The 2016 – 2017 – 2018 Budget Laws have put a significant impact on the issues of labour productivity and corporate welfare, marking a real turning point on the issue.
Until 2016, the only rules governing the matter were, in particular, those provided for – with particular but not exclusive reference – from Articles 51 and 100 of the Single Income Tax Text – TUIR (DPR 917/1986), whose indications relate to a range of services (e.g. supplementary benefits, supplementary health benefits and some forms of social protection offered by the insurance system) which do not cover the full range of services in practice offered by companies to their employees. As a result, canteen, transport, nurseries, health services, family support, textbooks, summer holidays and so on have long been among the services enjoyed by only employees of multinationals or medium and large companies, more easily able to voluntarily bear the burden of benefits offered to their workers. Type of On-Top Direct Funding Welfare.
With the last three Budget Laws – law 28 December 2015, No. 208, Article 1, commi 182-190; December 11, 2016, No. 232, art. 1, commi 160-162; December 27, 2017, No. 205, art. 1, commi 28 and 161 – the perspective has literally changed thanks in particular to a series of innovations and incentives concerning the productivity premium instrument linked to the company's results in terms of productivity gains, profitability, quality, efficiency and innovation of Italian companies, and transformable, precisely with considerable tax relief, into welfare.
Incentives for contributions to forms of supplementary welfare
Article 51 of the TUIR identifies a large panel of services that can be provided to the employee that do not constitute income from employees and are deductible from corporate income, with tax benefit for both workers and companies. Further tax breaks were then introduced by the aforementioned Budget Laws (below marked by an asterisk):
- supplementary health care contributions paid by the employer or the worker to entities or funds with only welfare purposes in accordance with provisions of contract or agreement or company regulation, which operate in the areas of intervention established by the decree of the Minister of Health (turkish and Sacconi decrees) for an amount not greater than 3,615.20 euros in total;
- contributions for supplementary pension schemes in the limit of 5,164.57 euros;
- employer's food administrations, as well as those in canteens organised directly by the employer or managed by third parties, or up to the total daily amount of EUR 5.29, increased to EUR 7 if electronically rendered, the benefits and replacement allowances paid to construction workers, other temporary work facilities or production units located in areas where there are no catering facilities;
- the services of collective transport services to generality or to categories of employees, even if they are entrusted to third parties (including public services);
- the sums paid or reimbursed to the general or categories of employees by the employer or the expenses" incurred by the employer directly, voluntarily or in accordance with provisions of the contract, agreement or company regulation, for the purchase of subscriptions for local, regional and interregional public transport of the employee and the dependents ex art. 12 TUIR (introduced by the Budget Act for 2018);
- the use of the works and services recognized by the employer voluntarily or in accordance with provisions of contract or agreement or company regulation for education, education, recreation, social and health care or cult of the generality of employees or their categories and family members under art. 12 TUIR (amended by the 2016 Budget Act);
- The sums, services and benefits provided by the employer to the generality of employees or to categories of employees for the use, by the family members indicated in Article 12, of education and education services also in preschool age, including the supplementary and canteen services associated with them, as well as for the frequency of playrooms and summer and winter centres and for scholarships for the same family members (modified by the Budget Act for the same family members (modified by the Budget Act for the same family members('modified by the Budget Act for the same family members' 2016).