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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-2020-12/219 Updated – measures in Italy

Temporary suspension of individual and collective dismissals

Sospensione temporanea delle procedure di licenziamento individuale e collettivo

Country Italy , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 17 March 2020 – 31 October 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery into a green future
– Flexibilisation and security
Author Lisa Dorigatti (University of Milan) and Eurofound
Measure added 31 March 2020 (updated 10 May 2021)

Background information

The Italian Government, through Article 46 of the Law Decree No. 18 of 2020, suspended all the proceedings for collective dismissals and individual layoffs based on economic or productive reasons. This measure has been taken to prevent companies from dismissing wide part of their workforce as a consequence of the impossibility to carry out their business due to the two months lockdown applied in Italy to contrast the COVID-19 outbreak. The suspension of dismissals was later extended until 17 August 2020 by Law Decree No. 34 of 2020.

Content of measure

In consequence of the adoption of this measure, all collective dismissals' proceedings initiated from 23 February 2020 are suspended until 15 May 2020, and no new proceedings can be initiated from 17 March 2020 until the same final date. In addition, individual dismissals are banned from 17 March 2020 until 15 May 2020. The suspension does not apply to dismissals for disciplinary reasons, that can still be initiated.

The ban of individual dismissal is applied to all employers. The ban of collective dismissals, only to those than can enter in this proceeding (the ones with more than 15 employees).

The suspension of dismissals was later extended until 17 August 2020 by Law Decree No. 34 of 2020 (art. 80).


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

22 March 2021

Law Decree No. 41 of 22 March 2021 confirms the freezing of individual and collective dismissals for all employers until 30 June 2021 (art.8). For those employers who are making use of the wage integration treatments, such block remains even beyond, i.e. from 1 July to 31 October 2021.

28 October 2020

Law Decree No. 137 of 28 October 2020 further extended the temporary suspension to individual and collective dismissals until 31 January 2020.

15 August 2020

Law Decree No. 104 of 14 August 2020 extended and qualified the temporary suspension to individual and collective introduced by Law Decree No. 18 of 2020. In particular, the new regulation envisages that the suspension is postponed until 31 December 2020, with the following exceptions:

  • Companies that have finished the additional 18 weeks of access to the COVID-19 wage guarantee fund provided by the decree;
  • Companies that have completed the period of exemption from social security contributions foreseen by the degree;
  • In the event of business termination or bankruptcy;
  • In the presence of a company collective agreement defining a redundancy incentive, signed by the comparatively most representative trade union organizations at national level, only for those workers voluntary adhering to the agreement.

Use of measure

No details available.

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
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:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown


No involvement of the social partners.

Views and reactions

The employer organisation Confindustria heavily criticised the decision of the Government to extend the suspension of dismissals until 17 August 2020, arguing it is "an attack against the freedom of enterprise". The trade union confederations CGIL, CISL and UIL, instead, have asked the Government to extend the suspesion of individual and collective dismissals until the end of 2020.

The counterposition between the social partners on the ban to dismissals continues also after its further extension by Law Decree No. 41 of 22 March 2021, with employer associations asking to remove the ban to let companies reorganise and trade unions calling for its further extension until the end of the COVID-19 emergency.


  • 17 March 2020: Article 46 of Law Decree No. 18 of 2020
  • 23 March 2020: Sospensione, illegittimità o nullità? I licenziamenti “economici” al tempo del Coronavirus (
  • 19 May 2020: Law Decree No. 34 of 2020 (
  • 15 August 2020: Law Decree No. 104 of 2020 (
  • 22 March 2021: DECRETO-LEGGE 22 marzo 2021, n. 41 Misure urgenti in materia di sostegno alle imprese e agli operatori economici, di lavoro, salute e servizi territoriali, connesse all'emergenza da COVID-19 (


Eurofound (2020), Temporary suspension of individual and collective dismissals, measure IT-2020-12/219 (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.