The Family Act – Family Law

Emily Parkin

The Family Act is a bill designed to improve the quality of life
of families with children.

The aim of the Family Act is to promote parenthood, combat
childlessness and facilitate the reconciliation of family life and
work, particularly for women.

What is the Family Act

The bill, recognised as the Family Act, is a combination of
measures designed for families with children.

On 6th March 2022, the Senate approved Bill No. 2459,
which delegates the Government to adopt measures to support the
family, in application of EU Directive
2019/1158
.

The Family Act envisages a series of contributions to encourage
parenthood and counteract the decline in the birth rate.

Planned Measures

To sum up, these are the measures provided for in the Family
Act:

  1. Single and Universal Check (cheque)

  2. Maternity and paternity parental leave

  3. Tax deductions

  4. Work incentives for women

  5. Contributions for children’s welfare

Single and Universal Check

The single and universal check (an economic support allowance),
which has already been in effect since 1st March 2022,
has replaced the Irepf deductions in the income packet for
dependent children and the bonuses entitled to families.

The single allowance is a consequence of specific requests from
the European Commission.

It is targeted to families of both Italian and foreign citizens
with children.

The requirements for parents are:

  • Italian citizenship

  • European citizenship

  • residence permit of at least 6 months

  • residence for at least two years in Italy, even if not
    continuous

  • permanent or fixed-term employment contract of at least six
    months (in which case income tax must have been paid)

  • Pregnancy reached the third trimester.

The requirements for children are:

  • Age not exceeding 21 years

  • From the age of 18 onwards, they must be enrolled in a
    training/educational course, be on the employment rolls or be
    carrying out universal community service

  • No age limit if handicapped

All parents will benefit from the seventh month of pregnancy
(third trimester) until the age of 21 for each child.

The allowance is payable to the parent who first applies to the
INPS, but it is also possible to split the benefit 50/50 between
both parents.

INPS has set up a model to estimate the amount
of the allowance.

In the case of separated or divorced parents

In the case of separation or divorce, the single allowance shall
be divided equally between those exercising parental
responsibility.

If there is an agreement between the parties, whoever applies
for the single allowance must indicate the personal data of the
other parent when submitting the application to the INPS.

If one of the parents has been granted sole custody, the allowance is
payable, in the absence of agreement, to the custodial parent.

If a legal guardian had to be appointed, the allowance is
granted in the sole interest of the protected child.

The single allowance could affect the maintenance allowance
(link to various types of allowance) if the person paying the
maintenance allowance transfers it to the ex-spouse. In this case,
the separation agreement should be reviewed.

Maternity and paternity leave

The Family Act redefined maternity and paternity parental leave,
extending it until the child reaches the age of 14 (as opposed to
12 previously).

This measure introduces flexible rules on the management of
parental leave, with a privileged pathway for single-parent
families.

Absences from work due to children’s illnesses should not
have a heavy impact on wages.

Maternity replacements will be compensated by company subsidies,
as will the return of women to work after pregnancy and their
training.

Paid leave of at least 5 hours will be provided for
school-family meetings and leave to accompany pregnant
partners/wives to maternity visits.

At least two months of non-transferable parental leave may be
granted for each child, with allowances for equal distribution
between parents.

There will be a review of parental leave, with the harmonisation
of work and childcare time for both parents.

For new fathers, the 10 days (as opposed to 2 days prior to
2017) of paid paternity leave becomes a structural measure, no
longer subject to annual review.

These protections are also applicable to the self-employed and
the independent professionals.

Tax Deductions

Tax deductions are introduced for expenses related to university
education (such as the purchasing of books, etc.) and for the
rental costs of university student accommodation.

For young couples, or single parent families, under 35, tax
relief on rent or on the purchase of their first home can be
claimed.

Incentives will also be given to favour the self-sufficiency of
children of age with respect to their family of origin.

Tax relief is also available for expenses incurred for domestic
services or assistance to family members with limited means.

Women’s work incentives

To incentivise women’s work, the Family Act allocates a
share of the endowment of the Guarantee Fund for small and
medium-sized enterprises, to launch new women’s businesses, and
to support their activities for the first two years. Prizes will be
awarded to those who encourage female employment in southern
regions.

Contributions to children’s welfare

The Family Act has also provided for measures to support the
psychological and physical well-being of children. This will be
possible thanks to contributions towards the purchase of textbooks
for pupils in lower and upper secondary schools, educational trips,
the purchase of tickets for museums, exhibitions, natural parks and
galleries, the purchase of computer goods and services, membership
of sports associations, and the attendance of foreign language,
art, or music courses.

In addition, financial contributions are provided to pay nursery
school fees.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

https://www.mondaq.com/italy/family-law/1201322/the-family-act

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