Living and working in Italy

18 October 2017

  •   Population: 60.5 million (2017)
  •   Real GDP growth: 0.9% (2016)
  •   Unemployment rate: 11.7% (2016)

Data source: Eurostat

Eurofound provides research, data and analysis on a wide range of social and work-related topics. This information is largely comparative, but also offers country-specific information for each of the 28 EU Member States. Most information is available in English but some has been translated to facilitate access at national level.

Eurofound strives to strengthen the ongoing link between its own work and national policy debates and priorities related to quality of life and work. Increasingly important in this context is the Europe 2020 growth and jobs strategy launched in 2010, which has five headline targets, covering employment through to social inclusion and poverty reduction. The strategy is implemented in the context of the European Semester process – the EU's annual cycle of economic policy guidance and surveillance – which ensures that Member States keep their budgetary and economic policies in line with their EU commitments through, in part, National Reform Programmes. These programmes form the basis for the European Commission's proposals for country-specific recommendations (CSRs) for each Member State.

European Commission: The European Semester
European Commission: The European Semester - EU country-specific recommendations
European Commission: European Semester documents for Italy

 

2015 Eurofound EWCS survey results in Italy: 87% of people think their safety is not at risk because of their work

Survey results

Satisfaction with quality of life
Data source: 2012 EQLS survey

Ability to choose or change
methods of work

Data source: 2015 EWCS survey

Possibility to accumulate overtime
for days off

Data source: 2013 ECS survey

News and quarterly country updates

Eurofound contacts in Italy

Correspondents in Italy

Correspondents report on topics related to developments in the countries working life and inform Eurofound’s pan-European comparative analysis. Read more

Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini (FGB)

Eurofound governing board members from Italy

Eurofound's Governing Board represents the social partners and national governments of all Member States, as well as the European Commission. Read more

Aviana Bulgarelli National Institute for the Analysis of Public Policies

Stefania Rossi General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria)

Rossella Benedetti Italian Labour Union - UIL

Related content

Other country-specific information may be available in certain areas on demand. Please feel free to contact your country contact at Eurofound for this or any other information at information@eurofound.europa.eu

Working life in Italy

About

  • Author: Michele Faioli and Anna Arca Sedda
  • Institution: Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini

This profile describes the key characteristics of working life in Italy. It aims to complement other EurWORK research, by providing the relevant background information on structures, institutions and relevant regulations regarding working life. This includes indicators, data and regulatory systems on the following aspects: actors and institutions, collective and individual employment relations, health and well-being, pay, working time, skills and training, and equality and non-discrimination at work. The profiles are updated annually.

Key figures

Key figures

Comparative figures on working life in Italy

 

2011

2016

% (point) change
2011–2016

Italy

EU28

Italy

EU28

Italy

EU28

GDP per capita

26900

25800

25900

26900

-3.7%

4.3%

Unemployment rate – total

8.4

9.7

11.7

8.5

3.3

-1.2

Unemployment rate – women

9.5

9.8

12.8

8.7

3.3

-1.1

Unemployment rate – men

7.5

9.6

10.9

8.4

3.4

-1.2

Unemployment rate – youth

29.2.

21.7

37.8

18.7

8.6

-3.0

Employment rate – total

62.1

71.1

64.9

73.0

2.8

1.9

Employment rate – women

51.4

64.8

55.2

67.4

3.8

2.6

Employment rate – men

72.8

77.5

74.8

78.6

2.0

1.1

Employment rate – youth

27.1

42.5

26.6

41.6

-0.5

-0.9

Source: Eurostat - Real GDP per capita (chain linked volumes [2010], in EUR) and percentage change 2011-2016 (both based on tsdec100). Unemployment rate by sex and age - annual average, % [une_rt_a]; Employment rate by sex and age - annual average, % [lfsi_emp_a].

Background

Background

Economic and labour market context

Between 2011 and 2016, Italian GDP saw some decrease (-3.7%), in contrast with the EU average increase for the same period (4.3%). Unemployment rates continued to increase for all categories, in particular youth unemployment, which rose by 8.6 percentage points to reach 37.8% in 2016, when the EU average for that year was 18.7%. Employment rates increased in the five years considered. Female employment increased 3.8 percentage points, more than the EU average (2.6 percentage points), while the male rate increased to a lesser extent (2.0 percentage point). Youth employment decreased slightly (-0.5 percentage points), reaching to 26.6% in 2016, well below the EU average for that year (41.6%). 

More information on:

Legal context

Relationships between employers and employees are regulated in considerable detail by Italian law and – where applicable – by the relevant National Collective Bargaining Agreement (NCBA), which leaves only a few matters to be settled by individual negotiations and agreements. One of the most significant laws governing labour relationships is Act no. 300/1970 (hereinafter ‘Workers’ Statute’), whose purpose is to safeguard workers’ freedom and dignity. The Workers’ Statute seeks to achieve this aim through detailed regulations and the promotion of in-shop union activities and hiring/dismissal techniques. To secure quick judicial enforcement of workers’ rights, simplified special procedures were introduced to the Italian Civil Procedure Code by Law no. 533/1973; nevertheless, the existing case backlog in courts is considerable. In 2014–2015, the labour law reform called ‘Jobs Act’ introduced some relevant changes to labour law legislation.

Following the adoption of the Jobs Act, the government enacted four legislative decrees. More specifically: Act no. 23/2015 (Jobs Act – dismissal regime, hereinafter ‘JAEC’), Act no. 22/2015 (Jobs Act – unemployment schemes in case of termination, hereinafter ‘JAUE’), Act no. 81/2015 (Jobs Act – Labour Contracts Code, hereinafter ‘JACode’), Act no. 80/2015 (Jobs Act – work–life balance, hereinafter ‘JABalance’); Act no. 148/2015 (Jobs Act – Unemployment scheme for temporary crisis, hereinafter ‘JATC’); Act no. 149/2015 (Jobs Act – labour inspection, hereinafter ‘JALI’); Act no. 150/2015 (Jobs Act – Labour market reform, hereinafter ‘JALM’) and Act. no. 151/2015 (Jobs Act – simplification, hereinafter ‘JAS’).

It is the government’s intention that the Jobs Act affect dismissal procedures, the system of unemployment schemes (including those to be activated in the case of temporary crisis), and the governance and functioning of active and passive labour market policies (ALMPs and PLMPs). It also envisages interventions to reduce the administrative burden on firms and to promote work–life reconciliation.

Conclusively, on 10 June 2016, the Council of Ministers adopted a decree aimed at modifying the acts implementing the Jobs Act. In relation to JACode, the newly adopted remedial act sets forth full traceability of job vouchers.

The revised text of JATC envisages the shift from so-called ‘job-security agreements’ (solidarity contracts aimed at maintaining employment levels in case of business crisis, and at avoiding staff reduction) to so-called ‘job-creation agreements’ (solidarity contracts aimed at reducing working time and pay with a view to creating new jobs). Furthermore, the revised version of the act at hand sets out that reduced social security contributions (as per Article 6, paragraph 4 of Act no. 510/1996) can be applied to the contracts entered into no later than 31 July 2015 and concerning businesses that are deemed to be of significant strategic interest for the Italian economy.

As to JALI, the modification concerns the change of the name of the Institute for the Development of Vocational Training of Workers (ISFOL) to ‘National Institute for Public Policy Analysis’ (INAPP).

The revised version of JAS introduced significant changes to labour legislation applying to people with disabilities. It moreover amended Article 4 of the Workers’ Statute, which deals with remote monitoring. Finally, the revised version set out that the new legislation on job tasks shall not be applied to public-sector employment relationships.

Industrial relations context

The Italian industrial relations framework has undergone numerous changes in recent years, moving towards an increasingly important role for decentralised bargaining and a closer link between wages and productivity. These developments, supported and incentivised by the government, have often torn unions apart, with the Italian General Confederation of Work (CGIL) pointing to the risk of deconstruction of collectively agreed rules.

The whole industrial relations system appears to be in search of a new structure – more focused on strengthening decentralised-level agreements – that better suits company/territorial issues. At the moment, national-level agreements remain the main source of regulation. Recently, new paritarian institutions have been created with the aim of better supporting both workers and employers when production levels decrease and working activity must be suspended or reduced (totally in some cases). Bilateral institutions, too, try to support critical situations by enhancing workers’ skills and long-term training. In 2014, the General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria) and the three most representative national union confederations signed a new cross-sectoral agreement (the 2014 Industrial Relations System Agreement – Testo Unico sulla Rappresentanza, PDF (TU 2014), which governs social partners’ representativeness, collective bargaining procedures, and the effectiveness of national/decentralised collective agreements. Even though TU 2014 is not applicable to SMEs, it may trigger, in coming years, several changes within the evolving Italian industrial relations system. With regard to the development of industrial relations in 2015, it is worth noting that an agreement was signed by social partners – CGIL, the Italian Confederation of Workers’ Unions (CISL), the Union of Italian Workers (UIL), and Confindustria – and the National Institute of Social Security (INPS) concerning union representativeness. As stated in TU 2014, the agreement sets out technical criteria for INPS to assess each union’s membership.

