Italy Employment & Labour FAQs: A Guide for Employers and Employees
Updated: May 29
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, shaping its history and driving its economic development.
Italy's impressive labor market is highly regulated 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 answers the most frequently asked questions about employment and labor laws in Italy.
As an employer, you'll learn about your legal obligations, the costs of hiring and managing employees, and your workplace safety responsibilities. And as an employee in Italy, you'll become familiar with your legal rights (including working hours and wages) and the various benefits available.
Without further ado, here's everything you need to know about Italy's employment system:
What are the employer’s costs in Italy?
The employer's burden in Italy is among the highest in Europe, at 37% - 45% of the employee’s gross salary.
Employers are obligated to cover a range of expenses, including Overtime: It is increased by a % indicated by the individual CBAs of reference and according to the contractual working hours. However, overtime hours cannot exceed 48 hours per week and 250 hours per year.
Public holidays or Sundays: 30% surcharge (e.g., CBA of Commerce)
Night work: 50% surcharge (e.g., CBA of Commerce).
What is the minimum annual vacation in Italy?
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, 13 national holidays in Italy are paid days off for employees plus the local Patron Saint feast day.
In case of a SICK LEAVE, what are the salary deductions, if any?
Salary deductions for sick leave are determined by the length of the employee's absence and the employment contract terms. 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 (e.g., CBA of Commerce).
Is it mandatory for employees and workers to undergo a medical examination in Italy?
Yes, employees and workers must undergo a medical examination before taking on specific jobs in Italy. Employers are required to ensure the health and safety of their employees in the workplace, especially if the job requires a lot of physical labor, handling 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 employment sector and individual circumstances. Particular attention is paid to the so-called protected categories (civil disabled).
What public holidays are available to Italian employees in 2023?
Employees in Italy can observe 13 public holidays in 2023 plus the local Patron Saint feast day.
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)
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)
Patron Saint: the day varies according to the workplace location (e.g., Milan: 7 December - Sant'Ambrogio).
What are employee BENEFITS in Italy?
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, a worker can activate a supplementary pension fund to the compulsory one and take advantage of the supplementary health care funds of the reference CBA.
What is the Minimum Wage in Italy?
No mandatory national minimum wage applies to all workers in Italy. Instead, minimum wages are determined by applicable collective bargaining agreements at the sectoral level and employment laws. The minimum wage rate may vary depending on the industry, location, and experience level.
What is the Payroll Cycle in Italy?
It is standard for employers in Italy to pay their employees monthly, typically in the first 10 days of the month following the paid month. Still, it is also possible to get paid on the 27th of the same paid month (staggered calendar).
Employers must provide employees with a payslip for record-keeping purposes each time a salary is paid. The employee must provide the IBAN in their name/joint name to receive the remuneration.
What is the 13th Salary in Italy?
In Italy, the 13th salary (tredicesima) is a mandatory additional 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 typically equals one-twelfth of the employee's annual gross salary (excluding bonuses, overtime, benefits, and any pay that is not recurring on a regular basis).
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.
What are the Working Hours in Italy?
Working Week - In Italy, the standard working week is 40 hours, typically over five days. Workers in specific industries, however, may have different schedules, such as a six-day workweek with shorter daily hours. There are regular working hours with split working hours in which a lunch break is foreseen and other times defined as "shifts" in which 7 to 8 continuous hours are carried out (in this case, the lunch break is included in the salary).
The 11 hours of rest must be respected between one shift and the next.
Overtime - Overtime work is limited to 48 hours per week.
What is the Leave system like in Italy?
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 age, seniority, and other factors.
Each year, Italy has 13 national or public holidays + il Santo Patrono, considered paid time off.
Employees who cannot 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.
Female employees in Italy are entitled to at least 5 months of paid maternity leave. Two months must be taken before childbirth, and the remaining three must be taken afterward. Cash maternity allowance equals 80% of the employee's salary. This is payable for 5 months. The employers are to prolong the leave in case of premature delivery or the case of prolonged hospital stay. In the case of guardianship or adoption, the 5 months commence from the date the adopted child formally enters the family.
