P E O I T A L Y

Italy Employment & Labour FAQs:
A Guide for Employers and Employees

Italy is one of the largest economies in the European Union. It is known for its rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, and iconic dishes. Italy also has a well-developed and diverse workforce with a wide range of skills and expertise, which has shaped its history and driven its economic development.

Italy's impressive labor market is highly regulated in order to protect the interests of employees. Due to the complexities of the employment and labor laws in Italy, foreign employers and employees tend to have many questions about their rights and responsibilities. This comprehensive brief guide provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about the employment and labor laws in Italy.

As an employer, you'll learn about your legal obligations, the costs associated with hiring and managing employees, and your safety responsibilities in the workspace. And as an employee in Italy, you'll become familiar with your legal rights (including working hours and wages), as well as the various benefits that are available to you.

Without further ado, here's everything you need to know about Italy's employment system:

The employer's burden in Italy is among the highest in Europe, at 40% - 45% of the employee's gross salary.

Employers are obligated to cover a range of expenses, including:
Overtime: 15% surcharge up to 48 hours per week, 20% surcharge from 49 hours
Public holidays or Sundays: 30% surcharge
Night work: 50% surcharge

In Italy, employees are entitled to a minimum of 4 weeks, or 20 days, of paid vacation per year. However, the vacation duration may vary depending on the industry-specific labor contracts or collective bargaining agreements. Also, there are 12 national holidays in Italy that are paid days off for employees.

Salary deductions for sick leave are determined by the length of the employee's absence and the terms of the employment contract. Employees in Italy are entitled to 180 days of paid sick leave per year, thanks to the support of the National Institute for Social Security (INPS). Employees on a permanent or fixed-term contract typically receive their full salary during the first three days of sick leave and for the first two instances of sickness in a year. The third and fourth instances of sickness in the same year result in salary deductions of 34% and 50%, respectively.

Yes, it is mandatory for employees and workers to undergo a medical examination before taking on certain jobs in Italy. Employers are required to ensure the health and safety of their employees in the workplace, especially if the nature of the job requires a lot of physical labor, handling of heavy-duty machinery or equipment, or dealing with hazardous substances. As a result, employers have the right to refuse to hire workers who refuse to submit to a medical examination performed by the company doctor. Specific requirements for medical examinations may differ depending on the sector of employment and the individual circumstances.

Employees in Italy can observe 13 public holidays in 2023:

  • January 1, 2023 - New Year's Day (Capodanno)
  • January 6, 2023 - La Befana (Epifania)
  • April 09, 2023 - Easter (Pasqua)
  • April 10, 2023 - Easter Monday (Pasquetta)
  • April 25, 2023 - Liberation Day (Festa della Liberazione)
  • May 1, 2023 - Labor Day (La Festa del Lavoro)
  • June 2, 2023 - Republic Day (Festa della Repubblica)
  • June 12, 2023 - Feast of Corpus Christi (Festa del Corpus Domini)
  • August 15, 2023 - Assumption Day (Ferragosto)
  • November 1, 2023 - All Saints' Day (Tutti i Santi)
  • December 8, 2023 - Immaculate Conception Day (Immacolata Concezione)
  • December 25, 2023 - Christmas Day (Natale)
  • December 26, 2023 - St. Stephen's Day (Santo Stefano)

In Italy, there are mandatory and supplementary employee benefits. These can vary depending on the industry, company size, and the collective bargaining agreement. Some of the most common mandatory benefits include; paid annual vacation, sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, parental leave, pension plans, health insurance, and insurance for work-related accidents.

Supplementary employee benefits are usually determined and provided based on job levels and sectors. For instance, an executive in the industrial sector may obtain medical insurance for his or her family. They may also be provided with a short-term disability plan, personal accident insurance, or a retirement plan.

There is no mandatory national minimum wage that applies to all workers in Italy. Instead, minimum wages are determined by applicable collective bargaining agreements at the sectoral level, as well as the employment laws. The minimum wage rate may vary depending on the specific industry, location, and level of experience.

It is common for employers in Italy to pay their employees on a monthly basis, typically on the 27th of each month or at the start of the following month. Employers are required to provide their employees with a payslip for record keeping purposes each time a salary is paid.