On 23 November 2016, three employers’ associations – Confartigianato Imprese, the Autonomous Confederation of Craft Unions (Casartigiani), and the Confederation of Italian Associations of Craft Businesses (CLAAI) – signed a new framework agreement jointly with CGIL, CISL, and UIL. This framework agreement contains a set of guidelines for the reform of contractual patterns, as well as new rules on representativeness. As to this latter issue, the agreement meets the need for a well-defined industrial relations system. Three mechanisms have been identified to assess representativeness:

  • number of members of workers’ unions;
  • presence and size of Works Councils (Rappresentanze sindacali unitarie, RSU) within businesses staffed with more than 15 employees;
  • benefits provided through paritarian funds.

After the presentation of a joint proposal from CGIL, CISL, and UIL on a new set of rules governing industrial relations, consultations began between the abovementioned unions and employers’ organisations.

The unions’ proposal addresses three main elements that are currently receiving a great deal of political and social attention – namely, workers’ participation in corporate decision-making; the consolidation of rules determining representativeness of unions; and the extension of collective bargaining coverage to self-employed workers.

The proposal was welcomed by employers’ organisations representing professional services, craft businesses, and small companies, although some divergences emerged concerning the role of decentralised bargaining. In this regard, it is to be noted that Confindustria, the main employers’ organisation representing undertakings in the industry sector, refused to discuss the unions’ proposal, deeming it not in line with its own aim of linking wages with productivity performance at company level.

The year 2016 was characterised by a long series of meetings involving social partners and the government. Trade union law keeps being affected by a reform process triggered by employers’ and workers’ organisations, aimed at ensuring union representation and representativeness, as well as at defining the scope of applicability of national, territorial, or firm-level bargaining agreements.

Employers’ organisations, trade unions, and the government have all open-mindedly and proactively worked towards renewing bargaining agreements. In recent months, the parties concerned have shifted from informal discussions to the implementation phase. This change is apparent from the high number of agreements and protocols concluded between the parties, including: the renewal of public-sector employment contracts; consensus achieved on the need to reform the pension system; and the joint actions that have led to the approval of Act no. 199/2016, a law aimed at combating undeclared work and gang-mastering.

Actors and institutions

Actors and institutions

Trade unions, employers’ organisations and public institutions play a key role in the governance of the employment relationship, working conditions and industrial relations structures. They are interlocking parts in a multilevel system of governance that includes the European, national, sectoral, regional (provincial or local) and company levels. This section looks into the main actors and institutions and their role in Italy.

Public authorities involved in regulating working life

Public authorities are not so much involved in social dialogue at national level, but the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies and local authorities are often required to facilitate social dialogue at company level in case of company crisis (that is, collective agreements signed in the case of collective dismissals or related to workers’ income support measures). In some rare and particular cases (that is, leading businesses or partly state-owned companies), the government itself tries to foster, mediate, and support social dialogue. The year 2015 was undoubtedly fraught with reforms, many of which involved both the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (which provide for financial resources to sustain new labour provisions).

It can be noted that JALM formally established, as of 1 January 2016, the National Agency for Active Labour Market Policies (ANPAL). ANPAL is supposed to perform a range of tasks: coordination of the network of services for labour policies; monitoring and evaluation; definition of service standards for employment services; definition of profiling methodologies; and management of the network of vocational education and training (VET) providers and of the organisations that will be involved in implementing ALMPs. Moreover, ANPAL will coordinate programmes, also funded through EU resources, aimed at promoting employability.

Generally speaking, social dialogue is totally in the hands of workers and employers, and it entails little or no activity by the authorities. Although Article 39 of the Italian Constitution defines the role to be played by authorities in the recognition of industrial relations activities (through the registration of trade unions provided that their statutes establish their internal organisation on a democratic basis), this has never been applied; decisions on this matter are instead made through social dialogue. As regards the enforcement of workers’ rights, although collective agreements often establish mediation bodies, workers and employers end up litigating before labour courts.

Representativeness

Criteria to define social partners’ representativeness have been modified several times over the years. The first and only provision, until 1970, was contained in Article 39 of the Italian Constitution, which sets forth a single criterion based on the number of associates. Pursuant to the Workers’ Statute, trade unions meeting the requirement set out in Article 19 are defined as ‘most representative’. These unions can form Company Works Councils (Rappresentanze sindacali aziendali, RSA), which consist of union delegates in companies with more than 15 employees, in the industry or trade sector. Article 19 of the Workers’ Statute does not contain any provision clearly identifying the ‘most representative’ trade unions; the definition was therefore left to labour courts.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed on 3 July 1993 (Protocollo d’Intesa, PI 1993, in Italian, 95 KB DOC), which was entered into by social partners and the government, set out that RSU can be set up by workers by means of elections and in lieu of RSA.

On 14 January 2014, Confindustria, CGIL, CISL, and UIL signed a new cross-sectoral agreement (TU 2014) whereby new rules on representativeness were established. In particular, according to TU 2014, in order to participate in national collective bargaining, trade unions must reach a representativeness threshold of 5% measured on the basis of the percentage of union members and of the votes obtained by the same unions in RSU elections. NCBAs are binding if signed by trade unions reaching a representativeness level of 50% +1 and if approved by the majority of workers through a referendum.

Moreover, TU 2014 states that firm-level agreements are binding if signed by the majority of RSU members or by the RSA receiving the majority of proxies from employees.

More information on representativeness of the main social partner organisations can be found in Eurofound’s representativeness study of the cross-industry social partners or in Eurofound’s sectoral representativeness studies.

Trade unions

About trade union representation

Employees enjoy the constitutionally enshrined right to organise unions and to strike. Labour unions are usually set up on an industry or trade-wide basis, with the various local unions forming a national body. NCBAs are implemented by employers’ associations and unions, and are legally binding only upon employers and employees either belonging to the organisations that have signed them, or that have chosen to adopt them. A de facto extension of such collective bargaining is set out by labour courts. If the company is staffed with more than 15 employees, they have the right to organise RSA or RSU. Either type of council can exercise the right to be informed and consulted mainly in the following cases: collective dismissal, business transfer, in case the company intends to install work or personal control devices directly involving employees, or in any other case provided for by the relevant NCBA. Article 39 of the Italian Constitution states that ‘trade unions may be freely established’ without restrictions or limitations. This, jointly with Article 18 of the Italian Constitution (‘Citizens have the right to form associations freely […] for those ends that are not forbidden by criminal law’) confers upon workers wide freedom of union association. The trend shows a progressive shift in terms of strength and importance from national-level union activity to the decentralised level, in which special provisions are set for employers and employees.

Trade union membership and trade union density

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

 

Source

Trade union density in terms of active employees

35.5

35.7

36.3

36.9

n.a.

n.a.

OECD/Visser (2014), based on administrative data on member released by the three main union confederations.

Trade union membership in 1000s

100.9

102.1

103.5

102.7

n.a

n.a

OECD/Visser (2014), based on Istat, Migration and calculation of yearly resident population (2011-2013), Intercensual register population estimates (2010).

Main trade union confederations and federations*

Long name

Abbreviation

Members

Involved in collective bargaining

Italian General Confederation of Work (Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro)

CGIL

5,539,472 (2015)

Yes

Italian Confederation of Workers’ Unions (Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori)

CISL

4,298,710 (2015)

Yes

Union of Italian Workers (Unione Italiana del Lavoro)

UIL

2,249,727 (2016)

Yes

Italian Pensioners’ Union (Sindacato Pensionati Italiani)

SPI-CGIL

2,938,956 (2015)

No

Italian Federation of Workers in the Trade, Tourism, and Service Sectors (Federazione Italiana Lavoratori Commercio, Turismo e Servizi)

FILCAMS-CGIL

469,334 (2015)

Yes

CGIL Public Employment Union (CGIL Funzione Pubblica)

FP-CGIL

385,603 (2015)

Yes

National Pensioners’ Federation (Federazione Nazionale Pensionati)

FNP-CISL

1,894,311 2015

No

Italian Federation of Trade Unions of Workers in the Tourism, Trade Service, and Related Sectors (Federazione Italiana Sindacati Addetti Servizi Commerciali, Affini e del Turismo)

FISASCAT-CISL

336,563 2015

Yes

CISL Public Employment Union (CISL Funzione Pubblica)

CISL FP

309,156 2015

Yes

Italian Union of Retired Workers (Unione Italiana Lavoratori Pensionati)

UILP

583,3992015

No

Italian Union of Agrifood Occupations (Unione Italiana dei Lavori Agroalimentari)

UILA

225,472 2015

Yes

UIL Federation of Local Authorities (UIL Federazione Poteri Locali)

UILFPL

2015204,964

Yes

* Please note that data on trade union membership are not official or formally certified, as they are not validated by independent authorities. Data are released directly by trade unions or by their research centres.

The most representative trade union confederations, in terms of members and, therefore, functions and activities, are CGIL, CISL, and UIL. In the past years, trade unions intensified cooperation, in particular at cross-sectoral level, with a view to tackling problems related to the economic crisis.

