Italy: Employment Law Newsletter | May 2023

New laws and regulations

New bill on the use of the Italian language in employment contracts

The Italian Parliament is currently examining a bill that aims at ensuring the use of the Italian language in employment documents. The bill provides that employment contracts, as well as employees' job titles, must in all cases be written in Italian. If this bill becomes law, the new regulation would allow the use of foreign languages only in the absence of an Italian language counterpart. In the event of a breach of these provisions, the bill provides for administrative sanctions ranging from EUR 5,000 to EUR 100,000. We will keep you updated on the progress of this bill.

Public unemployment benefits for resigning working fathers

The Italian Social Security Agency (INPS) clarified that working fathers, who take mandatory paternity leave, are entitled to public unemployment benefits if they resign before their child is one year old.

More specifically, a working father is required to take leave from work for a period of 10 working days at any time from two months prior to the child's expected date of birth and five months after birth.

Case law developments

Dismissal of an executive level employee due to a conflict of interest

In a recent ruling, the Italian Supreme Court clarified that an executive-level employee (dirigente), who conceals the existence of a conflict of interest from the board of directors, can be lawfully dismissed. In the case at hand, an executive failed to inform the board of directors about his wife's interest in a competitor of the company. The court ruled that this circumstance irreparably damaged the trust bond between the executive and the company, thus justifying dismissal for cause.

Dismissal of an employee, who is also a caregiver, during leave of absence

The use of a leave of absence to assist a family member does not imply that the caregiver must use the leave exclusively to assist their disabled dependent. This is the conclusion reached by the Italian Supreme Court, that ruled that employees may also use caregiver leaves for other, more personal needs, that may not be entirely related to support to their dependent. The Court deemed the dismissal of an employee, who had used two hours to read a book in a public garden, after assisting a family member, to be unlawful.

Dismissal for just cause during sickness leave

The dismissal of an employee on sick leave, who was found attending a soccer match, was deemed unlawful by a local labour court. In the case at hand, the employee had not been prescribed absolute rest by his doctor; consequently, the fact that he was watching a soccer game was not considered as being detrimental to his health condition nor to his recovery. For these reasons, the court found that the employee's conduct was reasonable under his right to free movement.

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