Italy steps closer to making covid Green Pass mandatory for all workers

Italy continues to push forward with Green Pass obligations in the workplace.

Italy is moving closer to requiring all workers in both the public and private sectors to carry the covid Green Pass certificate, with premier Mario Draghi holding a cabinet meeting to discuss the matter on Thursday.

Italy's minister for economic development Giancarlo Giorgetti has said the Green Pass should be extended to all workers, "without discriminating against anyone", reports news agency ANSA.

This view is shared by the minister of public administration Renato Brunetta who is quoted by LaPresse as saying the pass should be "for everyone: public workers and private workers, public services and private services", and who recently told RAI News24: "The Green Pass is a license for freedom."

What is the Green Pass?

The Green Pass is a digital or paper certificate showing that people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19, and is required for dining indoors in restaurants, long-distance travel, a host of cultural and leisure activities, and certain workplace environments.

Last week the health minister Roberto Speranza said the scope of the pass "will soon be extended" as part of efforts to "strengthen the vaccination campaign", in a move backed by Confindustria, the main association representing Italy's manufacturing and service companies.

The extension of the Green Pass is likely to occur in one or at most two steps - according to ANSA - one for the public, the other for the private sector.

The obligation would start in mid-October, to give time to those who have not yet had the first dose of the covid-19 vaccination.

The pass is already required by certain sectors, including health workers and teachers in schools and universities, as well as school support staff and external workers entering school property such as caterers and cleaners.

For now, the move to extend the Green Pass to all workers remains "a hypothesis under discussion", according to Giorgetti, as part of efforts to give "certainty" to companies, to avoid closing down due to covid infections among staff.

The penalty for those who fail to comply with the Green Pass obligations currently under discussion could be the same system as in place for school employees, according to ANSA: fines from €400 to €1,000 and - after five days off work due to not having the Green Pass - workers' absence would be regarded as "unjustified", leading to the suspension of their employment and pay.

With Italy on track to reach its target of vaccinating 80 per cent of the population over the age of 12 by the end of September, there are still more than 10 million Italians who have not even had the first dose of the vaccine, reports newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.

The government has confirmed that it is also discussing the prospect of mandatory covid vaccinations, a move described as "a last resort" by deputy health minister Pierpaolo Sileri in a recent interview with newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Details about the Green Pass can be found - in Italian - on the Certificazione Verde website while for official information about the covid-19 situation in Italy - in English - see the health ministry website.

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