Dignity Decree: Reflections on Autonomy and Subordination

decreto dignità

by Stefano Trifirò and Federico Manfredi

In recent months there has been debate about labour stability, which the Dignity Decree intends to focus on in the face of flexibility that businesses require. Considering this, in the legislative interventions of the last 15 years that have affected sector regulations, self-employment has been viewed as a great disadvantage. Collaborative relationships are presumed to be fraudulent and are re-qualified on the basis of revealing indexes, regardless of how they are actually carried out. On the other hand, subordinate employment relationships were encouraged both through tax relief and by weakening worker protection in the event of dismissal. The result of this system is contradictory, since by forcing employment relationships that the parties themselves would prefer to be more dynamic or free from rigid forms, into the links of subordination, the organizational structure of the companies is in plaster. On the other hand, once any type of relationship within the company is brought back to a working one, it is considered precarious. Yet one would not reach the same conclusions by reading art. 1 of the Constitution, which refers to any type of job: not only the subordinate one, but also the entrepreneurial, professional and autonomous one. The equal dignity of all forms of work therefore arises as a constitutional precept. So, having regard to the effects of a constitutionally oriented interpretation of the discipline of the employment relationship, it should be pointed out that “from a series of constitutional rules it can be seen that the employment contract can be constructed as an associative contract in which the employer and the provider pursue not identical interests, yet not necessarily opposed purposes, but a common goal which is concretized in the interest of the company. When we consider all of this, then it is possible to conceive how termination is given, in so far as it depends on the interest of the company” (C. Grassetti, in “Proceedings of the Conference on La tu-tela delle Libertà dei Employment Relationships”).

Therefore, it will be necessary to rebuild labour law by abandoning the culture of the employment relationship as the only guaranteed form. Space will need to be left for self-employment even within the company, according to a more complex system where the interests of the parties are not opposed, but converging towards the common goal given by the interest of the company. Mind you this is third compared to both the worker and the employer, and becomes a parameter of legitimacy and good faith for the measures taken by the latter. Where the company must be understood as a working community in the context of mutual rights and duties oriented towards the common purpose of the company’s interest, which the Legislature has not defined, it has defined the company as a complex of assets organized by the entrepreneur for its operation. Therefore, it seems natural to conclude that companies of the future will probably be characterized by the prevalence of self-employment, however it will remain that the working relationship – whether autonomous or subordinate – cannot be arbitrarily resolved, but recognized as legitimate only if exercised according to the interest of the working community which is the company. Also, that the work contract – individual or collective teaching positions even – will be constructed as a contract in which the employer and providers pursue a common goal which is expressed in the interest of the company.

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