Employment in Italy


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Working in Italy  

In Italy, every member of staff employed needs to have an employment contract (“contratto di lavoro”).

The two main kinds are a permanent employment contract (“contratto a tempo indeterminato”) and a temporary fixed term employment contract (“contratto a termine” and “contratto a tempo determinato”).

An employment contract usually describes in detail the specific aspects and expectations of the working relationship between employer and employee. Most of them also usually include job title, salary, responsibilities and duties, entitlement to sick pay and holidays, and applicable probationary and notice periods.

Both kinds of employment contract are governed by the general rules established in the Italian Civil Code.

Permanent employment contract has an indefinite open time period and guarantees the employee higher protection than does any other form of Italian employment contract.

Temporary fixed-term contracts can last up to 36 months, including any extension. Quantitative limits are normally set by national collective agreements (NCAs); alternatively, the law states that the overall number of fixed-term contracts may not exceed the 20% threshold of the work force hired on a permanent basis.

Fixed-term contracts cannot be used to replace workers on strike or to replace employees temporarily laid off or involved in collective dismissals over the previous few months.

A part-time contract must be drawn up in writing and specify the working hours:

(e.g by day, week, month and year). Normally, pay and other entitlements are pro-rated to those for full timers carrying out the same job. An employer can add specific “clausole elastiche” (elastic clauses) or “clausole flessibili” (flexible clauses) to increase working time or vary working hours during the day.

In Italy, there are many national collective agreements and most employers tend to use them.

An individual employment contract also mentions the employee’s “category”, as established by the Italian Civil Code.

In Italy, there are four categories of employee:

“Dirigente” (executive);

“Quadro” (middle manager);

“Impiegato” (white collar employee);

“Operaio” (blue collar employee).

For more information, please check this link: http://www.britishinitaly.com/italian-employment-contracts/

Working time

Some NCAs (national collective agreements) provide for a working week of less than 40 hours. Employees have the right to at least one weekly rest day (usually Sunday).

Exceptional and temporary business activities may require employees to work on weekly rest days or legal holidays. Overtime work refers to the hours worked beyond 40 hours per week with a maximum of 8 hours on a weekly basis and 250 hours on an annual basis. NCAs stipulate specific additional rates for overtime work and additional rest days can be granted instead of extra pay. Executives are not subject to the rules governing working hours for other employees.

Holidays and vacations

According to Italian law, statutory annual vacations amount to 4 weeks. The law states that at least two weeks must be taken in the same year whereas up to two weeks of unused vacation can be postponed but it must then be taken within 18 months following the accrual year.

In addition to the statutory minimum, NCAs usually provide for an additional period of vacation which increases together with seniority and length of service.

On termination of employment, an employee has the right to claim pay for unused vacation.

Sick leave

Each employee has the right to 3 days of sick leave which is paid for by the employer. INPS provides pay benefit replacements from the fourth day of illness until the 180th day. Some particularly generous NCAs require employers to supplement social security payment benefits up to a full 100% of salary. While a worker is ill, his/her contract is considered suspended and the employee’s seniority is guaranteed. Furthermore, an employer cannot dismiss one of his employees before the end of a minimum period established by the specific collective agreement.

Maternity leave

A pregnant female employee has the right to 5 months’ maternity leave, from the second month before the due date until the third month after birth. The last 3 months can be lengthened to 7 months in specific cases while any work considered harmful to the woman is forbidden during pregnancy. INPS provides for pay replacement benefits and during maternity leave employment is suspended and seniority guaranteed.


There is no statutory definition in Italian law of “wages” and “salary”.

Any compensation granted to the employee, within the scope of the employment relationship, including compensation in kind, is considered wages (this does not include a few limited exceptions, such as expenses reimbursement) for income tax and social security purposes.

Italian law does not provide for a statutory minimum wage but in the appropriate NCA minimum wages for each contractual level are normally established for each sector.

A minimum wage is being introduced for those workers not belonging to a NCA but these represent less than 3% of the total workforce.

Furthermore, Italian law does not provide for statutory bonuses but NCAs may include them such as the collective performance bonus (“premio di risultato”) or the individual performance bonus.

Statutory allowances are not provided for by law, but NCAs provide for transportation allowances or indemnities for some working arrangements such as on-call work.

According to Italian law, the pay calendar is 13 and not 12 months! The additional 13th monthly payment (“la tredicesima”) is awarded each year along with the December salary.

Indeed, there are some NCAs which provide for a 14th monthly payment, normally awarded in June.

The payment date and the calculation basis of the contractual items (e.g. notice period, compensation during illness) are also usually stipulated in the NCAs.

