Giovanna Pistore

University of Padova

Social security protection for new self-employment in the Italian system

Criticalities, aporias and prospects for reform

Giovanna Pistore, University of Padova

The raise of new professions imposes a rethinking of social security systems, traditionally focused on the figure of the permanent employee. New self-employment, on the other hand, is still devoid of identity, in a middle ground where the demands of protection of the category often clash with ancient legacies, anchored to traditional professions and small entrepreneurial work.

The social security consideration of self-employment is based on a legal and sociological misunderstanding that identifies the professional with his own economic activity, disregarding his being a person, and as such a subject worthy of protection in the face of risk events that can occur during working life. To this we must add that in the prism of the great transformation of work, and specifically in relation to the new works connected to Gig Economy, the same categories are disoriented and, in some respects, insufficient before a composite universe of relationships marked by different bargaining forces, which makes it difficult to univocally re-establish them within the framework of traditional social security models.

It is no coincidence that in the matter several recent proposals have been put forward in the Italian legal order, which according to variable geometries have tried to give new form to the system.

In particular, the legislator intervened with Law no. 81/2017, whose Chapter I intends to carry out a review by introducing more contractual and welfare protections for not-entrepreneurial self-employment, following a protectionist point of view in which the worker is regarded as a weak subject in need of protection. Before this discipline, from some defined a new "statute of self-employment", it is necessary to point out another provision, that has not been adequately valued, but is fundamental considering its systemic intersections: Law no. 4/2013, concerning professions not organized in Guilds and Colleges, which profoundly affects the representation of this kind of work and redraws the geography of the access to profession and its exercise, in order to guarantee free competition through the promotion of skills.

The aim of the paper is to outline a possible social security statute for new self-employment, trying to bring the various regulatory fragments back to system and to propose future interventions, through a rereading without preconceptions of the traditional social security categories. The view will be twofold, since the solutions provided under the compulsory occupational insurance and the supplementary one will be considered jointly, in the wake of a reciprocal dialogue and integration between the two strands.

The analysis will take place in three steps full of deep interconnections. Starting from the identification of the protected subjects, we will try to understand how to implement the social security guarantee and finally to see, from the point of view of the working risk factors, which are the present dystonias and the solutions that could close the gaps in the system.

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