of 17 June 2015, INPS circular No. 22 of 4 February 2016, and message No. 1986 of 5 May 2016) online to INPS through the dedicated service.
In respect of the measures adopted it is possible to appeal, within 90 days and exclusively through the RiOL on-line service (Online Appeals), to the FIS administrator committee, within the INPS General Management. The management committee decides in a single resolution on appeals concerning contributions and benefits.