Employers’ organisations

About employers’ representation

No obligations are incurred when joining an employers’ association except for the obligation to apply the specified NCBA. These organisations will sit with other social partners to negotiate or renew the relevant NCBA. In recent years, employers’ associations have complemented their traditional ‘interest representation’ role with two other functions:

  • the provision of services in support of their members’ business activities and development;
  • in the framework of political economy governance, the promotion of forms of dialogue with political institutions on tax issues, strategic investments, European reforms, etc.

A further factor is the thriving of interorganisational innovations, particularly in the field of SME associations (paritarian institutions providing their members with welfare and services).

Employers’ organisations – membership and density

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

Source

Employers’ organisation density in terms of active employees

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

-

Employers’ organisation density in private sector establishments*

n.a.

51%

n.a.

n.a.

European Company Survey 2013

Percentage of employees working in an is member of an employer organisation involved in collective bargaining.

Main employers’ organisations

The main employers’ associations are:

  • Confindustria;
  • Italian Banking Association (ABI) – banking sector;
  • National Confederation of Craftsmanship and SMEs (CNA);
  • Confartigianato Imprese;
  • Italian Confederation of Businesses in the Trade, Tourism, and Service Sectors (Confesercenti);
  • Italian General Confederation of Companies, Professional Activities, and Self-employment (Confcommercio);
  • Italian Confederation of SMEs (Confapi);
  • Legacoop, Confcooperative, and AGCI (cooperative sector).

Main employers’ organisations and confederations*

Long name

Abbreviation

Members

Year

Involved in collective bargaining

Confartigianato Imprese

700,000

2015

Yes

Italian General Confederation of Companies, Professional Activities, and Self-employment (Confederazione Generale Italiana delle Imprese, delle Attività Professionali e del Lavoro Autonomo)

Confcommercio

700,000

2015

Yes

National Confederation of Craftsmanship and SMEs (Confederazione Nazionale dell’Artigianato e della Piccola e Media Impresa)

CNA

643,439

2015

Yes

Italian Confederation of Businesses in the Trade, Tourism, and Service Sectors (Confederazione Italiana Esercenti Attività Commerciali, Turistiche e dei Servizi)

Confesercenti

350,000

2015

Yes

Autonomous Confederation of Craft Unions (Confederazione Italiana Esercenti Attività Commerciali, Turistiche e dei Servizi)

Casartigiani

200,000

2015

Yes

General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confederazione Generale dell’Industria Italiana)

Confindustria

150,428

2015

Yes

Italian Banking Association (Associazione Bancaria Italiana)

ABI

703

2017

Yes

Italian Confederation of SMEs (Confederazione Italiana della Piccola e Media Industria Privata)

Confapi

83,000

2016

Yes

Confederation of Italian Cooperatives (Confederazione Cooperative Italiane)

Confcooperative

18,766

2015

Yes

National Association of Cooperatives and Benefit Societies (Lega Nazionale delle Cooperative e Mutue)

Legacoop

11,661

2015

Yes

General Associations of Italian Cooperatives (Associazione Generale Cooperative Italiane)

AGCI

7,298

2015

Yes

* Please note that data on employers’ organisation membership are not official or formally certified, as they are not validated by independent authorities. Data are released directly by employers’ organisations or by their research centres.

Tripartite and bipartite bodies and concertation

At institutional level, the National Council for Economics and Labour (Consiglio Nazionale dell’Economia e del Lavoro, CNEL) is a tripartite body set up in the Italian Constitution (Art. No. 99).

CNEL is managed by 64 board members, nominated every five years. Specifically, 10 members are appointed directly by the President of the Republic: two being proposed by the President of the Council of Ministries, while the others are nominated by the President of the Republic following a consultation procedure where social partners and non-governmental organisations propose board members within the respective quotas.

Pursuant to the proposed constitutional reform proposed by the Renzi Government, CNEL should have been abolished. However, following a referendum held in December 2016, the reform was rejected.

Despite CNEL not actually representing the forum for concertation and tripartite social dialogue, it has the right to initiate legislation and it carries out many important functions such as drafting reports, opinions and surveys upon request of Parliament, Government or Regions on draft acts or on relevant issues concerning economic and social policies. Furthermore, CNEL manages, implements, and updates the National Archives of bargaining agreements.

Paritarian institutions are set up jointly by employers and trade unions with the aim of providing their members with welfare and services. These institutions have become increasingly important in recent years. There are several types of paritarian institutions, and they can be established by employers’ associations and trade unions at cross-sectoral or sectoral level. They are managed jointly by social partners, and have an internal organisational structure consisting of an assembly, an executive board, a president, an executive director, and a monitoring committee. These administrative bodies are usually appointed by social partners every three or four years. Paritarian institutions deal with several issues, such as wages, skills, training, working time, and unemployment scheme benefits. They can be classified into institutional funds and non-institutional funds.

Paritarian institutions can be considered as institutional funds inasmuch as the law sets out specific goals for collective bargaining to be pursued through funds, or alternatively specific schemes to be implemented through them; this category includes pension funds, private healthcare funds, unemployment funds, and vocational training funds. Non-institutional funds are those that pursue goals or implement schemes that are self-regulated by collective bargaining. In particular, pursuant to Act no. 92/2012, social partners have recently established new bilateral bodies to provide income support to workers in sectors not covered by public income support schemes (i.e. solidarity funds).

Moreover, following the latest labour reform, the relationship between the central and the regional/local level will be governed by ad hoc agreements. The operational branch of ANPAL will be made up of public employment services (PES) tasked with promoting training and work experience, providing job-seekers with basic and specialised guidance, as well as with support in job searches. Jobless people will be profiled through an online tool, and will sign a personalised service agreement (contratto di servizio) with PES.

Main tripartite and bipartite bodies

Name

Type

Level

Issues covered

National Council for Economic Affairs and Labour (Consiglio Nazionale Economia e Lavoro, CNEL)

Tripartite

National

Research, consulting activities to government, Regions, production of periodic reports, studies and surveys on labour market or collective bargaining; monitoring of NCBAs.

Fondimpresa

Bipartite (vocational training fund)

National (private companies)

Training

National Cross-industry Paritarian Fund for Continuous Training within Cooperatives (Fondo Paritetico Interprofessionale Nazionale per la Formazione Continua nelle Imprese Cooperative, Fon.Coop)

Bipartite (vocational training fund)

National (cooperatives)

Training

National Bilateral Institution for the Craft Sector (Ente Bilaterale Nazionale Artigianato, EBNA)

Bipartite (non-institutional fund)

Sectoral (craft sector)

Research, coordination, and monitoring of local bilateral bodies in the craft sector that are active in the fields of training, income support, welfare provision, and safety at work.

National Bilateral Institution for the Agricultural Sector (Ente Bilaterale Agricolo Nazionale, EBAN)

Bipartite (non-institutional fund)

Sectoral (agriculture)

Training, research, welfare provision, and safety at work

National Paritarian Commission for Social Security Funds in the Construction Sector (Commissione Nazionale Paritetica per le Casse Edili, CNCE)

Bipartite (non-institutional fund)

Sectoral (construction sector)

Administrative support to companies, and coordination and monitoring of activities of local bilateral bodies in the construction sector that are active in the fields of income support and welfare provision.

National Institution for Vocational Education and Training in the Construction Sector (Ente Nazionale per la Formazione e L’addestramento Professionale Nell’edilizia, Formedil)

Bipartite (non-institutional fund)

Sectoral (construction sector)

Training

National Bilateral Institution for the Tertiary Sector (Ente Bilaterale Nazionale per il Terziario, EBN.TER)

Bipartite (non-institutional fund)

Sectoral (service sector)

Training, research, welfare provision, and labour market intermediation

Bilateral Institution for the Development of Training Targeted at Managers in the Tertiary, Distribution, and Service Sectors (Istituto Bilaterale per lo Sviluppo della Formazione dei Quadri del Terziario, Distribuzione e Servizi, Quadrifor)

Bipartite (non-institutional fund)

Sectoral (service sector)

Training and research

National Bilateral Institution of the Tourism Sector (Ente Bilaterale Nazionale del settore Turismo, EBN)

Bipartite (non-institutional fund)

Sectoral (tourism sector)

Training, research, welfare provision, labour market intermediation, and coordination and monitoring of local bilateral bodies active in the same fields

Bilateral Institution for Temporary Work (Ente bilaterale per il lavoro temporaneo, Ebitemp)

Bipartite (non-institutional fund)

Sectoral (temporary agency work sector)

Training, research, welfare provision, and safety at work

Solidarity Fund to Support Employability, Employment, and Income of Staff of Credit Unions (Fondo di Solidarietà per il Sostegno dell’ Occupabilità, dell’Occupazione e del Reddito del Personale del Credito Cooperativo)

Bipartite (solidarity fund)

Sectoral (banking and insurance sector)

Income support and training

Fondirigenti

Bipartite (vocational training fund)

Occupational (managers)

Training

Training Fund for the Craft Sector (Fondo Artigianato Formazione, Fondartigianato)

Bipartite (vocational training fund)

Sectoral (craft sector)

Training

National Cross-industry Paritarian Fund for Continuous Training in the Tertiary Sector (Fondo Paritetico Interprofessionale Nazionale per la Formazione Continua del Terziario, FonTer)

Bipartite (vocational training fund)

Sectoral (service sector)

Training

Fund of the Banking and Insurance Sectors (Fondo Banche Assicurazioni, FBA)

Bipartite (vocational training fund)

Sectoral (banking and insurance sector)

Training

National Cross-industry Paritarian Fund for Continuous Training in the Tertiary Sector (Fondo Paritetico Interprofessionale Nazionale per la Formazione Continua del Terziario, For.Te.)

