Italy to crack down on slackers with new bill against ‘work time violations’

© Alessandro Garofalo
The Italian government is set to pass a bill against work time violations in the public sector after it was revealed that employees tend to check-in at work for their colleagues that are running late.

Other offenses include going out with friends, shopping or canoeing instead of doing their job while employers turn the blind eye to the kind of wrongdoings.

Apparently the post-lunch afternoon nap, known as riposo, is simply not enough for Italians who have been found to bunk off work and turn up late while having a fellow employee clock-in for them.

A decree aimed at fighting what Prime Minister Matteo Renzi named “intolerable acts” of absenteeism is to be adopted on Wednesday, AFP reported.

“If I see you clock in for someone else, if you clock in and go and do another job, if there is incontestable proof ... those people should be sent home without pay within 48 hours,” Public Administration Minister Marianna Madia said on Monday.

If passed, the tightened-up law would affect not only shirkers but their employers as well. Supervisors who haven’t paid enough attention to the breach in discipline “risk being sent home too”, Renzi added.

The move comes after a series of images from a surveillance camera in the north-western city of San Remo was made public in October, 2015. A group of 35 people was arrested back then after they checked in at work but were absent the whole day. Police are currently conducting an investigation regarding 200 more people.

The most embarrassing images caught on camera featured traffic policeman Alberto Muraglia who happened to live and work in the same building. In the mornings, Muraglia wearing only his underwear would check in in the time-monitoring system to only go back to sleep. His wife was also filmed checking in for him wearing a housecoat.

Other cases included employees being out with friends, shopping or canoeing while they were supposed to be at work.

Nine museum workers were taken off the job in Rome early January as it turned out they were skipping work.

Renzi’s decision to clamp down on work time cheating in public sector was met with disapproval from the Italian trade unions that say this is merely a tool of gaining votes.

“We cannot but note that the prime minister speaks about firing people in 48 hours, while public sector workers... have been waiting for wages to be unfrozen for six years now,” said Rossana Dettori, head of the FP CGIL union.

The law likely to be passed on Wednesday is not the first of its kind in Italy. However, the statistics show that out of nearly 7,000 employees found cheating at work only 219 were fired in 2013.