Italy: Employee Benefits Update

May 2016: Asinta’s Partner in Italy, De Besi-Di Giacomo, has reported back the following important changes in employee benefits this year:

• Flexible Benefits

o At the very end of 2015, the Italian government published a decree which allowed employers and employees to gain fiscal benefits from paying and receiving production premiums or other benefits not linked to such premiums. The rules for this flexible benefit system were published at the end of March 2016.

o Employees making less than 50,000€ per year now have two options: to receive their benefits as cash (and paying a 10% fixed tax), or as school fees, welfare, gym membership, etc. (and paying no tax). In the first scenario, both employer and employee will pay tax on the benefit amount. In the second scenario, however, neither party will be liable for those taxes.

o Employees making more than 50,000€ per year also have new options for their benefits at their fingertips, which may help to mitigate the fiscal effect on bonuses for those who may be taxed at more than 50%.

o In order to set up such flexible benefits, a collective agreement needs to be written with rules regarding the measurable production targets & maximum allowances, as well as a list of the benefits that the employer can provide for the employee. Maximum allowances are currently set at 2,000€ per employee, but can be raised to 2,500€, if the collective agreement is signed with the assistance of national union bodies.

o Employers looking to set up a system for flexible benefits for their employees in Italy will need the help of a specialized consultant and an agreement with the service providing the flexible benefits to their employees.

• New Life Insurance Provider

o A new life insurance provider, Poste Vita, has recently emerged and quickly become the largest company in Italy for life insurance. Until recently, they sold their products through the post offices of Italy, but they are now beginning to approach brokers to sell their products.