In case of miscarriage beyond the third month of pregnancy, the allowance is paid for a period of 30 days. Miscarriage after the 180th day is, however, considered for all intents and purposes as 'birth'.
During the first year of the child's life, the working mother is entitled to 2 (two) rest periods (so-called breastfeeding permits): there is only one rest, lasting 1 hour when the working day is less than 6 (six) hours. In some specific cases, these rest periods may be due to the father instead of the mother.
Male employees are given 10 days of paid paternity leave which can be taken anytime within five months of the child's birth. These days are paid 100% by INPS but advanced by the employer through the monthly paycheck. The working father has the right to optional paternity leave lasting 1 (one) day by agreement with the mother and in her replacement in relation to the period of maternity leave due to her.
Employees who are parents or legal guardians of children under 12 are entitled to up to 9 months of paid parental leave. This leave can be compensated for a maximum of 9 months, taken in whole or in part, and shared by both parents. This leave is paid at 30% by INPS but is anticipated by the employer through the monthly pay slip. The recent legislation provides the possibility of taking advantage of an additional month of parental leave, up to the child's 6 years of life, which will be paid at 80% by INPS but always 100% anticipated by the employer through the envelope monthly pay.
Employees not on probation may take 15 calendar days of marriage leave to enter into a marriage (or civil union) following the presentation of suitable documentation.
Leave for Disability
Employees are entitled to 3 days of paid leave per month to assist a disabled person in a serious situation: either as spouse (or part of a civil union), de facto cohabitant, relative, or similar within the second degree (or under certain conditions even within the third degree).).
Dependent family members of a seriously disabled person are entitled to benefit, under certain conditions, from extraordinary leave for a maximum duration of 2 years over the entire working life of the applicant.
Paid leaves for death and serious illness
Workers are entitled to 3 days of paid leave per year in case of their spouse's death or documented severe illness (or part of a civil union), even if legally separated, or of a relative within the second degree.
Abstention from blood donor work
Blood and blood component donors have the right to abstain from work for the entire day they donate upon presentation of suitable documentation certifying the donation.
What are the reasons for employee dismissal in Italy?
An employer may dismiss an employee for one of three reasons.
This type of dismissal occurs when the employment relationship ceases to continue because of a material breach of contract or deterioration of relationships between the parties.
Justified Subjective Reason:
This type of dismissal occurs in case of a material breach of contract. It is less serious than the justified cause.
Justified Objective Reason:
This type of dismissal occurs when the company is either closing down, is being restructured, is downsized, or there’s no longer a need for the employee's position.
What is the employee dismissal or termination process like in Italy?
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:
In Italy, whoever initiates employment termination, whether the employer or employee, is obligated to give 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 with the company for at least 15 years must be given up to 6 months' notice.
Severance Pay - TFR
Employees are entitled to a liquidation upon the termination of the employment contract, which is calculated by adding up all the provisions - equal to the gross annual salary (GAS) divided by 13.5 - and then subtracting a % of withholding for the Pension Adjustment Fund.
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 notice or severance pay, whether there's a justifiable reason.
What are common employee benefits in Italy?
Other common employee benefits in Italy, in addition to public employee benefits such as paid time off, sick leave, parental leave, and so on, include:
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). They 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 and other healthcare services to their employees in addition to the standard paid sick leave.
Employees may receive a company car and a fuel card depending on their job sector, position, and employment contract. Usually, eligible employees can choose between a company car or a car allowance.
Some organizations pay for corporate wellness programs from which their employees can benefit. These programs offer various services, including therapy, health screenings, fitness plans, and yoga. The primary aim of these programs is to boost productivity in the workplace.
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).
Welfare plan (regulated according to company/union agreements):
Employee welfare plans can be customized, including vouchers for purchasing books, health care expenses, pensions, travel, etc.
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.
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.
On the other hand, employees should be aware of their legal rights to avoid exploitation. 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!
This guide will be updated regularly and, above all, with each regulatory change.