Job-sharing introduced in Italy

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In April 1998, the Ministry of Labour issued a communication clarifying the use of job-sharing contracts, which are a new development in Italy.

In a communication issued on 17 April 1998, the Minister of Labour, Tiziano Treu, clarified the use of "job-sharing contracts" (contratto di lavoro ripartito). The document defines the terms and conditions for this new form of employment (for Italy), which is derived from part-time work - two workers share the responsibilities and tasks of one job over a fixed period of time, negotiated with the employer. The move should be seen in the light of the liberalisation of the labour market in Italy and its adjustment to the regulations in force in the other European countries, which has been continuing through the efforts of the Ministry of Labour and the agreement of the social partners.

The Ministry of Labour believes that this new kind of working arrangement is a means of satisfying both employers' needs for flexibility and workers' needs linked to family and school responsibilities.

According to the Ministry, job-sharing arrangements can be introduced without the need for a specific law on the subject, provided that the following requirements are fulfilled:

  • the employment contract which regulates this kind of employment relationship must be written and must state the number of hours per day, week, month or year to be worked by the job-sharers, as well as the duration of the contract;
  • job-sharers can modify the ways in which the hours of work are shared between them;
  • employers must be informed of the working hours of each of the job-sharers on a weekly basis;
  • social security contributions will be calculated in the same way as those for part-time workers; and
  • job-sharing arrangements can be applied to all categories of workers without any kind of constraints or limitations.

The communication from the Ministry sets out the general guidelines and leaves the definition of the detailed aspects of this type of working arrangement to decentralised collective bargaining.

Trade union organisations welcomed the decision of the Ministry and believe that job-sharing contracts will introduce forms of work flexibility which are in favour of the worker.

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