Picture shows a foreign mother and her child PHOTO/EPA/ARCHIVE
Picture shows a foreign mother and her child PHOTO/EPA/ARCHIVE

An Italian court has extended a "birth credit" - an 800-euro bonus for new mothers - all foreign mothers legally residing in the country. The ruling annuls previous directives by Italian social security agency INPS, considering them "discriminatory."

 This includes mothers that INPS had previously excluded from the bonus because they didn't have a long-term stay permit. The court ruled that INPS's conduct was "discriminatory" and upheld the appeal by the Italian Association for Judicial Studies on Immigration (ASGI), APN and the Piccini Foundation, which released the news of the ruling.

'Eliminate discriminatory conduct'

 INPS must now revoke its directives and publish an "informative notice" on its website that gives information about the extension of the benefit to all foreign mothers legally residing in the country. Those mothers can apply for the benefit starting at the end of their 7th month of pregnancy, or at the time of birth, adoption, or legal guardianship.

In the ruling, Milan Judge Silvia Ravazzoni said INPS cannot exclude categories of foreigners and the agency must eliminate "discriminatory conduct through extension of the assistance benefit" to all future mothers legally present in Italy who apply and are within the "judicial-factual" parameters of the law. "It is not therefore necessary, as some other judges had done, to refer to EU laws that provide for fair treatment for work permit holders," said the lawyers for the associations that presented the appeal. "In this case it is actually the national institutional law that provides for the benefit with the maximum breadth, even without any income limits".

'INPS must adapt rapidly'

"We now trust that INPS will adapt rapidly to the Court's decision, in order to avoid spreading a dispute that would be burdensome not only for INPS itself, but, above all, unjust for the difference in treatment that it would create in an area this delicate, between those who take action in court and those who rely on the erroneous communications by INPS," said Alberto Guariso, an attorney for the appealing associations. "In the meantime, it's important for all foreign women who are in at least their 7th month of pregnancy by December 31, 2017, to apply to INPS in order to benefit from the Milan ruling that, remember, regards 'collective discrimination' and therefore all foreign women legally staying in Italy, independent of the type of stay permit".


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