The Italian social security body (INPS), with Message no. 3653 of 9 October 2020, clarifies workers’ rights regarding social security cover for illness in the case of quarantine and/or precautionary monitoring

INPS Message no. 3653 of 9 October 2020

Quarantine/precautionary monitoring and flexible working
According to INPS, it is not possible to resort to social security cover for illness or hospitalization in cases where the worker in quarantine (art. 26, paragraph 1) or under precautionary monitoring as a fragile person (art. 26, paragraph 2) continues to work from home, based on an agreement with his employer, as an alternative to being in the office (flexible or smart working, teleworking, etc.). 
In fact, in these circumstances, the employee is not suspended from work and there is no suspension of salary. 
INPS goes onto say it is clear that in the case of illness (art. 26, paragraph 6) the worker is temporarily unable to work, with the right to access the corresponding social security benefit, compensating for loss of earnings.

Quarantine by administrative order
INPS excludes the social security protection for illness in the event of being unable to work  by virtue of administrative measures: «in all cases of orders or measures by administrative bodies that in fact prevent people from working, it is not possible to proceed with the recognition of the protection provided for quarantine under paragraph 1 of Article 26, as the same requires a measure from the public health body».

Quarantine abroad
There is no recognition either, for workers insured in Italy who have gone abroad and have been subject to quarantine measures by the competent authorities of the foreign country, because: «access to the protection referred to in the above mentioned paragraph 1 of Article 26 can only come from a procedure carried out by the Italian health authorities».

Quarantine / precautionary monitoring and wage support scheme 
Where the worker is furloughed, and thus suspension of the employer’s contractual obligations, he/she can no longer request the specific protection provided in the case of illness. This is in fact, as INPS reminds us, the well-known principle of the predominance of salary supplementation over sick pay, also provided for by Article 3, paragraph 7, of Legislative Decree no. 148 of 14 September 2015.