INAIL protects workers from the physical and economic damage deriving from work related accidents and diseases and exempts employers from civil liability resulting from either of these, except in cases for which criminal or civil courts ascertain the an employer's violation of national laws regulating prevention, safety and health on the workplace.
All employers are obliged to insure their full-time employees and/or workers with a co-ordinated ongoing collaboration contract hired for activities which the law establishes as risky. Craftsmen and self-employed workers in the ag riculture sector are also required to insure themselves.
The Domestic Accidents Insurance Act 1999 has extended compulsory insurance to housewives.
Classification of Employers
Employers are classified according to four sectors each with a corresponding tariff and premium rate:
The sectors are as follows:
- miscellaneous activities.
The following activities are considered risky: those involving the use of machinery and other types of equipment; those carried out in environments organised for work and services requiring the use of machinery and various types of equipment; those complementary or auxiliary to other risky activities. Furthermore, the law specifically lists a set of activities with an irrefutable presumption of risk. These include building and road works; handling of goods in warehouses; street cleaning and waste collection; private surveillance services; transport; setting up of shows, public events, etc.
INAIL protects all workers and employees who carry out risky activities, including superintendents of works, associates of companies or co-operatives, medical staff exposed to X rays, apprentices; employees working with computers and cash registers; executives; professional sportsmen, etc.
Craftsmen and self-employed workers in the agriculture sector are also protected.
The Domestic Accidents Insurance Act 1999 protects those who - in an age bracket between 18 and 65 - carry out exclusively non-paid domestic activities in household management or family assistance (i.e. who are not involved in any type of work that requires an alternative form of compulsory social security insurance and who are in no way parties in a subordinate work relation.)
Notice of Starting Activities
The insurance relationship begins when the activities carried out are reported to INAIL.
Housewives are also required to register with INAIL: for the first insurance year by 31st March 2001; thereafter they are required to pay their premiums by 31st January or an alternative date set by legislation governing the insurance policy.
Insurance charges, known as the premium, are to be paid exclusively by the employer, the craftsman or the self-employed worker in the agriculture sector.
In the case of workers with an on-running and co-ordinated collaboration contract, the ordinary premium is subdivided as follows: one third is to be paid by the worker and the remaining two-thirds by the employer.
The actual payment is to be carried out by the employer.
In the case of employees, the premium is calculated according to salary and in relation to the risk factor of the activity carried out.
In the case of craftsmen calculations are made according to a fixed income defined as 'conventional'.
In the case of self-employed workers in the agriculture sector the premium consists in a per-capita fixed contribution paid to INPS (National Social Security Institute) together with the other social security contributions.
The premium for housewives - to be paid by the insured subjects- cannot be subdivided on a monthly basis and is set at 25,000 lire (12.91 euros) per year; it is exempt from tax charges and can therefore be deducted from income tax.
This premium is paid to INAIL by the State on behalf of low-income subjects, with a salary equivalent or inferior to 4,648.11 euros per year and who belong to a family unit with a total income below 9,296.22 euros.
This is the system set up by INAIL for insurance premium payments.
By 16th February, employers are required to complete a few simple procedures:
- to declare salaries paid the previous year;
- to calculate the premium advanced on salaries paid the previous year and deduct any social security rebates, concessions and facilities;
- to pay the sum due to INAIL, which is the result of the premium advanced and the possible balance related to the previous year, in one single payment or in instalments, by using the "Unified Payment Form F24" which allows to directly clear debts and/or credits towards the majority of state bodies.
Social Security Rebates, Concessions and Facilities
As well as those applicable to building companies and production and building co-operatives, premium reductions - based on diversified forms and amounts paid- also exist for co-operatives which process, handle or market agricultural or products for zootechnics. In the case of motor hauliers, reductions are applied only on the basis of a balance related to the previous year, if applicable.
Protection of Workers
The Automatic Nature of Benefits
Workers subject to compulsory insurance who become victims of a work accident or professional disease are protected by INAIL, which guarantees them economic, health and additional benefits even if their employer has not regularly paid the insurance premium.
Self-employed workers who - when the accident or industrial disease occurs - are not up-to-date with insurance premium payments will see their economic benefits suspended until the social security obligation is fulfilled.
This automatic procedure is not applicable to housewives. Victims of domestic accidents leading to permanent disability equal to or exceeding 33% who have failed to pay their premiums are not protected by the Institute.
The Accidents at Work and Occupational Diseases (Amendment) Regulations 2000 has introduced- as part of compulsory insurance against work related accidents and diseases - the assessment of possible "biological damage", defined as an "injury to an individual's psycho-physical integrity susceptible of medical evaluation".
The related benefits are dispensed independently from the insured worker's wages: it is the disability as such which is considered detrimental to the individual, not only as a worker but as a human being.
The new compensation regime concerns work accidents and occupational diseases reported as from 25th July 2000. The direct annuity for permanent disability continues to be provided for those which occurred before that date. This compensation regime does not apply in the case of insurance against domestic accidents.
Other Forms of Protection
Through the provision of benefits, INAIL guarantees workers injured on the workplace or suffering from an occupational disease with:
- an allowance for the non-payment of wages;
- a compensation for the reduced ability to work;
- a compensation for the permanent damage to the worker's psycho-physical integrity (in the case of "biological damage");
- the best possible recovery of the lost ability to work;
- compensation payments to relatives in the case of death.
Housewives are granted an annuity commensurate with the degree of disability, provided that it is equal to or exceeding 33%.
Currently, for this kind of insurance, no compensation to survivors is possible in the case of death.