Ryanair is required to pay Italian – and not Irish – social security contributions for some of its 219 employees at Italy’s Bergamo airport, an EU court has ruled.
Employees who are not covered by E101 certificates issued in Ireland and who spend time in Ryanair’s flight deck at Bergamo’s Orio al Serio airport are de facto Italian workers for social security purposes, the European Court of Justice said in a preliminary ruling today.
The verdict must be sent back to the Italian courts for a final decision.
The case is part of a decades-long dispute between Ryanair and Italian authorities over the law that applies to employees, which are largely based on Irish-registered aircraft.
In 2012, Reuters reported that Italian prosecutors had been investigating Ryanair since 2010 for allegedly evading around 12 million euros in social security payments for its employees in Bergamo. Ryanair denied the allegations and said it had complied with EU social security and tax rules.
EU social security rules state that a person who works in two or more countries is subject to the legislation of the country where they carry out a significant part of their work.
These rules came into effect in 2010.
Today’s result relates to social security contributions due between 2006 and 2013.
The case follows an investigation by the Italian Social Security Agency (INPS), which found that Ryanair’s 219 Bergamo employees were employed on Italian territory and were therefore subject to Italian social security. The Italian trade association INAIL took the same view.
However, two Italian lower courts ruled against the two agencies on the grounds that Bergamo’s staff were hired under Irish contracts and worked only 45 minutes a day in Italy, with the majority of their time being spent on Irish-registered aircraft.
They also concluded that Ryanair’s flight deck at Orio al Serio airport did not constitute a “branch office” or “permanent representation” in Italy, which, under EU rules, would require resident workers to pay Italian social security contributions.
However, one of the lower courts found that not all 219 workers were covered by the Irish E101 certificates presented by Ryanair.
INPS and INAIL appealed the decisions of the lower courts to Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation, which referred the case to the European Court of Justice, based in Luxembourg, in 2021.
The European Court of Justice today took a similar view to Italy’s lower courts, albeit not for all 219 Bergamo-based employees.
“The Court considers that the premises intended for the use of Ryanair staff at Orio al Serio airport constitute a home base, resulting in the Ryanair staff who are not covered by the E101 certificates and allocated there, pursuant to Decree No. 883/2004, subject to Italian social security legislation,” the court said on Thursday.
https://www.independent.ie/business/jobs/eu-court-finds-ryanair-liable-to-pay-italian-social-security-for-some-bergamo-staff-41666488.html EU court orders Ryanair to pay Italian social security for some Bergamo employees