In Italy, the 13th salary (tredicesima) is a mandatory bonus salary that accrues throughout the year and is paid to employees with any employment contract (whether fixed-term, full-time, or open-ended) in the private and public sectors at the end of each year, usually before the Christmas holidays. Because the 13th salary is based on individual employment contracts, there is no set formula for calculating it. However, it is typically equal to one-twelfth of the employee's annual gross salary (excluding bonuses, overtime, and benefits). It can also be calculated by multiplying the employee's gross monthly salary by the number of months worked and dividing the result by 12.

Working Week - In Italy, the standard working week is 40 hours and is typically spread over five days. Workers in specific industries, however, may have different schedules, such as a six-day work week with shorter daily hours.

Overtime - Overtime work is limited to a total of 48 hours per week.

There are various types of leave in Italy, such as:

  • Paid Time Off / Vacation days - Employees are entitled to at least four weeks of paid annual leave. The length can be extended based on their age, seniority, and other factors.
  • Public Holidays - Each year, Italy has a total of 12 national or public holidays that are considered as paid time off.
  • Sick Days - Employees who are unable to work due to illness or injury have the right to paid sick leave for up to 180 days per year. However, depending on the frequency, salary deductions may be made.
  • Maternity Leave - Female employees in Italy are entitled to a minimum of 5 months of paid maternity leave. Two of those months must be taken prior to childbirth, and the remaining three must be taken afterward.
  • Paternity Leave - Male employees are given 10 days of paid paternity leave which can be taken anytime within five months of the child's birth.
  • Parental Leave - Employees who are parents or legal guardians of children under the age of 12 are entitled to up to 6 months of paid parental leave. This leave can be taken in full or in part, and can be shared by both parents.

The termination process in Italy can be complicated and subject to a variety of requirements and procedures, but some of the most important considerations are as follows:

  • Notice Period
    In Italy, whoever initiates employment termination, whether the employer or employee, is obligated to give a notice. The notice period is typically specified in collective bargaining agreements and is determined by the employee's job position and length of service. Employees with fewer than five years of service may be given a notice period ranging from 15 days to a month. Employees who have been with the company for at least 15 years must be given up to 6 months' notice.
  • Severance Pay
    Employees are entitled to severance pay upon termination of the employment contract. This sum is calculated based on the employee's length of service as well as the employer's financial reserve (7.4% of the employee's annual salary).
  • Probation Period
    Some employers implement a trial or probation period. This typically lasts 3 months, with a maximum of 6 months. During this time, employment contracts may be terminated without any notice or severance pay, whether or not there's a justifiable reason.

Other common employee benefits in Italy, in addition to general employee benefits such as paid time off, sick leave, parental leave, and so on, include:

  • Meal Vouchers - Employees may receive meal vouchers from their employers to help cover some of their feeding expenses. They are distributed as electronic vouchers (non-taxable up to € 8 per working day) or paper vouchers (non-taxable up to € 4 per working day), and are accepted in supermarkets and certain restaurants. The employer may subsidize or fully cover these vouchers.
  • Supplemental health care contributions - Some employers provide full or partial health insurance as well as other healthcare services to their employees, in addition to the standard paid sick leave.
  • Car Allowances - Employees may receive a company car and a fuel card depending on their job sector, job position, and employment contract. Usually, eligible employees can choose between a company car or a car allowance.
  • Wellness Allowance - Some organizations pay for corporate wellness programs that their employees can benefit from. These programs offer a variety of services including therapy, health screenings, fitness plans, and yoga. The primary aim of these programs is to boost productivity in the workplace.
  • VISA - Depending on the state of the labor market in Italy at the time, and the number of authorized work permits, the Italian government occasionally accepts work permit applications (for a few months every one or two years).

Employees may also be eligible for a mobile phone allowance, a transportation allowance, workplace flexibility, supplementary salary, pension funds, and accident insurance which covers permanent disability or death caused by occupational and non-occupational accidents.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, employers in Italy should place a premium on legal compliance, workplace safety, competitive benefits, a positive culture, and employee consultation. Individual collective bargaining agreements or employment contracts must also be drafted in line with Italy's employment and labor laws.

Employees, on the other hand, should be aware of their legal rights to avoid being exploited. They should always act professionally, take advantage of benefits, and communicate effectively with their employers.

At PeoItaly, our mission is to familiarise our clients with these guidelines, so that both employers and employees in Italy can collaborate to create a productive and rewarding work environment. Reach out to us today to discuss how we can help you!

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