As of 12 March 2016, with the entry into force of Legislative Decree 151/2015, Article 26, resignation and contract termination by mutual agreement notified by employees (including apprentices and workers under a fixed term contract) will only be effective if communicated through an appropriate online procedure.
The new procedure, however, will not apply to certain instances specifically identified by the law, namely:
– domestic service contracts;
– withdrawals performed in “protected venues” (that is, before the certifying commissions, the Territorial Labour Office, the trade unions, and the venues specified in collective bargaining agreements);
– resignation during the worker’s trial period;
– resignation or employment termination by mutual agreement filed by a female worker during pregnancy or by a worker of either sex during the first three years of his/her child’s life – in any such case, resignation or termination must mandatorily be confirmed before the relevant Territorial Labour Office only;
– maritime work contracts;
– work contracts with the public administration.
From an operative point of view, the new procedure consists in different phases, depending on whether the worker decides to fulfil it on his (or her) own, or to seek the assistance of aid offices (patronati), the trade unions, or bilateral entities and certifying commissions (“Intermediaries”) pursuant to Article 26.4 of the Legislative Decree.
In the former case, the worker must personally fill in a form made available by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies on the website www.lavoro.gov.it – Cliclavoro, and forward it electronically to his/her employer and to the relevant Territorial Labour Office.
As a preliminary step, however, the worker must first obtain from INPS (the Italian social security institute) a “PIN” (an alphanumeric code, actually) as well as a username and a password to access the website Cliclavoro, required in order to guarantee the identity of the individual who is filing resignation.
The INPS system will release half of the code forming the PIN upon registration with the INPS website (https://serviziweb2.inps.it/RichiestaPin/jsp/menu.jsp), whereas the second half of the PIN will be sent by ordinary post to the address indicated by the worker upon registration. This will imply evident delays and difficulties in the procedure implementation for those employees who do not have a PIN of their own.
If, vice versa, the worker turns to an Intermediary to notify resignation, the procedure will be quicker: in that case, it is the Intermediary who guarantees the worker’s identity, therefore it is no longer necessary to apply for the above-mentioned credentials.
Under Article 26 it is also possible to revoke resignation within 7 days of the date of transmission, again exclusively electronically via the website, by selecting the option REVOCA (revocation).
Finally, the decree provides for a severe sanction system in the event the employer is found to have tampered with the form through which the worker expressed his/her intentions to resign. In particular, the employer may be fined for €5,000.00 up to a maximum of €30,000.00, unless his conduct amounts to a more serious criminal offence.
While online resignation has been conceived with the praiseworthy intent to fight the phenomenon of “blank resignation” (that is, a fake letter of resignation that the worker is required to sign beforehand so as to dodge the laws on dismissals), nonetheless the system is not free from blame or paradox.
First of all, online resignation considerably increases the time before the resigning worker can leave the company: while before a written notice to the employer was sufficient to resign, now if the worker does not wish to seek the assistance of the Intermediaries, he has to apply to INPS for the issue of his PIN and then wait several days before receiving it and being able to start the online procedure.
Secondly, the new procedure is a potential source of complications for companies as well. Let us suppose, for instance, that a worker notifies resignation in writing to his employer, without completing the online procedure: in that event, even if the worker no longer goes to work, the employment contract formally is still in place, and the employer, in order to terminate it, will be obliged to start a dismissal procedure, with all the predictable consequences also in relation to the quantifications to the sums payable to the worker (e.g., the indemnification in lieu of notice).