Recognition of same sex unions in Italy.
What employers need to know (and to do).
The Italian Parliament on May 20, 2016 approved the law on civil unions between persons of the same sex (L n. 76/2016). This law affects the regulations of labour law. The civil union, representing essentially a “marriage” between persons of the same sex, implies similar rights.
It is a rule of general application, to extend to civil union parties – among others – all the rights and powers that labour law, collective agreements and union agreements, grant to spouses. Note that the reference is open, and thus allows the automatic application of any rule of law or collective agreement, existing or future, in relation to spouses and / or marriage. Consequently, because the reference is open, litigation could arise – or at least, different interpretations – about the application of individual institutions (consider for example, the rules of collective agreements that refer to the “head of the household”).
Conversely, with regard to the rules of the Civil Code and Law No. 4 May 1983. 184 (law on adoptions and foster care), Article. 1, paragraph 20, provides that only those expressly referred to without the possibility of extensive or analogical interpretation.
Since the extension of the rules regarding civil unions, the laws and contracts relating to married couples guarantee to the parties the ability to fulfil the mutual assistance obligations, moral and material, and its functional institutions:
• accounts of family responsibilities and any related implications for tax and social security aspects, including family allowances and deductions, as well as in cases of dismissal (Art. 5 of the l. 223/1991, a rule that identifies the legal criteria of choices in cases of collective dismissal, but established case-law is applicable by analogy in the event of multiple individual dismissals for just cause);
• permissions, leave and expectations for assistance to ill or disabled partners for compassionate reasons or mourning (l. February 5, 1992 n. 104 and s. 8 March 2000 n. 53);
• any limitations or allowances provided for in collective bargaining in respect of transfers that impact on workers’ families (eg. art. 170 of the tertiary CCNL; art. 111 of the Negotiable Credit);
• the right to withdraw consent to the elastic clauses relating to part-time to assist the affected partners from oncological diseases; priority in the right to transformation of the relationship in part-time in the same situation in question.
In terms of protection from possible discrimination at work, apply for civil union parties:
• The provisions of Article. 35 of Legislative Decree no. 11 April 2006, n.198 (Code of equal opportunities) on the nullity of the dismissal notice in connection with marriage and the resignation within one year of marriage;
• Forecasts, laws and collective agreements relating to holidays and marriage leave, and those indemnified by INPS, both those generally provided for in the national labour contract (eg. art. 158 of the tertiary CCNL; art. 3, Title VI , sect. IV, CCNL metalworkers industry; art. 57 of the Negotiable Credit).
It’s evident that employers will be required to adjust their policies and their company’s collective agreements to the new rules.