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Commission approves €96.9 million Italian scheme to support companies hiring female workers in the context of the coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission has approved a €96.9 million Italian scheme to support companies hiring female workers in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the state aid Temporary Framework. The aim of the measure is to reduce the labour costs of the beneficiaries thereby helping them address their liquidity needs and promote employment of female workers who have experienced a period of unemployment or of unregularly paid employment. Under the scheme, the aid will take the form of an exemption from payment of social security contributions for contracts concluded in 2021 with female workers.

The exemption will apply for a period of 12 months in case of fixed-term contracts and for a period or 18 months in case of open-ended contracts. Eligible beneficiaries can receive up to a maximum annual amount of €6,000 per employee. The exemption will only apply when the hiring leads to a net increase of the number of employees. The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed €225,000 per company active in the primary production of agricultural products, €270,000 per company active in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors and €1.8 million per company active in all other sectors; and (ii) will be granted no later than 31 December 2021.

The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU state aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.100005 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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