Italy workers with no covid Green Pass face suspension without pay

Italy ushers in some of the strictest anti-covid measures in the world.

The Italian government has brought in sweeping restrictions that will require all workers, in both the public and private sector, to have a Green Pass, a certificate showing that people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19.

The move, part of a decree approved last night, affects 23 million workers and will be in force from 15 October until 31 December when Italy's covid state of emergency expires.

From next month the Green Pass will be compulsory for all workers who will face hefty fines or suspension without pay for violating the new rules.

After five days off work due to not having the Green Pass, employees' absence will be regarded as "unjustified", with their employment suspended and pay frozen, however nobody can be fired.

Those who ignore the restrictions and go to their workplace without a Green Pass risk fines of between €600 and €1,500. Businesses who fail to carry out checks risk fines of between €400 and €1,000.

Unvaccinated employees can still enter the workplace but only if they undergo a covid test every 48 hours at a fixed cost of €15.

The scope of the Green Pass continues to be extended in a bid to boost Italy's vaccination campaign as the country nears its target of vaccinating 80 per cent of the population over the age of 12 by the end of September.

Opponents of the move say it amounts to forced vaccination by the back door however premier Mario Draghi says the latest decree is designed to help Italy to "continue to open up."

The government's decision to wait a month to introduce the new Green Pass rules was made to give time to those who have still not had the first dose of the covid vaccine to book an appointment.

What is Italy's Green Pass?

Italy's Green Pass, or certificazione verde, was introduced in June and was originally used mainly for travel within the EU and to facilitate access to large events such as weddings or to visit nursing homes.

However over the summer the scope of the Green Pass - which does not apply to children under 12 - was expanded significantly, and has since been updated several times.

The pass is currently required for indoor dining in restaurants, long-distance domestic travel, a host of cultural and leisure activities from museums to swimming pools, as well as in certain workplace environments including schools and universities.

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.

Photo credit: luca pbl / Shutterstock.com.