*Disclaimer: Given the speed at which new laws, regulations, and policies have been implemented to control the COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible that the responses below will be impacted.*
Has vaccination been made mandatory in your jurisdiction?
Yes, for specific categories of people.
In particular, mandatory vaccinations have been introduced for people over the age of 50, school/university staff, medical staff, and personnel in the defense and security sector.
Can an employer require employees to get the COVID vaccination? If yes, are there any exceptions or special circumstances that an employer must consider?
No. Employers can require compulsory vaccination only for health professionals and those who carry out their activities in public and private health or social and health structures.
Furthermore, according to Italian Law (Law Decree no. 24/2021), starting from May 1, 2021, it is no longer required to show the so-called "green pass" to access the workplace.
Please note that the green pass attests to one of the following conditions: a) have the anti-COVID-19 vaccination; b) be negative on the rapid antigen test within the past 48 hours or the molecular test within the past 72 hours; c) be healed from COVID-19 in the past six months.
Can employers require the wearing of masks in the workplace?
Yes. The "Shared protocol regulating the measures to contrast and contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus in workplaces", enacted on March 14, 2020, and amended on April 24, 2020, must be implemented in all workplaces where work must be performed at an interpersonal distance of less than one meter and other organizational solutions are not possible. This protocol states that employees must use masks and other protective equipment (gloves, goggles, suits, earmuffs, lab coats, etc.) in compliance with the provisions of the scientific and health authorities.
Can employees refuse to be vaccinated? How does an employer need to balance its obligation to provide a safe work environment with an employee's rights?
Under Art. 32 of the Italian Constitution, health treatments cannot be imposed on anyone unless by the provision of law. Considering that Law Decree no. 1/2022 introduced compulsory vaccination for people over 50, according to the same Law Decree, in case of a refusal to be vaccinated, they are condemned to pay a fine equal to EUR 100.
However, as said above, starting from May 1, 2021, it is no longer required to show the so-called "green pass" to access the workplace.
In the event of a refusal, can an employee be dismissed for refusal to comply with the employer's vaccination policy? Will the employee's refusal constitute just cause for termination?
Due to the fact that the so-called "green pass" is no longer required to access the workplace, employers cannot dismiss employees for refusing to comply with the vaccination policy.
What benefits or accommodations do employers have to make for vaccinated employees?
No particular benefits are provided for vaccinated employees.
Can vaccinated employees refuse to work in the same vicinity as employees who are not vaccinated?
No. Given that the so-called "green pass" is no longer required to access the workplace, such behavior could be considered a mere refusal to work and have possible disciplinary consequences.
In your country, are employers required to provide paid leave for employees to get vaccinated?
In general, no provision allows the recognition of specific permits for administering the anti-Covid-19 vaccine.
The emergency legislation only justifies the absence of school and university sector staff to get vaccinated. Employees belonging to other sectors, who adhere to the regional vaccination program and are absent from work to get vaccinated, can use personal permits, other institutes provided for by the relevant National Collective Bargaining Agreements, or collective agreements at the company level.