Bipartite (vocational training fund)

Sectoral (service sector)

Training

National Supplementary Pension Fund for Workers in the Metalworking Industry, Machinery Installation Services, and Related Sectors (Fondo Nazionale Pensione Complementare per i lavoratori dell’industria metalmeccanica, della installazione di impianti e dei settori affini, COMETA)

Bipartite (pension fund)

Sectoral (metalworking and manufacturing sectors)

Pension benefits

Supplementary Capitalisation-based Pension Fund for Workers in the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry and Related Sectors (Fondo Pensione Complementare a Capitalizzazione per i Lavoratori dell’Industria Chimica e Farmaceutica e dei Settori Affini, Fonchim)

Bipartite (pension fund)

Sectoral (chemical, pharmaceutical, and other related sectors)

Pension benefits

Supplementary Healthcare Fund for Workers in the Craft Sector (Fondo di Assistenza Sanitaria Integrativa per i lavoratori dell’artigianato, San.Arti.)

Bipartite (health fund)

Sectoral (craft sector)

Complementary health provisions

Supplementary Healthcare Institution for Employees in the Trade, Tourism, and Service Sectors (Ente di assistenza sanitaria integrativa per i dipendenti dalle aziende del Commercio, del Turismo e dei Servizi, ASTER)

Bipartite (healthcare fund)

Sectoral (trade, tourism, and service sectors)

Supplementary healthcare benefits

Supplementary Healthcare Institution in the Trade, Tourism, Service, and Related Sectors (Ente di assistenza sanitaria integrativa Commercio, Turismo, Servizi e settori affini, Fondo Est)

Bipartite (healthcare fund)

Sectoral (trade, tourism, and service sectors)

Supplementary healthcare benefits

Workplace-level employee representation

Two different types of workplace-level representation co-exist in Italy: RSA and RSU. RSA are established at company level at the workers’ initiative within those trade unions that signed the NCBA applied to the company concerned, as provided for by the Workers’ Statute. According to TU 2014, RSU are established by the trade unions that signed the cross-sectoral agreements dated 28 June 2011 (in Italian, 1002 KB PDF) and 31 May 2013 (in Italian, 266 KB PDF), as well as by the trade unions that signed the NCBA applied to the company concerned. RSU members are chosen by workers through an election process. RSA and RSU do not feature any significant differences in terms of activities or powers. Their role is indeed the same: negotiating company-level collective agreements with the employer, as well as representing workers in certain cases (Article 28 of the Workers’ Statute).

Regulation, composition, and competences of the bodies

 

Regulation

Composition

Competences of the body

Involved in company level collective bargaining?

Thresholds/rules when they need to/can be set up

RSA

Article 19 of the Workers’ Statute

Workers’ representatives

Yes

Set up at the workers’ initiative

RSU

Inter-confederal Agreement signed on 20 December 1993 (Accordo interconfederale)

  • Two-thirds: workers’ representatives

· One-third: trade unions that signed the NCBA applied to the company concerned.

Yes

Set up at the workers’ initiative

Employee representation at establishment level

In the figure, we see a comparison between Italy and European Union for the people with 'Establishment size : All' when asked 'Official structure of employee representation present at establishment'. For the 'Yes' answer, Italy's score is lower than the European Union score. For the 'No' answer, Italy's score is higher than the European Union score. The National comparisons visualisation presents a comparative overview for the values of all answers between two selected countries.

Source: ECS 2013. Private sector establishments with more than 10 employees. Eurofound data visualisation.

Collective bargaining

Collective bargaining

Bargaining system

In Italy, NCBAs are legally binding only upon employers and employees belonging to the organisations that have signed them, or that choose to adopt them. However, a de facto extension is set out by labour courts.Italian collective bargaining is basically structured on two different levels; sectoral NCBAs are concluded for the whole Italian territory and applied to all employees of the same sector. At this level, the main items of the employment contract are established, such as minimum wage, working time, job classification, and working conditions. Certain specific aspects of work, such as incentive remuneration schemes, performance bonuses, productivity standards, and special types of indemnities, are regulated at decentralised level (territorial (regional or provincial level) or company level). Act no. 232/2016 (hereinafter ‘2017 Budget Law’) sought to strengthen these elements. Moreover, the act under scrutiny strengthens the tools introduced to encourage private welfare schemes by increasing the number of beneficiaries among workers, as well as by raising productivity bonuses.

Decentralised collective agreements are gradually becoming more important; these seek to shift companies away from the crisis with firm-level provisions. Not too much has changed, but the future of collective bargaining has started to become more evident: some basic and mandatory provisions by national collective bargaining will remain, but the focus will be put on decentralised-level agreements, giving them more freedom over time.

Wage bargaining coverage

The coverage of NCBAs can be cross-sectoral, sectoral, or related to specific occupations within one or more sectors, depending on the level of negotiations adopted by social partners. These NCBAs cover most firms.

A number of companies, mostly large firms, have adopted company-level collective bargaining agreements that can integrate, derogate, or replace provisions settled by NCBAs should they decide not to take part in any employers’ organisation.

Decentralised bargaining may be implemented at provincial or local level too, as set out in the agriculture, construction, and craft sectors.

Collective wage bargaining coverage of employees at different levels

Level

 

Source

All levels

97%

Eurofound (2013), European Company Survey 2013 (ECS); private-sector companies with establishments >10 employees (NACE B–S); multiple answers possible

All, excluding the national level

37%

Eurofound (2013)

All levels

99.9%

Eurostat (2010), Structure of Earnings Survey (SES); companies >10 employees (NACE B–S); single answer: more than 50% of employees covered by such an agreement

Please note that there is no clear distinction between national cross-sectoral, occupational, and sectoral levels in Italy. All these levels fall within the domain of NCBAs, which can cover a larger or smaller number of sectors and occupations. Decentralised bargaining can take place also at regional or company level and, in the latter case, decentralised collective bargaining agreements may replace NCBAs. Thus, ‘sectoral’ and ‘regional’ refer to two different levels of negotiations, whereas companies being covered by a company-level agreement are usually covered by an NCBA as well.

Bargaining levels

In terms of setting pay, the most important level is, without any doubt, the sectoral one. As already stated, NCBAs set the minimum hourly wage and the maximum length of the working day, depending on the sector and the type of activity carried out. Some aspects of the remuneration structure and working time management, such as incentive plans, fringe benefits, and overtime remuneration, are delegated to decentralised-level agreements. To sum up, basic rights and pay levels are established at national level, while decentralised collective agreements aim to adapt the general conditions to a specific context, in accordance with the mandatory provisions established at national level.

Despite this general framework, the Budget Law 2017 established a new set of rules on private welfare schemes.

Decentralised collective bargaining agreements set the framework for private welfare from 2017 onwards, which will consist of:

  • welfare schemes set directly at corporate level;
  • welfare schemes managed through bilateral funds.

Levels of collective bargaining 2016

 

National level (intersectoral)

Sectoral level

Company level

 

Wages

Working time

Wages

Working time

Wages

Working time

Principal or dominant level

   

x

x

   

Important but not dominant level

       

x

x

Existing level

           

Note: the Italian interconfederal level (livello interconfederale) does not address individual employment relationship but defines the rules governing them. It assigns sectoral and company levels different competences over these topics, and it usually indicates reference indicators for negotiating wage increases.

Articulation

According to TU 2014, decentralised collective agreements should concern only the issues delegated by NCBAs. Basic rights and pay levels are established at sectoral level, while decentralised collective agreements aim to adapt the general conditions to a specific context, in accordance with the mandatory provisions set out at sectoral level.

Timing of the bargaining rounds

NCBAs are generally renewed every two years with regard to wages, and every four years with regard to other aspects. Decentralised (firm-level/regional) collective agreements have variable durations (to be set by social partners), with the exception of those concerning productivity standards and productivity bonuses, which must be renewed every year.

On the basis of what is laid down by TU 2014 to avoid situations of excessive prolongation of bargaining rounds, social partners agreed that the proposals for renewal must be submitted six months before the expiry of the NCBA. Currently, this rule has not yet been applied.

Coordination

A vertical coordination mechanism is in place in the Italian bargaining system: national sectoral collective agreements regulate wages in line with the provisions the Inter-confederal Agreement signed on 28 June 2011 (Accordo interconfederale) by Confindustria, CGIL, CISL, and UIL. Decentralised collective agreements can only step up minimum standards provided for by national collective agreements.

