An EU court has found that Ryanair is obliged to pay Social Security – rather than Irish – to Italian, for some of its 219 employees based at Italy’s Bergamo airport.
Taff are not covered by E101 certificates issued by Irish and those who spend time in Ryanair’s crew room in Bergamo’s Orio al Serio airport are effectively Italian employees for social security purposes, the European Court of Justice has said. said in a preliminary decision today.
The decision has to be sent back to the Italian courts for final decision.
The case is part of a decade-long dispute between Ryanair and Italian authorities that applies to employees who are based largely on Irish-registered planes.
In 2012, Reuters reported that Italian prosecutors were investigating Ryanair for allegedly dodging around €12m in Social Security payments for its employees in Bergamo since 2010. Ryanair denies the allegations, saying it has complied with EU social security and tax rules.
EU social security rules state that a person working in two or more countries is subject to the law of the country where they do a substantial part of their work.
These rules came into force in 2010.
Today’s finding pertains to Social Security payments due between 2006 and 2013.
The case hinges on an investigation by Italy’s Institute of Social Security (INPS), which found that 219 of Ryanair’s Bergamo employees were employed in Italian territory and were therefore subject to Italian social insurance. The Italian workplace compensation body, INAIL, took the same view.
However, two lower Italian courts found against the two agencies, saying that the Bergamo employees were hired under Irish contracts and were working in Italy for only 45 minutes a day, most of their time Irish- was spent on registered aircraft.
They also concluded that Ryanair’s crew room in Orio al Serio airport did not amount to a “branch” or “permanent representation” in Italy, which, under EU rules, was required to pay Italian social security contributions. For this the staff located there will be required.
However, one of the lower courts found that not all 219 employees were covered by the Irish E101 certificates offered by Ryanair.
INPS and INAIL appealed the decisions of the lower courts before the Supreme Court of Cassation in Italy, which referred the matter to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in 2021.
The European Court of Justice today took a similar approach to Italy’s lower courts, though not for all 219 Bergamo-based employees.
“The Court is of the view that the premises used by Ryanair employees located at Orio El Serio Airport constitute a home base, as a result of which Ryanair employees who are not covered by the E101 certificates handed over there may be subject to Regulation No. 883.” / 2004, subject to Italian social security law,” the court said on Thursday.