Italy is to become the first European country to make a vaccine passport system compulsory for all workers.
Proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from infection must be provided or staff will be suspended without pay and face a fine.
However, they cannot be sacked.
The law set to apply to both public and private employees from 15 October after the Italian government approved the measures on Thursday.
“Nothing like this has been done in Europe… we are putting ourselves in the forefront internationally,” said public administration minister Renato Brunetta.
It’s hoped the move will lead to more people getting vaccinated and the minister said the government expected an “enormous” jump in people getting jabbed.
Some European Union countries have made it mandatory for health workers to get vaccinated, but none have made its so-called Green Pass a requirement for all employees.
It was originally intended to ease European travel, but Italy was one of a few countries that made it a requirement for entering venues such as indoor dining, gyms and museums.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi faced resistance from right-wing leader Matteo Salvini on extending the reach of the country’s COVID pass.
However, Mr Salvini’s party is split on the issue and the cabinet unanimously approved the change.
The main employers’ federations have also backed the move in the hope it will prevent any more lockdowns.
Unions said tests should be free for workers who don’t want to be vaccinated, but the government said they would be capped at 15 euros.
Italy’s COVID-19 death toll is the highest in Europe after the UK, with more than 130,000 deaths, and it was the first country on the continent to go into lockdown.
About 74% of people have had one vaccine dose and 68% are fully vaccinated.
In the UK, the government rowed back on plans to bring in a vaccine certificate system for access to large and crowded venues such as nightclubs, but has kept the option on the table as part of its “Plan B” for winter.
Care home workers will also need to be fully vaccinated by 11 November in order to be employed, while Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said the requirement is “highly likely” to be extended to all frontline NHS staff.
On Thursday, the French government said about 3,000 workers in hospitals, care homes and health centres have been suspended for failing to comply with mandatory COVID vaccination.
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