Extension mechanisms

Collective agreements cannot be extended by legislation. Employers can apply a collective agreement, even though they are not a member of the employers’ association that signed it. Employers’ associations and trade unions can subscribe to a collective agreement even though they have not agreed upon it.

Furthermore, Italy has never had legislation setting up a national minimum wage. The law only regulates the remuneration of employees specified in Italian Civil Code, Art. No. 2099.

For this reason, NCBAs provide for a minimum wage for employees in the sector they refer to. However, these agreements apply only to enterprises and workers who are members of bargaining social partners. Section 36 of the Italian Constitution states that workers are entitled to remuneration commensurate with their work and in any case such as to ensure them and their families a decent existence. The Italian Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) stated that only wages established in NCBAs signed by the most representative social partners met the requirements outlined in the Constitution. Wage provisions contained in NCBAs, therefore, represent the criterion to assess wages set in individual contracts. Workers can sue their employers in Labour Courts in order to gain the wages established by NCBAs.

Derogation mechanisms

Collective agreements can provide for opening clauses. Opening clauses mean a deviation from NCBA and/or law (TU 2014).

Employers who do not want to apply collective agreements signed by their employers’ association should step out of the relevant employers’ association. This opting out is exemplified by the Fiat Group, which left the Italian major employers’ organisation Feddermeccanica in 2009 and decided to apply only its own collective agreement. In recent years, a number of well-known groups or companies have stepped out their employers’ organisations, including Nero Giardini, Ideal Standard, Impregilo and Cartiere Pigna.

The Constitutional Court ruled on this issue through Judgement No. 51/2015. It established the principle that cooperatives can apply the collective agreements of the associations of which they are members, but they should pay their members the wage set out in the agreements entered into by the ‘most representative’ unions. The Ministry of Labour and Social Policies identified the National Association of Cooperatives and Benefit Societies (Legacoop), the Confederation of Italian Cooperatives (Confcooperative), and the General Association of Italian Cooperatives (AGCI) as the most representative unions.

Expiry of collective agreements

Collective agreements tend to apply even if they have already expired, until a new collective agreement is signed (period of so-called ‘ultrattività’, continuance in effect). The Framework Agreement signed on 22 January 2009 – AQ 2009 (PDF) – has adopted general rules with regard to the timing of contractual renewals. The NCBAs will be in effect for three years regarding legal aspects as well as pay. If a collective agreement is not renewed on time, a specific economic bonus is awarded to workers. Sectoral collective agreements can also establish the involvement of cross-sectoral social partners when sectoral social partners do not manage to agree upon the contractual renewal.

Other aspects of working life addressed in collective agreements

Over the last years, social partners have enhanced the role of bilateral bodies, also as a consequence of the provisions set out in Act no. 92/2012. In greater detail, NCBAs support bilateral bodies by means of additional levies on employers and, in some cases, employees, and by strengthening their role in the provision of training and income support measures, and as voluntary dispute resolution bodies.

Another aspect addressed by NCBAs and by company-level agreements is work­–life reconciliation by means of flexible working time schemes or teleworking arrangements.

Finally, the implementation of industrial restructuring processes often envisages agreements – to be concluded between companies and trade unions – that support generational turnover, frequently through early retirement schemes or the hiring of young people.

Industrial action and disputes

Industrial action and disputes

Legal aspects

The right to strike is enshrined in Article 40 of the Italian Constitution.

The law regulates the right to strike only in relation to the public sector. In the private sector, strikes are not governed by law. Two requirements shall exist for a strike to be considered lawful:

1. the interruption of the working activity is organised on a collective basis, and is promoted by a trade union; and

2. the industrial action takes place on a voluntary basis.

No further limitations exist in relation to the right to strike.

It is possible to distinguish between two different types of strike:

1. a strike for contractual purposes, obviously aimed at obtaining better contractual working conditions;

2. a strike for political purposes, aimed at persuading public institutions to adopt some specific actions.

Lockout (i.e. the decision made by the employer to prevent workers’ access to the workplace and thus their working activity) is allowed in Italy, but it is considered a breach of the obligations set out in the employment contract.

Industrial action developments 2012–2016

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Hours of strike per 1,000 worked hours in companies with 500 employees or more

1.1

1.0

0.8

1.1

0.7 (from January until November 2016)

Source: Istat (2015), Lavoro e retribuzioni nelle grandi imprese.

Dispute resolution mechanisms

Collective dispute resolution mechanisms

Some collective agreements provide for dispute resolution committees, bilaterally managed by social partners. Collective agreements do not set out specific procedures to be followed in order to settle a dispute in front of these committees, which are in charge of the strict application of collectively agreed provisions.

Generally, the majority of labour disputes end up in labour courts.

Individual dispute resolution mechanisms

JALI provides for a mandatory individual dispute resolution procedure before the Territorial Labour Inspectorate (ITL) – the former Territorial Labour Office (Direzione Territoriale del Lavoro, DTL).

This new procedure, which applies to workers dismissed before March 2015 is expected to be part of JAEC. The key new item is established by article 6: the employer can offer a share (from a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 18 months’ salary) to induce the workers to not proceed with legal action.

No data are available on the use of dispute resolution mechanisms.

Individual employment relations

Individual employment relations

Individual employment relations are the relationship between the individual worker and their employer. This relationship is shaped by legal regulation and by the outcomes of social partner negotiations over the terms and conditions governing the employment relationship. This section looks into the start and termination of the employment relationship and entitlements and obligations in Italy.

Start and termination of the employment relationship

Requirements regarding an employment contract

According to applicable legislation, the minimum working age is fixed at 16 years, except for apprenticeships for which it is fixed at 15 years. The written form is generally not required with regard to employment contracts (except in some cases, such as apprenticeships), but the employer is obliged to inform the worker in writing of applied working conditions. To be valid, the employment contract has to be agreed upon by both parties. As a consequence, where there is a relevant mistake about personal qualities and skills, the agreement cannot be considered valid.

Dismissal and termination procedures

The provisions of the Italian Civil Code on individual dismissals were substantially modified by special laws (Act no. 604/1966, the Workers’ Statute, Act no. 108/1990, Act No. 92/2012 and by the latest labour market reform – the so-called ‘Jobs Act’).

With Jobs Act, a binary system has been created: on the one hand, the new regulation applies to new hires starting from March 2015, or rather all those who are covered by Jobs Act regulation. On the other hand, previous regulations continue to be in force for workers already employed on indefinite contracts (employees still covered by law no. 92/2012).

  • Individual dismissal for just cause (giusta causa): under this scenario, the employee is dismissed because of his/her own misconduct, which ‘makes the continuation of the employment relationship impossible’ (Article 2119 of the Italian Civil Code).
  • Individual dismissal for justified reason (giustificato motivo): pursuant to Law No. 604/1966, giustificato motivo is either a serious breach of the contract by the employee or ‘any reason concerning productivity, work organisation, or the operation of the company’ – that is, lack of productivity, continuous uncooperative attitude, or the cancellation of the position. In such cases, the employee is given notice of dismissal or receives the indemnity in lieu of notice.

For employees hired before March 2015, for dismissal without either giusta causa or giustificato motivo found by the Court, two scenarios lie ahead: (i) employers having more than 15 employees within the same Municipality or more than 60 employees on the Italian territory shall reinstate the employee in his/her job; they shall moreover pay back all monthly salaries related to the period from the date of dismissal to the date of reinstatement, in addition to any damages that the employee may actually prove s/he has suffered as a consequence of the unlawful dismissal (that is, as of 2012, ‘unlawful dismissal’ means that such dismissal was based on discrimination and/or unreasonable disciplinary facts; burden of proof and litigation are required in order to activate this regime). The employee is entitled to the payment of an indemnity equal to a maximum of 24 monthly salary payments in the event of dismissal deemed to be wrongful; in other words, if it is not ‘grounded’ on objective or subjective reasons: these occur when the dismissal is based on a failure to satisfactorily perform job duties, disruption of the employer’s company premises, or other legitimate business reasons; (ii) employers staffed with 15 or fewer employees can choose to rehire the employee or pay him/her an indemnity ranging from 2.5 to six months of his/her last salary. The amount of the indemnity depends on the number of employees, the size of the company, the length of the employment period, and the parties’ behaviour.

For employees hired starting March 2015, Jobs Act reformed this set of rules. In greater detail, JAEC introduced a new protection regime against individual and collective unlawful dismissals (so-called ‘seniority-based protection regime’, contratto a tutele crescenti): starting on 7 March 2015, the new employment relationships were affected by forms of protection increasing with seniority in the case of unlawful dismissals. The new system will concern not only workers (excluding managers) employed under indefinite contracts, but also:

  • employees belonging to companies whose workforce – as a consequence of new hires – exceeds 15 people within the same business unit or municipality (or exceeds 60 people in total);
  • employees on fixed-term contracts converted into indefinite contracts after the entry into force of the new regulations;
  • employees on apprenticeship contracts converted into indefinite contracts after the entry into force of the new regulations.

