Article Italy: Workers' Income, Wine and Textile Industries Part of 2021 Budget Focus

(Mar. 8, 2021) On December 30, 2020, Italy’s Parliament passed Law No. 178 approving the annual budget for fiscal year 2021 (January 1 to December 31). This vast legislation touches upon many aspects of the Italian government and society. This article provides a broad overview of certain important areas of this legislation.

Appropriations to Tackle COVID-19’s Negative Effects on Labor

In line with previous legislation enacted since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, this new law appropriates additional funds in an amount of €1 billion (about US$1.21 billion) for the 2021 fiscal year to, among other goals, alleviate the income loss of self-employed workers and professionals, favor the resumption of their activities, and finance the payment of their social security contributions. (Law No. 178, art. 1(20).)

Additional financial benefits are contemplated for workers who are on leave to assist children with serious disabilities and other workers who are parents. (Law No. 178, art. 1(346(d)).)

Financial Aid for Vulnerable Persons

The budget legislation increases the funds available to provide social benefits for the sustenance of parents in the event of the death of their child, for a total amount of €500,000 (about US$605,000) to be allocated for the financing of associations that carry out psychological or psycho-sociological assistance to such parents. (Law No. 178, art. 1(26).)

Sectors of Society Especially Protected: Wine and Textile Industries

Recognizing the huge losses experienced by the Italian wine industry as a result of the pandemic, the budget legislation sets up an endowment of €10 million (about US$12 million) for 2021, intended by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food, and Forestry Policies to finance the private storage of Italian wines that have or are able to obtain regional certification. (Law No. 178, art. 1(134).)

To alleviate the serious damage caused to the textile industry, in particular to protect its supply chain, and for the design, experimentation, research, and development activities in that sector, the law grants the Industrial Union of Biella (a nationally representative organization of the Italian textile industry) the amount of €5 million (about US$6 million) for the years 2021 to 2023. (Law No. 178, art. 1(157).)

Assistance to Imperiled Youth

To encourage the training of young people on the phenomenon of mafias and to train highly specialized professionals to combat the organized Mafia, the law establishes six scholarships, for a maximum expense of €240,000 (about US$290,000) for 2021 to pay for enrollment in accredited educational institutions. (Law No. 178, art. 1(528).)

Total Expenditure Amounts

The general totals of government spending for the three-year period 2021 to 2023 are set as follows: about US$2.6 trillion for 2021, about US$2.5 trillion for 2022, and about US$2.6 trillion for 2023. (Law No. 178, art. 17.)

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