Italy: Covid pass for workers of the private sector: new obligations in Italy
With a provision contained in a recent Law Decree – no. 127/2021, article 3 – the Italian Government has extended the obligation to possess and to exhibit the Covid pass (called in Italy Green Pass) to workers of the private sector.
Such obligation is effective in the period included between October 15th and December 31st, 2021, the date currently set by the Government as the end of the state of emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Green Pass is therefore currently mandatory for “anyone working in the private sector”.
But how can you get a Green Pass in Italy?
Italian law sets forth the specific requirements that are necessary in order to obtain the Green Pass.
Specifically, such certification shall be issued by the competent authorities: (i) 15 days after the first dose of vaccine or single dose vaccine; (ii) after completion of the vaccine cycle; (iii) after a negative result on a molecular test performed within the previous 72 hours or a rapid test performed within the previous 48 hours; or (iv) after recovery from Covid-19 within the previous six months.
Second question is: what are the implications for private employers and employees?
On the one hand, employers must check that their workers are equipped with the Green Pass.
If they fail to do so, the law provides for a fine ranging from Euro 400,00 to Euro 1.000,00.
With regard to the methods of control, the legal provision states that they can also be random and that they must be carried out, if possible, at the time of access to the workplace.
Moreover, employers were requested to define the operating procedures for carrying out these verifications through the specific “Verifica C-19” app by October 15th, 2021, formally appointing those responsible for verifications.
On the other hand, employees must possess and show their Green Pass in order to be allowed into the workplace.
If they do not, they cannot enter the workplace and are considered absent without official permission.
No considerations or wages are due to them during such absence, and days of absence are not counted for the accrual of leave days and result in loss of the related seniority.
The employee who enters the workplace without the Green Pass, shall be punished with a fine ranging from Euro 600,00 to Euro 1.500,00 and the employer must report him to the “Prefetto”, the local Government representative, for the application of such fine.
The introduction of the Green Pass obligation has aroused some protests, especially given the fact that those who are not vaccinated must get swabbed and bear the relevant costs.
In fact, Italy is among the few countries that have adopted a hard-line with mandatory Green Pass in the workplace, in order to encourage the citizens to get vaccinated and, for the same reason, has not provided for free swabs.
Germany, for example, abolished free swabs as of October 11th, as well but has not introduced an actual covid pass obligation.
In France, the covid pass is only required of workers in industries where having the certification is already mandatory for the public/customers accessing them, such as cinemas, restaurants, shopping malls, museums, libraries, sports facilities, festivals and long-distance transportation, and for healthcare workers.
Currently, Greece has the most restrictions, and to enter the workplace - public or private - employees who are not vaccinated must be swabbed twice a week at their own expense.
We will now see if the Green Pass requirement in Italy will be extended after December 31st as well as if this measure ultimately contributes to increasing the number of vaccinated citizens, which is the government ultimate goal.
By Domenica Cotroneo and Giorgia Innamorato