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18 Mar 2016

Associated Press, Buenos Aires Herald (Argentina)

Italy: Trade unions raise concerns about "job voucher" payment scheme undermining workers' rights

"Italy pushes labour flexibility to limit with job vouchers", 12 Mar 2016

Italian trade unions and labour experts are worried about the rapid spread of a payment scheme originally used only for seasonal farm labourers which they say is being abused by employers and undermining workers’ rights.Under the system, workers are not paid directly in money but with vouchers which the employer buys online, or at a post office or tobacconist...There is no contract, so workers have no rights in areas such as sick pay, holidays or leave, with obvious advantages and savings for employers. Workers paid in vouchers can continue to claim what benefits they are already entitled to, but do not accrue any right to jobless benefits when their employment ends...Launched by the government as an experiment in 2008, the system has expanded dramatically. Around 1.7 million workers received some payment in vouchers in 2015, according to the UIL trade union. That represents eight percent of all working Italians, and almost 80 percent of temporary workers...There are also safety issues. For example in the construction industry an employer has to give 16 hours of training to anyone hired on a regular contract, but not if they are paid with a voucher...