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QUALIFICATION OF ABSENCE FROM WORK DUE TO CORONAVIRUS INFECTION IN THE LIGHT OF THE "CURA ITALIA" DECREE

Posted by | March 21, 2020 | comments
QUALIFICATION OF ABSENCE FROM WORK DUE TO CORONAVIRUS INFECTION IN THE LIGHT OF THE

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In light of the COVID-19 epidemiological crisis that is particularly affecting Italy, Legislative Decree no. 18 of March 17, 2020 (the so-called "Cura Italia") was published in the Official Gazette to ensure measures to strengthen the National Health Service (NHS) and economic support for families, businesses and workers.

In favour of the latter, some special protections are provided:

- First of all, the contagion that occurred "during work" is equated to an accident in the workplace. Therefore, the specific situation examined is the one in which the contagion occurred during the work activity, but also and above all "for" the work, i.e. because of the work itself. In these cases, the worker who contracts the coronavirus is entitled to the protections provided by the Inail, which will provide financial benefits even during the quarantine period (with abstention from work) for those cases of proven contagion attested by a medical certificate of accident.

For the employer, on the other hand, the coronavirus infection (considered as an accident event) will not contribute to the calculation of the insurance premiums (bonus/malus), which will not increase; this is due to the fact that such events will not affect the fluctuation of the average rate for accident trends.

It should also be noted that this provision refers to public and private employers, with the automatic exclusion of self-employed workers who are insured at Inail. However, in absence of any specific provision, it might be considered that this sector of workers shall report the accident to the employer by means of a medical certificate and it is pacific the latter's obligation to send the report to Inail within two days since its receipt;

- Secondly, for the private sector, quarantine is equated to illness. In these cases, the worker will be entitled to the same financial treatment as for the illness (generally at the employer's expense for the first three days and then at the expense of both INPS and the employer at 50%) and this period of time will not be taken into account for the purposes of the so-called “periodo di comporto” (period of illness during which one cannot be dismissed). The doctor must prepare the medical certificate for the periods of illness, also indicating the regulatory measure that authorized the quarantine. There is also a mechanism for retroactive effectiveness of this provision, in the amnesty of certificates transmitted prior to the entry into force of this decree. This protection does not involve any contribution burden on either employers or INPS, since the cost will be borne by the general taxation, although up to the maximum expenditure of € 130,000,000.00 (after which, it will no longer be possible to benefit from these advantages);

- Finally, for workers who are immuno-depressed or have serious disabilities, oncological pathologies or have life-saving therapies, there is the possibility to stay at home until April 30th 2020 and the period of absence from work will be recognized as hospitalization.

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