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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-2021-27/1988 – measures in Italy

Elimination of the ban to dismissals

Sblocco dei licenziamenti

Country Italy , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 July 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Flexibilisation and security
Author Lisa Dorigatti (University of Milan) and Eurofound
Measure added 29 July 2021 (updated 14 September 2021)

Background information

Law Decree No. 73 of 25 May 2021 did not further extend the ban to dismissals foreseen by the Italian governments since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, companies not making use of wage integration treatments are allowed to proceed to individual and collective dismissals from 1 July 2021.

Content of measure

The ban to individual and collective dismissals introduced by the Italian governments since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and confirmed until Law Decree No. 41 of 22 March 2021 was not confirmed by the so called Supports Decree bis. Therefore, those companies which are entailed to make use of the ordinary wage guarantee treatment (mainly medium-large, manufacturing companies) can now proceed to individual and collective dismissals. The ban is still in force, according to Law Decree No. 41, until 31 October 2021 for those companies which can rely on the extraordinary wage guarantee fund and on the wage integration fund (mainly small companies in the service sector) and, according to Law Decree No. 73, until 31 December for companies in the textile, apparel and leather sector, for companies making use of the ordinary wage guarantee fund without additional contribution, and for companies in the tourism sector making use of the discount of social contributions.

Use of measure

Several cases of collective dismissals have been reported by the media after the suspension of the ban. Some, such as Whirpool in Napoli, where the company announced the closure of the plant and the dismissal of concern longstanding processes of business restructuring. Others, like Gianetti Ruote or GKN, are new cases of restructuring. Both entail the decision of multinational corporations to close still profitable plants, with the effect of significant amounts of layoffs (152 in the first case and 422 in the second).

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Applies to all 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 Consulted Consulted
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

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

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


Social partners have been consulted by the government on the issue. However, the final decision has been unilaterally taken by the government. On 29 June 2021, the social partners together with the government signed a common understanding stating the following: "in the light of the solution proposed by the Government on overcoming the redundancy block, the social partners commit to recommend the use of the social safety nets that the current legislation and the decree law being approved provide as an alternative to the termination of employment relationships".

Views and reactions

The removal of the ban to dismissals has been a heavily dividing topic among the social partners. Most of the employer associations, particularly Confindustria, deeply adversed the ban and were calling for its removal since several months. The trade unions, instead, advocated the extension of the ban until the end of the sanitary emergency and the approval of the social safety net reform, which should ensure a more universal system, able to support all workers affected by the economic effects of the pandemic.



Eurofound (2021), Elimination of the ban to dismissals, measure IT-2021-27/1988 (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.