Different remedies are introduced depending on the reasons for dismissal:

  • seniority-based indemnities for economic dismissals: the employer shall no longer be sanctioned with the reinstatement of the employee in case of groundless dismissals for economic reasons. The sanction consists only of compensation for damages (i.e. two months’ salary per year of service, with a minimum of four and a maximum of 24 months);
  • seniority-based indemnities will also apply to unlawful dismissals based on justified subjective reasons and just cause. Reinstatement is to be implemented, together with an indemnity equal to the salary due from the date of dismissal until the reinstatement (up to 12 months), plus social security charges only if the facts causing the dismissal are proven non-existent;
  • no ‘grey areas’ are envisaged regarding the right to reinstatement for discriminatory dismissals and other null and void dismissals: reinstatement – together with an indemnity equal to the salary due from the date of dismissal until the reinstatement (with a minimum of five months) – is to be implemented only in serious cases of unlawful dismissals, including dismissals that are solely verbal, dismissals based on discrimination or retaliation, and dismissals during maternity leave. Employees could alternatively choose an indemnity equal to 15 months’ salary in lieu of reinstatement;
  • dismissals affected by formal irregularities: a seniority-based indemnity is due, consisting of one month’s salary per year of service, with a minimum of two and a maximum of 12 months.

The provisions contained in those laws concern in most aspects only workers (operai) and employees (impiegati), and do not affect executives (dirigenti). These provisions substantially limit certain rights of the employer.

The dismissal of executives is governed by Articles 2118 and 2119 of the Italian Civil Code, and by the relevant NCBA, if applicable. The dismissal of executives must be communicated in writing. Such dismissal is lawful if it based on a just cause (see above) or if the dismissal is not wrongful, and thus it is fair and reasonable (that is, it is ‘grounded’ on objective or subjective reasons). In general, the dismissal of an executive is considered lawful if the reason for employment termination relates to the executive’s conduct damaging the trust and confidence relationship with the employer, or if it is attributable to the fact that the executive’s activity is no longer required by the employer as a result of the reorganisation of the workforce or owing to company crisis. If the dismissal is based on a just cause, no notice period applies. In any other case of dismissal, the notice period provided for by the applicable NCBA, or the indemnity in lieu of notice applies. If the dismissal of the executive is not based on a just cause or is not grounded on objective or subjective reasons (as mentioned above) and the employment relationship is regulated by an NCBA, the executive is entitled to receive a special indemnity (so-called ‘supplementary indemnity’, indennità supplementare) set forth in the applicable NCBA (such an indemnity varies based on the executive’s length of service and age). On 30 December 2014, the NCBA applicable to executives in the industry sector was renewed, resulting in a reduction of the notice periods (from six to 12 months depending on the length of service) and of the minimum supplementary indemnity (two monthly salary payments), as well as in an increase in the minimum length of service needed to be entitled to the maximum level of supplementary indemnity (at least 15 years, to be entitled to a 18–24 monthly wage range). Similar provisions are being bargained in the framework of the renewal of the NCBA applicable to executives in the trade sector.

Dismissal of employees/executives is prohibited in the following cases:

  • wedding of a female employee – from the date of publication of the wedding until one year after the ceremony (Article 1 of Act no. 7/1963) except for the cases specified by law;
  • pregnancy of the employee – during the period of pregnancy and for the first year after delivery (Article 2 of Act no. 1204/1971);
  • accidents at work or illness of the employee – for the term (so-called ‘protected period’) as specified by law or in the applicable NCBA (Article 2110 of the Italian Civil Code), unless a just cause for termination occurs;
  • works council executives – for the period of assignment and until one year from the end thereof (Articles 18 and 22 of the Workers’ Statute);
  • dismissal for discriminatory reasonssuch as political opinions, religion, race, language, sex, and trade union membership.

See also further information on unemployment benefit provisions in Italy.

Entitlements and obligations

Parental, maternity, and paternity leave

Pursuant to Act no. 151/2001, as last amended by JAS, an employee must be exempted from service during the last two months of pregnancy and the first three months after childbirth or, at the choice of the employee, during the last month of pregnancy and the first four months after childbirth. During such a compulsory absence, 80% of her salary is paid by INPS and 20% by the employer. The employee may choose to stay at home for an additional six months; however, during this period, she is considered as an employee only for seniority purposes, and is entitled to maintain her employment position; however, she receives only part of her salary (30%) from INPS.

From the beginning of the pregnancy until the child is one year old, the employee cannot be dismissed unless: a just cause for dismissal occurs; the company’s activity is terminated; or the employment relationship comes to an end owing to the expiry of the agreed term.

The abovementioned provisions can be extended to the father of the child if: the mother is dead or is affected by severe disabilities; the mother has abandoned the child; or the child has been entrusted exclusively to the father’s care.

Law No. 92/2012 established a mandatory paternity leave of one working day to take care of the child and/or assist the mother. In addition, the decree on work–life balance (Legislative Decree 15 June 2015, No. 80, ‘JABalance’) reforms the existing work–life reconciliation measures. The law provides for a time extension of parental leave, which could be used until the child’s twelfth year (instead of his/her eighth year, as set out in the previous legislation). The partially paid (30%) parental leave is extended from the child’s third year of age to his/her sixth year, while the unpaid one from the sixth to the twelfth year. Furthermore, this provision applies to parents with an individual income lower than 2.5 times the monthly minimum pension scheme.

A similar extension is introduced for cases of adoption or foster care, for which the possibility of taking parental leave shall start from the child’s entrance into the family. It will also be possible to opt for a part-time working arrangement instead of parental leave in case the staff structure provides for part-time positions. Moreover, paternity leave is extended to all categories of workers – not only to employees as it is now. In general terms, several changes have been made to parental and maternity leave. In conclusion, the 2017 Budget Law sets out additional provisions. The most relevant are:

  • Support Fund for Higher Birth-Rates (Fondo di sostegno alla natalità): this fund is aimed at promoting access to credit for families with one or more children born or adopted on or after 1 January 2017;
  • childbirth bonus (bonus bebè): this €800 lump sum is granted upon the birth or adoption of a child, and is paid by INPS in a single instalment following the ad hoc application to be filed by the future mother;
  • Support Fund for Family Allowances (Fondo per l’incremento degli assegni al nucleo familiare): this fund is targeted at Italian citizens working in another EU Member State who have four or more children; 
  • crèche and baby-sitting vouchers: the crèche voucher is aimed at supporting the enrolment in public or private crèches, or alternatively at bolstering the introduction of support tools at home in the case of children below three years of age, affected by severe chronic diseases. The new provisions furthermore enable both employed and self-employed mothers to apply for a crèche or baby-sitting voucher in lieu of parental leave (wholly or partially).

Statutory leave arrangements

Maternity leave

Maximum duration

Two months before and three months after delivery (or one month before and four months after delivery). In some specific cases, additional months are envisaged.

Reimbursement

100% of basic remuneration (80% to be paid by INPS, and 20% by the employer)

Who pays?

INPS (80% of basic remuneration) and employers (20%)

Legal basis

Act. no. 151/2001

Parental leave

Maximum duration

11 months (to be shared between the mother and the father)

Reimbursement

30% of basic remuneration

Who pays?

INPS

Legal basis

Act no. 151/2001

Paternity leave

Maximum duration

Two days in 2017, and up to four days in 2018 (it can be raised up to five days if the father replaces the mother in relation to the mandatory leave period).

Reimbursement

100% anticipated by the employer and subsequently reimbursed by INPS, as provided for by law in relation to maternity leave in general

Who pays?

INPS

Legal basis

Act no. 92/2012, Act no. 80/2015 (Jobs Act – work–life balance, ‘JABalance’), and 2017 Budget Law

Sick leave

In case of illness, the employee has the right to maintain his/her job during the sick leave (so-called ‘protected period’) as set out in the relevant NCBA. During this period, the employer cannot dismiss the worker.

If sick, the employee must inform the employer as soon as possible, before the beginning of his/her working day. Consequently, a doctor must certify the state of illness, submitting the certificate to INPS through an online procedure. INPS makes the certificate available for the employer.

The employee receives a special indemnity, calculated as 50% of basic remuneration from the fourth day to the 20thday of illness. From the 21st day on, the indemnity amounts to 66.66% of basic remuneration.

Retirement age

Act no. 201/2011 radically reformed the Italian social security system, allowing for a yearly increase in the retirement age in order to adapt it to the population’s increasing life expectancy.

In the framework of measures addressing retirement rules and pension benefits, and following a long phase of consultations with trade unions, the 2017 Budget Law introduced three early retirement schemes targeting people aged at least 63 who are no more than three years and seven months away from statutory retirement age: the social advance pension payment (anticipo pensionistico sociale, special APe), the advance pension payment (anticipo pensionistico, general APe), and the temporary supplementary advance annuity (rendita integrativa temporanea anticipata, RITA). In greater detail, specific categories of disadvantaged people will have the possibility to access the special APE, which is funded by the State. The general APE can be accessed by other workers upon taking out a 20-year loan intended to pay back the anticipated sum, as well as a life insurance policy subsidised by the State. Finally, workers enrolled in supplementary private pension schemes will have the opportunity to apply for RITA, an advance pension payment subject to a 15% maximum taxation rate.

