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Article Italy: Miscellany of Measures Enacted to Fight Covid-19 Pandemic

(Jan. 28, 2021) On October 28, 2020, Italy’s government issued Decree Law No. 137, which introduced additional measures to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. Among the topics these measures address are financial assistance for businesses and workers, tax and judicial proceedings, and public health surveillance.

Financial Aid for Business, Sports, and Tourism Sectors

The legislation allocates €50 million euros (about US$60 million) to assist ATECO, which is the service offered by the Italian Chamber of Commerce to companies and professionals to identify administrative requirements necessary to develop a legitimate economic activity in the country, in particular, to assist beneficiaries adversely affected by the Covid-19 measures approved by the President of the Council of Ministers on October 24, 2020. (D.L. No. 137, art. 1(2).) The fresh funds are designed to support companies and individuals who have encountered difficulties paying their value-added taxes during the Covid-19 pandemic. (D.L. No. 137, art. 1(3).)

The legislation endows a “Fund for the Support of Amateur Sports Associations and Amateur Sports Societies” with €50 million to ameliorate the negative impacts on members of sports groups caused by restrictive measures to contain the pandemic. (D.L. No. 137, art. 3(1).)

The law appropriates an additional €100 million euros (about US$121 million) to support tourism and culture venues. (D.L. No. 137, art. 5(1).) Other organizations and activities granted fresh funds include export activities, international fairs, and companies operating in the agricultural, fishing, and aquaculture sectors. (D.L. No. 137, arts. 6(3)(2) & 7(1).)

Employment Benefits and Household Emergency Income

Several financial benefits are created for employers and employees, including an additional subsidy for employers who have suspended or reduced their activities due to events attributable to the pandemic and who have had to dismiss workers, under certain conditions. (D.L. No. 137, art. 12(1)-(2).) In addition, the legislation suspends the payment of social security and welfare contributions and insurance premiums for employees of companies headquartered in Italy in the economic sectors affected by the new restrictive measures. (D.L. No. 137, art. 13(1).)

The law establishes new compensation for seasonal employees in the tourism sector and spas whose employment has ceased involuntarily since January 1, 2020, after they worked for at least 30 days during that period, and who do not receive a pension or other government benefits. (D.L. No. 137, art. 15(2).) Workers enrolled in the Entertainment Workers’ Pension Fund who have an income not exceeding 50,000 euros receive an indemnity of 1,000 euros under the legislation, provided that certain other conditions are met. (D.L. No. 137, art. 15(6).)

Employees of the National Olympic Committee (CONI), the Italian Paralympic Committee (CIP), national sports federations, and other amateur sports clubs and associations recognized by CONI and CIP also receive benefits under the law. (D.L. No. 137, art. 17(1).)

The law extends household emergency income (Reddito di emergenza) created by previous Covid-19 legislation for the months of November and December of 2020. (D.L. No. 137, art. 14(1).)

The law allocates additional funds for personnel in the police forces and the National Fire Brigade who carried out major tasks connected with the pandemic in 2020, in particular to pay for police officers’ overtime. (D.L. No. 137, art. 32(1).)

Tax Credits and Suspensions

The legislation creates a residential and business tax credit for rental property affected during the pandemic, regardless of the volume of revenue and fees recorded in the previous tax period. (D.L. No. 137, art. 8(1).) The law also cancels the second installment of the municipal tax for the year 2020 concerning certain buildings and related appurtenances. (D.L. No. 137, art. 9(1).)

Remote Judicial and Tax Procedures

The legislation expands the availability of videoconferencing for preliminary criminal investigations, which are managed by the judicial police office closest to the concerned persons’ place of residence. (D.L. No. 137, art. 23(2), para. 1.) These remote procedures are also extended to criminal hearings not requiring the participation of persons other than the public prosecutor, private parties, their respective defense counsel, and the judge. (D.L. No. 137, art. 23(5).)

Prison sentences of not more than 18 months issued between October 29, 2020, and December 31, 2020, are to be carried out, upon request, at the sentenced person’s home or in another public or private place of care, with certain exceptions. (D.L. No. 137, art. 30(1).)

In addition, the president of the respective provincial or regional tax commission may order that various tax proceedings be carried out remotely. (D.L. No. 137, art. 27(1).)

National Telecommunications Service for Health Surveillance

The legislation creates a national telephone and telecommunications support service for persons who have tested positive for COVID-19, who have had close or casual contact with subjects who tested positive, or who have received an alert notification through the “Immune” application. (D.L. No. 137, art. 20(1).)

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