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Workers in Italy required to have a “green pass” to enter the workplace

  • Italy
  • Employment law
  • Employment law - Business and human rights

30-09-2021

Italy's “green pass” confirms vaccination status or that individuals have tested negative or recovered from COVID-19.

When the green pass was first launched in Italy in June 2021, it was designed to facilitate travel in Europe, allow attendance at large events and allow access to nursing homes. Since then, it has been extended as a requirement to access indoor dining in restaurants and bars as well as being mandatory for access to certain venues such as museums and cinemas. From next month, it will be further extended to public and private sector workplaces and judicial offices.

Between 15 October 2021 and 31 December 2021, individuals will be required to possess and, if requested show, a valid green pass in order to access the workplace. This requirement also applies to any external contractors accessing a workplace and to those entering in order to carry out training or voluntary activities.

It is expected that further guidance will shortly be issued by the Italian authorities with official clarifications and instructions regarding the new requirements. In the meantime, outlined below are some frequently asked questions in relation to the private sector requirements, based on the information currently available:


Question  Points to note 
On what basis is a green pass granted and how long is it valid for?

The green pass is granted on the basis of:

  • completion of a vaccination cycle (green pass valid immediately and lasts for 12 months). This certification is also provided when the first dose of vaccine has been administered (green pass valid starting from the 15th day from vaccination), as well as when a single dose of vaccine has been administered after a previous infection (green pass valid immediately); or
  • recovery from COVID-19 infection (green pass valid for 6 months after recovery); or
  • negative result of a rapid molecular or antigenic test (green pass valid for 48 hours from the test). The Government will extend the validity duration to 72 hours when issued following a negative molecular test; or
  • recovery from COVID-19 infection after the administration of the first dose of vaccine or at the end of a vaccination cycle (green pass valid for 12 months after recovery).
What steps must employers take prior to 15 October 2021?

Employers must ensure that by 15 October 2021 its operating procedures have been defined to allow it to verify compliance with the requirement for employees to have a valid green pass to enter the workplace. In particular, such procedures should include carrying out checks, also on a random basis. Employers should give priority, where possible, to the checks being carried out at the time of access to the workplace. Employers must also formally appoint persons responsible for ensuring compliance with the requirements.

What is the position of employees who fail to show a green pass when entering the workplace?

Employees who do not have a valid green pass or are found not to have it at the time of access to the workplace must be immediately suspended from work and will be considered absent from work without justification. That position remains until the presentation of a valid pass or 31 December 2021, whichever is the sooner.

During the period of unjustified absence, employees are not entitled to the payment of salary or any kind of compensation, but have the right to retain their job position and to not be subjected to disciplinary consequences.

For companies with fewer than 15 employees, after the fifth day of unjustified absence, the employer may suspend the employee from work for a period corresponding to the duration of the employment of a temporary replacement for the suspended employee. The duration of the employment of a temporary replacement cannot exceed 10 days at a time, but can be renewed by further 10 day periods, subject to not extending beyond 31 December 2021.

What are the potential sanctions for private sector employers in the event of any breach of the requirements?

Failure to carry out the checks and to adopt the above-mentioned procedures shall be punished with an administrative sanction ranging from Euro 400 to Euro 1,000.

What are the potential sanctions for employees in the event of entering the workplace without a valid green pass? An employee who enters the workplace without a valid green pass may be subject to disciplinary sanctions and to an administrative sanction ranging from Euro 600 to Euro 1,500.

Podcast: Workers in Italy required to have a “green pass” to enter the workplace

As part of the latest materials in our Evolution of Work series, Elizabeth Graves and Antonio Santini discuss the recent developments in Italy in relation to the use of “green passes” and the implications for employers in this 13 minute podcast.

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