The act also eliminated caps on the value of supplementary pension contributions that can be exempted from income taxation, a measure that is likely to promote the establishment of paritarian pension funds in the framework of collective bargaining agreements.

Pay

Pay

Pay: For workers, the reward for work and main source of income; for employers, a cost of production and focus of bargaining and legislation. This section looks into minimum wage setting in Italy and guides the reader to further material on collective wage bargaining.

Minimum wages

The Italian legislation does not provide for a minimum wage. The minimum wage is set by each NCBA, which lays down minimum standards for the whole category it applies to throughout the country. In the absence of an agreement or mutual consent between the employer and the employee, wages and salaries may be determined by courts according to precedents and practices found in similar sectors or NCBAs. Local company-level agreements may step up these standards through provisions on issues such as rates, performance bonuses, and bonuses on productivity. Wages and salaries of all workers are usually paid on a monthly basis. Employees may receive various additional wage elements – for instance, additional monthly salaries (13th and 14th monthly payments).

For more information regarding the level and development of minimum wages, please see Eurofound’s topical update on statutory minimum wage in the EU 2017 or visit Eurostat.

Collectively agreed pay outcomes

For more detailed information on the most recent outcomes in terms of collectively agreed pay, please consult Eurofound’s collectively wage bargaining portal.

Working time

Working time

Working time: ‘Any period during which the worker is working, at the employer’s disposal and carrying out his activities or duties, in accordance with national laws and/or practice’ (Directive 2003/88/EC). This section briefly summarises regulation and issues regarding working time, overtime, part-time work as well as working time flexibility in Italy.

Working time regulation

The provisions on working hours and overtime are included in Act no. 66/2003, as amended by Act no. 213/2004. In principle, employees are supposed to work 40 hours per week, unless more favourable provisions contained in NCBAs reduce said duration; nevertheless, the ordinary weekly working time shall be referred to the average duration of the working activity within a period no longer than one year. In any case, the duration of the weekly working time cannot exceed 48 hours per week, including any overtime hours. Such maximum duration must be calculated within a reference period not exceeding four months, unless more favourable provisions contained in NCBAs reduce said duration or increase the reference period up to six months. The above-mentioned provisions do not apply to executives. Pursuant to some NCBAs, the provisions on overtime do not apply to managers.

For more detailed information on working time (including annual leave, statutory and collectively agreed working time), please consult Eurofound’s report on Working time developments in the 21st century: Work duration and its regulation.

Overtime regulation

Unless differently provided for by NCBAs, overtime work should be used sparingly and when exceptional technical or production-related circumstances occur. In any case, overtime shall be agreed between the employer and the employee, and cannot exceed 250 hours a year. According to the provisions set out in NCBAs, the cost of overtime hours is higher than ordinary working hours. Decentralised-level agreements can set out different provisions to regulate overtime in order to better manage working time within the firm.

Part-time work

‘Part-time work’ indicates an employment contract in which working hours are fewer than the standard 40 hours per week. The reduction in working hours can be implemented in three different ways:

  • horizontal part-time: the employee works every day for a shorter amount of hours;
  • vertical part-time: the employee works full day, but only on specific days;
  • mixed part-time (part-time misto): a combination of the two types described above.

Part-time work is generally governed by NCBAs, with some specific aspects regulated at firm level.

Another change introduced by the Jobs Act is the possibility to make the part-time contract more flexible, by simplifying the regulation on additional working hours. In greater detail, employers would be entitled to ask employees working under a horizontal part-time arrangement (a contract reducing daily working hours) to perform, within the limits established by NCBAs, the working hours exceeding the weekly hours settled by the individual contract, upon payment of additional remuneration. In the absence of an NCBA, overtime work cannot overcome 15% of the weekly working hours agreed upon in the individual contract. Unless differently established by NCBAs, the increase cannot be greater than 25% of the yearly working hours agreed in the individual contract.

As shown in the table below, the shares of part-time workers are aligned with the EU average, with a slightly greater difference between women and men.

Persons employed part-time in Italy and EU28 (% of total employment)

 

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Total - EU28

18.2

18.6

19.0

19.0

19.0

18.9

Total – IT

15.2

16.7

17.6

18.0

18.2

18.5

Women - EU28

31.0

31.4

31.8

31.7

31.5

31.4

Women – IT

29.1

30.8

31.6

32.1

32.4

32.7

Men - EU28

7.4

7.7

8.1

8.2

8.2

8.2

Men - IT

5.3

6.5

7.3

7.7

7.9

8.1

Source: Eurostat Labour Force Survey [lfsi_pt_a] – Persons employed part-time (20 to 64 years of age) – total and by sex.

Night work

Pursuant to Article 1 of Act no. 66/2003, as subsequently amended, a night worker is one who, in the normal course, works at least three hours of his/her daily working time during night time (who is likely, during night time, to work at least such a proportion of his/her annual working time as may be specified in a collective agreement or a workforce agreement. Act no. 66/2003 (Art. 1, paragraph 2) defines night time as any period of not less than seven consecutive hours including the time span between midnight and 05:00.

Shift work

Article 1 of Act no. 66/2003, as subsequently amended, defines shift work as any method of work organisation, including in shifts, according to which workers are subsequently assigned to the same working stations according to a certain pattern, including on a rotational basis, which may be continuous or discontinuous, and which entails the need for workers to perform a job at different times over a given period of days or weeks.

Weekend work

There is no legal regulation on weekend work. It can be said, by analogy, that the weekly rest day must be on Sunday.

Rest and breaks

In general, rest periods and breaks shall be enjoyed consecutively. The parties may agree upon longer rest periods than those established by law (11 hours).

Working time flexibility

Working time flexibility is not regulated by law. The law only sets out the maximum amount of working hours, leaving all other aspects to social dialogue and contractual freedom within specific limits for certain categories or circumstances (such as night work). Some types of time flexibility strategies are beginning to be provided for or introduced in collective agreements, but the general trend is to fix working hours within a specific time span, generally from 09.00 to 18.00.

Do you have fixed start and finishing time in your work?

In the figure, we see a comparison between Italy and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Do you have fixed starting and finishing times in your work?'. For the 'No' answer, Italy's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'Yes' answer, Italy's score is lower than the European Union score. Data is based on question 39d from the sixth European Working Conditions Survey (2015).The National comparisons visualisation presents a comparative overview for the values of all answers between two selected countries.

Source: European Working conditions survey 2015.

Health and well-being

Health and well-being

Maintaining health and well-being should be high-priority for workers and employers alike. Health is an asset closely associated with a person’s quality of life and longevity, as well as their ability to work. A healthy economy depends on a healthy workforce; organisations lose productivity through ill-health of their workers. This section looks into psychosocial risks and health and safety in Italy.

Health and safety at work

The overall number of accidents at work has been decreasing in recent years, both in absolute terms and compared to employment rates. Yet, the number of fatal accidents was on the rise again in 2015, reversing the previous decreasing trend.

Accidents at work and on the way to work

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Agriculture

52,686

50,231

47,084

42,921

40,335

39,204

38,022

N/A

Industry and services

705,291

693,274

647,755

585,106

536,833

512,630

493,677

N/A

Public sector

32,235

32,488

31,519

29,676

26,622

29,541

28,699

N/A

Total

790,212

775,993

726,358

657,703

603,790

581,375

560,398

N/A

Per 1,000 employed people

34.8

34.4

32.1

29.1

27.2

26.1

24.9

n.a.

Note: Data for 2009 and 2010 were computed according to a different methodology by INAIL.

Source: National Institution for Insurance against Accidents at Work (Istituto nazionale per l’assicurazione contro gli infortuni sul lavoro, INAIL). Author’s calculation based on: [IL_DN_TT_AG_GES_TEM] and [IL_DN_CS_CI_ETA_TEM].

Accidents at work, with four days’ absence or more – working days lost

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

All accidents

399,689

383,274

362,385

321,084

274,040

269,629

251,769

Percentage change on previous year

-

-4.1

-5.5

-11.4

-14.7

-1.6

-6.6

Per 1,000 employees

23.2

22.5

21.5

19.0

16.2

16.2

15.0

Source: Eurostat, [hsw_mi01] and [lfsa_eegaed]

Fatal accidents at work and on the way to work

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Agriculture

127

111

184

179

189

179

166

N/A

Industry and services

905

842

1,177

1,147

1,012

948

1,063

N/A

Employees of public administration

18

16

27

25

32

23

30

N/A

Total

1,050

969

1,388

1,351

1233

1,150

1,259

N/A

Per 1,000 employed people

0.05

0.04

0.06

0.06

0.06

0.05

0.06

N/A

Note: Data for 2009 and 2010 were computed according to a different methodology by INAIL.

Source: Inail. Authors’ calculation based on [IL_DN_TT_AG_GES_TEM] and [IL_DN_CS_CI_ETA_TEM]

Psychosocial risks

Article 2087 of the Italian Civil Code sets forth, as a general rule, that the employer shall implement all necessary measures to guarantee each employee’s health and safety while s/he is in the workplace, taking into account peculiarities, experience, and skills involved.

