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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure IT-2020-10/221 Updated – measures in Italy

Simplifying the adoption of the smart working regime

Disposizioni per semplificare l'accesso al regime di smart working

Country Italy , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 04 March 2020 – 31 July 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Teleworking arrangements, remote working
Author Lisa Dorigatti (University of Milan) and Eurofound
Measure added 31 March 2020 (updated 29 July 2020)

Background information

The smart working regime is a particular way to carry out the employees' performance, allowing them to conduct it partly at the employer's premises, and in part outside them (for instance at home, in other public spaces or at clients' premises). To cope with the COVID-19 crisis, the Government, via the Prime Minister's Decree of 4 March 2020, simplified the conditions to apply the smart working regime (lavoro agile) to the workforce. The goal is to encourage companies to employ this job scheme to ensure, when possible, business continuity.

Content of measure

Article 1, lett. n) of the Prime Minister's Decree of 4 March 2020 authorises the adoption of the smart working regime without executing, with the employees, the individual agreement required by the law in normal conditions. This individual agreement contains, in general, significant dispositions steering the performance under the smart working regime, like the rules implementing the right to disconnect. Moreover, Article 1, lett. n) specifies that the informative obligations bearing on the employer according to Law No. 81 of 2017 can be fulfilled, while the measure is into force, through electronic communications.

All the workers that can realise their performance working remotely are eligible, provided that the employer wants to activate this scheme.

Law Decree No. 18 of 17 March 2020, converted into law No. 27 of 24 April 2020, further intervened on the issue of smart working: Until the end of the state of emergency, workers with disabilities or who have a person with a disability in their family unit, have the right to smart working, provided it is compatible with the characteristics of their activity. In addition, the Law Decree states that, in accepting requests to smart working, priority has to be given to workers in the private sector with reduced working capacity.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

17 July 2020

Law Decree No. 34 of 19 May 2020 introduced a specific right to smart working for parents employed in the private sector. The eligible workers are those with at least one dependent child under 14 years of age, appointed with tasks that can be carried out remotely. An additional requirement is that there is no other parent in the family which is beneficiary of income support instruments, in cases of suspension or cessation of work, or that there is no non-working parent.

Use of measure

No data are available yet on the use of the measure.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown


No involvement of the social partners in designing, implementing and monitoring the measure.

Views and reactions

Main employer's and workers' organisations welcomed the measure. Social partners have not been involved in the preparatory works of this measure. Smart working is currently the focus of a significant public debate. The research centre of the trade union CGIL carried out a survey on workers' experience of smart working during the emergency. According to the results of the survey When working from home is smart , several critical issues emerge in workers' experience of smart working. The former secretary of CGIL, Susanna Camusso, now responsible of gender policies in the trade union, highlighted the profound gender differences in experiencing the smart working, arguing that smart working cannot be seen as a form of work-life balance only for women, as they are more penalized and discriminated against, both on the relational and the purely professional front. Moreover, she argued that rules are needed to make it a truly smart job and not a transposition of a Fordist job within the walls of the house. Also the General Secretary of the union commented on the research arguing that in order to be a positive and satisfying experience for women and men, smart working must be organized and bargained with trade unions, and issues such as the right to disconnection and training need to be adequately addressed.



Eurofound (2020), Simplifying the adoption of the smart working regime, measure IT-2020-10/221 (measures in Italy), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.