Council of State of Italy, Seventh Section, N.1842/2022, 16 March 2022
The Italian Council of State, with the decision No 1842 of 16 March 2022, ruled on the exclusion of Catholic religion teachers with temporary contracts from the benefit of the electronic Card for teacher training courses (amounting to €500).
The Regional Administrative Court of Lazio had rejected the appeal brought for the annulment of a note of the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (M.I.U.R.), which specified that the Card and the relative €500.00 per year should be allocated only to permanent teachers and not also to teachers with temporary contracts. The Regional Administrative Court, in particular, had held that the Card did not fall within the conditions of employment for which the framework agreement on temporary employment of 18 March 1999 (annexed to directive no. 1999/70/EC of 28 June 1999) prescribes equal treatment, since it does not have the same nature as an accessory remuneration or taxable income, but is related to teacher training.
Therefore, the benefit, according to the Regional Administrative Court, would compensate for the greater burden of the service performed by permanent teachers, for whom in-service training is compulsory and permanent. Furthermore, the circumstance that the national collective contract (CCNL) recognizes an obligation to provide training for non-permanent teachers would not be relevant because the law providing for the teacher's Card came after the CCNL (and so it clearly derogates the national contract).
The Council of State overturns the decision of the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio, finding that the Ministry's decision to exclude teachers with temporary from the benefit of the Teachers' Card is unreasonable and contrary to the principles of non-discrimination and good performance of the P.A., thus affirming the illegitimacy of the contested acts with respect to the parameters of domestic law inferable from Articles 3, 35 and 97 of the Italian Constitution.
According to the Council of State, the MIUR note introduces clear discrimination to the detriment of non-permanent teachers, since it does not provide them with a tool that can support their training activities and causes a clear violation of the principle of good performance of the P.A. by implementing a system that favours the training of permanent teaching staff only, to the detriment of the training of precarious staff.
The judges of the Council of State have, therefore, recognized the right to obtain the Teachers' Card for teachers of the Catholic religion who are appointed on an annual basis (temporary teachers), stating that there cannot be a disparity of treatment between permanent and non-permanent staff in terms of tools, resources and opportunities, which guarantee in-service training.
(Comment by Nadia Spadaro)