It is important to remember that employers are required to fund severance payments for all employees (“Trattamento di Fine Rapporto – TFR”), amounting to 1/13.5 of the annual overall compensation, payable on termination of employment for any reason. After serving for a significant number of years in the same company, the accumulated TFR paid out to the departing employee can represent an important financial cushion at the end of a working career or before finding further employment. In certain circumstances, the employee can request an advance payment of his/her accrued TFR (e.g. for health reasons or to buy a house). From 1 January 2007, every Italian employee, within six months of starting his employment, must inform the employer whether he/she intends to maintain TFR as a cash reserve fund within the company or whether it should instead be paid into an individual supplementary pension fund.

Right to work

if you are the holder of one of these three forms of protection: international, subsidiary and humanitarian protection, you can access to work even employment in the public sector, with the only permissible limit of positions involving the exercise of public authority or responsibility for safeguarding the general interests of the State.

As a beneficiary, you are entitled to the same treatment as Italian citizens in matters of employment, self-employment, subscription to professional bodies, vocational training, including refresher courses, for training in the workplace and for services rendered by employment centres.

You can start to work within 60 days from the moment you have lodged the asylum application. Specifically, when you get the temporary residence permit, after the fill in of the C3 (formalisation of international protection).

In addition, LD 142/2015 states that asylum applicants living in the SPRAR centres may attend vocational training when envisaged in programmes eventually adopted by the public local entities.

The SPRAR has implemented standardised integration programmes. Asylum seekers or beneficiaries of international protection accommodated in the SPRAR system are generally supported in their integration process, by means of individualised projects which include vocational training and internships.

Municipalities can also finance vocational trainings, internships and specific employment bursaries (“borse lavoro”).  This fund is available both to Italians and foreigners, including asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection. The possibility to attend vocational trainings or internships is considerably limited in the case of those asylum seekers accommodated in governmental centres.

Employment services and projects tailored to foreigners may include: start-up (selfemployment) support; educational training and employment guidance; mentoring; providing information about hiring incentives; increasing the access to and availability of credit at the national and regional levels; demand/supply matching; re-employment activities; and specific initiatives at the local level or in the countries of origin. In this respect, the Government-managed website, which aims to inform migrants about their employment opportunities in Italy, mentions that ‘…if you are a foreign national intending to become a self-employed worker or to set-up a business and become an entrepreneur, assistance and support will be available to you through the services provided by the network of employment services, of associations, private agencies and chambers of commerce. These authorities will help you with consulting, guidance, tutoring and training services, facilitating the access to incentives for business creation and to financial resources and microcredit.

For more information, follow this link: http://www.integrazionemigranti.gov.it/Documenti-e-ricerche/Italy-AHR_LMIntegrationOfAsylumSeekers_RefugeesMay2016_Final.pdf

Workers’ Union

There are more trade unionists in Italy than in any other country in the EU. But with half the membership made up of pensioners, overall union density among employees is around a third. There are three main union confederations – CGIL, CISL and UIL – whose divisions were initially based on political differences, although these have become less clear over time.

The three main confederations are all organised in the same way on an industry basis, with separate industry federations for metalworking, the public sector, telecommunications, construction and so on. CGIL is the strongest of the three in manufacturing industry, while the strongholds of both CISL and UIL are the public services, although here too CGIL has a level of support comparable to that for CISL. The importance and independence of the industrial federations varies, but some, in particular FIOM, the metalworking federation in CGIL, play an influential role. For more information, please follow the link:




Further information & links




What is an apprentice contract?

An apprentice contract consists of inserting a minor of 16 years in a Company which will be

obliged to train the youngster for at least 240 hours a year in a profession for which he/she

will be assumed and to obtain the corresponding qualification. For the modalities of assumption\training, it is necessary to go to the Provincial Employment Center personally.

What is the provincial employment center?

It is an office that takes care of the demand and supply of job offers, promotes professional

training and job qualification courses, offers counselling and assistance for curriculum vitae


The curriculum vitae what is it?

It is the descriptive list of your competences, job capabilities, and professional experience

gained along the years. The curriculum serves to expose your competences to the employer before whom you present yourself for employment.

Why register with the provincial registry of workers?

-Registration with the provincial registry of workers carried out by the Provincial

Employment Office is designed to facilitate the search for work in Italy. The registration

contains information about your personal data and your working history. To have access

to the service you provide an identification document (residence permit) and the tax

code, and declare your occupational capabilities and your willingness to perform a job.

What are the advantages of registering with the provincial registry of workers?

Registration at the provincial registry allows you to use the Provincial employment opportunities, its auxiliary services and participate in job vacancy announcements and use of internet. Registration here is mandatory for anyone with a disability and offers the opportunity to participate in training courses, seminars, guidance and group counselling devoted to the explanation of active employment policies.