Act no. 81/2008 sets forth most of the specific provisions on health and safety at work. The main obligations upon the employer are as follows:

  • to prepare a document containing an assessment of health and safety risks related to the activity of the company, a list of prevention and protection measures as well as of the special individual protection devices, and the measures aimed at improving health and safety at work;
  • to arrange the Prevention and Protection Service (Servizio di Prevenzione e Protezione) and to appoint the Head of the Prevention and Protection Service (Responsabile del Servizio di Prevenzione e Protezione). The Prevention and Protection Service can be handled either internally or by an external contractor. If the Prevention and Protection Service is arranged within the company, the employer may either take on its functions, or appoint a person with suitable skills and expertise. If the company carries out an industrial activity with more than 30 employees or other activities with more than 200 employees, the employer is obliged to appoint a person and cannot perform the functions of the Prevention and Protection Service directly. The arrangement of the service within the company is compulsory when its activity is deemed to be particularly ‘dangerous’ (companies exposed to the risk of serious accidents, companies with more than 200 employees, thermoelectric power stations, hospitals, etc.);
  • to notify the National Labour Inspection Office (Ispettorato nazionale del lavoro) and the Local Health Authority (Azienda Sanitaria Locale, ASL) of the name of the person appointed as Head of the Prevention and Protection Service;
  • to appoint a physician (medico competente), who – among other things – shall cooperate with the employer and the Head of the Prevention and Protection Service to arrange and implement occupational health and safety measures, carry out the clinical and medical tests for employees, and provide his/her own opinion on employees’ suitability for their specific duties;
  • to take the necessary measures for employees’ health and safety;
  • to inform and train employees on occupational health and safety risks;
  • to adapt workplaces in compliance with applicable legislation;
  • to adapt workplaces and working time if employees use visual display units.

Work intensity: do you have enough time to get the job done?

In the figure, we see a comparison between Italy and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Do you have enough time to get the job done?'. For the 'Always or most of the time' answer, Italy's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'Rarely or never' answer, Italy's score is lower than the European Union score. For the 'Sometimes' answer, Italy's score is lower than the European Union score. Data is based on question 61g from the sixth European Working Conditions Survey (2015).The National comparisons visualisation presents a comparative overview for the values of all answers between two selected countries.

Source: Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey 2015.

More detailed figures are available from Eurofound’s European Working conditions survey.

Skills, learning and employability

Skills, learning and employability

Skills are the passport to employment; the better skilled an individual, the more employable they are. Good skills also tend to secure better-quality jobs and better earnings. This section briefly summarises the Italian system for ensuring skills and employability and looks into the extent of training.

National system for ensuring skills and employability

A specific type of employment contract has been created to serve as a ‘bridge between education and the world of work’. This is the apprenticeship, in which the employer is obliged not only to pay remuneration to employees, but also to train them. In return, the employer can benefit from some tax relief and reductions in social security contributions. The apprenticeship is deemed to be an indefinite contract, but there is a specific day (when the training can be considered concluded) when the employer can dismiss the employee. If dismissal does not occur, the apprenticeship automatically turns into a proper indefinite contract.

The apprenticeship is regulated, in its basic structure, by Act no. 167/2011, and its specific terms and conditions are set through collective agreements.

After receiving a favourable opinion from the State-Regions Conference, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, the Ministry of Education, University and Research, and the Ministry of Economy and Finance approved the act dated 12 October 2015, which defines training standards of apprenticeships, and enacts the related provisions contained in JACode.

Currently, there are three kinds of apprenticeship:

1. apprenticeship aimed at helping students obtain a vocational qualification, targeting people between 15 and 25 years old;

2. profession-oriented apprenticeship for people between 18 and 29 years old;

3. apprenticeship enabling students to conduct research or obtain a higher educational qualification; this type of apprenticeship is targeted at people between 18 and 29 years old who hold a second-level diploma.

Furthermore, in March 2015 the government presented a new reform aimed at introducing amendments to the educational and vocational system in order to achieve better integration between education and training, on the one hand, and the labour market, on the other.

However, it also confers increased powers on school principals over hiring and promotions, and envisages tax breaks for private schools, and the hiring of 100,000 permanent teachers.

Training

The main public institutions that have to be taken into consideration when talking about training are the Regions. They enter into play in relation to both apprenticeship and internship regulations. As to apprenticeships, the Regions have to define and structure an important part of the apprentice’s training (basic and cross-cutting training), whose cost is shouldered by them. As to internships, the Regions must provide for some of the regulating principles, such as the minimum amount of the indemnity to be provided to the intern.

Vocational training paritarian institutions (fondi interprofessionali), too, must be taken into consideration. These are special quasi-public bodies promoted by social partners through confederation agreements signed by employers’ and employees’ most representative unions. Pursuant to Act no. 388/2000, companies must finance these funds with 0.30% of the contributions paid to INPS.

Vocational training paritarian institutions fund company training activities – at both sectoral and territorial levels – that companies can decide to implement for their employees. Their activity is subjected to a form of control by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies. In accordance with Act no. 148/2011, training activities can also involve apprentices.

Training: Have you had any on the job training in the past year?

In the figure, we see a comparison between Italy and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Have you had on-the-job training in the last 12 months?'. For the 'No' answer, Italy's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'Yes' answer, Italy's score is lower than the European Union score. Data is based on question 65c from the sixth European Working Conditions Survey (2015).The National comparisons visualisation presents a comparative overview for the values of all answers between two selected countries.

Source: Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey 2015.

More detailed figures are available from Eurofound’s European Working conditions survey.

Work organisation

Work organisation

Work organisation underpins economic and business development and has important consequences for productivity, innovation and working conditions. Eurofound research finds that some types of work organisation are associated with a better quality of work and employment. Therefore, developing or introducing different forms of work organisation are of particular interest because of the expected effect on productivity, efficiency and competitiveness of companies, as well as on workers’ working conditions. Ongoing research by Eurofound, based on EurWORK, the European Working Conditions Survey and the European Company Survey, monitors developments in work organisation.

For Italy, the European Company Survey 2013 shows that between 2010 and 2013, 51% of establishments with 10 or more employees reported changes in the use of technology, 42% introduced changes in ways to coordinate and allocate the work to workers and another 24% saw changes in their working time arrangements.

Work organization: Are you able to choose or change your methods of work?

In the figure, we see a comparison between Italy and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Are you able to choose or change your methods of work?'. For the 'No' answer, Italy's score is lower than the European Union score. For the 'Yes' answer, Italy's score is higher than the European Union score. Data is based on question 54b from the sixth European Working Conditions Survey (2015).The National comparisons visualisation presents a comparative overview for the values of all answers between two selected countries.

Source: Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey 2015.

More detailed figures are available from Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey.

Equality and non-discrimination at work

Equality and non-discrimination at work

First of all, Article 3 of the Italian Constitution states that ‘all citizens have equal social dignity and are equal before the law, without distinction of sex, race, language, religion, political opinion, personal and social conditions’. Therefore, equality is one of the fundamental principles of the whole Italian legal system.

Secondly, dismissals for discriminatory reasons (political, sexual, religious, and others) are considered null and void, and the judge can order the employer to reintegrate the employee into his/her job.

There are special provisions to facilitate the access of people with disabilities to the labour market. The Italian legislation promotes the employment of people with disabilities through compulsory hiring (assunzioni obbligatorie) (Act no. 68/1999). The category of people with disabilities includes: people with physical and mental impairments; those whose disabilities are medically certified as comprising more than 33% of their capacity; persons who are blind; and those who are deaf-mute.

Starting in January 2017, JAS slightly modified the regulation. The number of people with disabilities who must be employed relates to the number of employees in the company, namely: if the employer is staffed with more than 50 employees, 7% of them must be people with disabilities; if the employer has from 36 to 50 employees, two of them must be people with disabilities; if the employer has from 15 to 35 employees, there must be one person with disabilities.

The same obligations shall apply to political parties, trade unions, and NGOs.

The applicable legislation envisages new incentives for hiring people with disabilities: as to subjects with mental or intellectual impairments, incentives amount to 70% of their monthly salary for a maximum of 60 months.

The new set of rules moreover introduced a specific database aimed at monitoring the workflow of people with disabilities. Finally, penalties for employers that do not abide by these rules have been increased.

Equal pay and the gender pay gap

No specific provisions exist as to the implementation of an equal pay structure; the whole issue is regulated by the provision against discrimination in whatever form it may occur.

National-level collective agreements establish a minimum salary for each sector, which is mandatory for all the employers of that sector.

A maximum level of remuneration does not exist: therefore, an employer could theoretically pay a different amount to each employee. If there exists a gender-based difference in the remuneration within the same company, the issue has to be tackled through social dialogue or before a court provided the non-discrimination provisions can be applied to the specific situation.

Quota regulations

No legal obligations for specific quotas are in place in Italy, besides those for people with disabilities (see the third paragraph under the ‘Equality and non-discrimination at work’ heading).

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