Italy's new Green Pass rules to affect 23 million workers

Employees in Italy with no covid Green Pass face suspension without pay.

The Italian government is preparing to introduce contentious new restrictions requiring all workers, in both the public and private sectors, to have a Green Pass with effect from Friday 15 October.

The Green Pass is a digital or paper certificate showing that people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19.

From this Friday the Green Pass will be compulsory for all workers who will face hefty fines or suspension without pay if they are caught violating the new rules.

The move, set to affect 23 million workers, will be in force until 31 December when Italy's covid state of emergency expires.

Penalties for not having Green Pass

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.

Opposition to Green Pass

Critics say that extending the Green Pass requirements to all workers amounts to forced vaccination by the back door however premier Mario Draghi says the move is designed to help Italy to "continue to open up."

Protests over Italy's Green Pass had begun to fizzle out over the summer however there are renewed tensions in the lead-up to 15 October.

A large protest in Rome last weekend turned violent after demonstrators attempted to reach Draghi's office, and stormed the headquarters of the CGIL trade union.

Italy's vaccination campaign

The scope of the Green Pass continues to be extended in a bid to boost Italy's vaccination campaign as the country hit its target of fully vaccinating 80 per cent of the population over the age of 12 against covid-19.

The government reached the milestone on 9 October, missing its own target of the end of September, a goal set in March by the nation's coronavirus emergency commissioner, General Francesco Paolo Figliuolo.

There are currently 43.2 million people in Italy fully vaccinated against covid, with around 8 million who have yet to receive even the first dose.

What is Italy's Green Pass?

Italy's Green Pass, or certificazione verde, was first introduced in June and was used originally 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 progressively, and has been updated several times.

The pass is currently required for indoor dining in restaurants, long-distance domestic travel, a host of cultural, leisure and social activities - such as museums, swimming pools and nightclubs - 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: MikeDotta / Shutterstock.com.