Working time in the European Union: Italy

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Published on: 15 November 2009



About
Country:
Italy
Author:
Mario Giaccone
Institution:

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited or approved by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

While interest of stakeholders shifted from duration of working time towards its flexibility and their ability to match with both employees’ and companies’ needs, both public and private research institutions carried out important surveys, such as the 2002 and 2006 “Quality of work” surveys carried by Isfol and the 2002.2003 time use survey by Istat, and private research institutes amongst the former and the 2006 “Changing work” survey carried out by Ires Nazionale. Such a rich amount of information, however, still needs to be fully exploited.

The national contributions collects data inter alia from; firstly the EU Labour Force Survey which covers average hours worked by men and women employees both overall and in part-time and full-time jobs, the proportion of men and women in part-time jobs and the relative number of men and women employed under different arrangements as regards working time. Secondly, from the Fourth European Working Conditions Survey conducted by the European Foundation which covers other aspects of working time, including the number of days worked per week, evening, night and weekend working, the organisation of working time, the proportion of people with second jobs, the time spent commuting as well as on unpaid work.

These data are intended to form the basis of the replies to the questions asked but other relevant data have been used where available to supplement these.

Duration of work

Average weekly hours

Does the evidence from the above surveys, and other sources, indicate that, over the past five or ten years, employees are working fewer hours in your country?

Is there evidence that any such decline in average working time is due more to compositional changes (e.g. more women entering the labour market and working part-time) than to an across-the-board reduction in hours?

Is there evidence that any fall in average hours over these periods may be due to a reduction in the number of people working very long hours – over 48 per week? Is there evidence that this has been due, to any extent, to the adoption of the EU working time Directive?

In 2006, Isfol (the National Agency for training) carried out the 2nd Quality of Work Survey (QWS): the preliminary results are reported by the Survey Data Report. Further sources are the Ires survey “Working Italy today” (see the Information Update Two in three workers work overtime to boost income)

According to the QWS, the average working time declines from 39 hours a week in 2002 to 38 in 2006. There is a moderate decline in long hours (from 19.6% to 17.9%), while there is no evidence in shift from “long” part-time (over 20 hours a week) to “short” part-time. Preliminary results do not include engendered figures, while different disaggregation criteria with respect to occupation do not allow, at the moment to draw any further trend. Discussion will therefore be based only on 2002 figures (see also the Survey data report Quality of work in Italy survey, 2002).

Table 1: Trend in working hours 2002-2006
% values
   2002 2006
less than 30 hours 22.3% 21,8%
31-45 hours 58,1% 60,4%
more than 45 hours 19,6% 17,9%
  total 100,0% 100,0%

Source: Isfol, 2007

Tables 2 and 3 summarizes weekly working hours, disaggregated in 3 main class hours, by occupational status respectively in 2002 and 2006. Disaggregation according to occupational status differ in two surveys: one of the main goal of Isfol when presenting preliminary results was to show working conditions of the wide array of occupational status varying from “permanent employees” and “clearly identified” self employed, such as entrepreneurs, professionals enjoying of both legal and pension protection of a professional organization (such as lawyers, physicians, engineers).

As a vast array of studies show, the major share of non-permanent employees and self-employed without a clear-cut legal status show frequent transitions across the different types of status and they share a strong perception of insecurity both concerning their work and their life.

On the other hand, the 2003 labour market reform introduced new non standard (non-permanent) labour contracts up to a total of 43. Thus, according to the 2006 preliminary figures, the heading “non-permanent employees” include free lancers and project-related collaborators, often considered as “pseudo-self employed”, while the 2002 heading “self employed” included these latter, although some of them consider themselves as “employees”.

However, both in 2002 and 2006 surveys, over 40% of the self employed usually work more than 45 hours a week whereas more than 2/3 of the employees work between 31 to 45 hours, as seen in the table below.

Table 2 Weekly working hours by occupational status, 2002
Table Summary - Required
  employees self employed  total
less than 18 hours 3,7% 2,7% 3,4%
18-30 hours 20,4% 15,1% 18,9%
31-45 hours 66,7% 34,6% 58,1%
more than 45 hours 9,2% 47,6% 19,6%
  total 73,1% 26,9% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Table 3 weekly hours by professional status, 2006
Table Summary - Required
  less 30 hours 31 to 45 hours more than 45 hours
permanent employees 19,1 71,3 9,6
nonpermanent employees 40,0 45,8 14,2
self employed 13,3 42,8 43,8

Source: Isfol, 2007

According to the 2006 survey carried out by Ires across employees and non-permanent workers, working times are more concentrated around normal work hours, long hours are less widespread (9.9% across non permanent employees with respect to 14.2% among employees) while “short” hours are significantly less widespread: 14.3% across permanent employees work less than 32 hours while 19.1% work less than 30 hours according to QWS 2006, while 27.9% of non- permanent work less than 32 hours a week while 40% of them work less than 30 hours according to QWS. Such differences, although quantitatively significant, share a polarization to extreme working times when labour contract is non-permanent and lower working hours for women with respect to men.

Unfortunately, different cuts of the lowest class do not allow a full comparison amongst the two sources.

Table 4 Average weekly hours by gender and employment status
Table Summary - Required
  Men Women Permanent employees Nonpermanent employees total
Less than 18 hours 2.2% 4.8% 2.1% 6.3% 3.2%
18-24 hours 4.0% 13.2% 6.6% 10.6% 7.6%
25-32 hours 4.3% 13.3% 6.6% 11.0% 7.8%
33-36 hours 19.3% 20.5% 20.6% 17.4% 19.8%
37-40 hours 42.7% 33.4% 41.4% 32.5% 39.1%
41-45 hours 16.8% 10.4% 15.0% 12.3% 14.3%
More than 45 hours 10.7% 4.4% 7.7% 9.9% 8.2%
 total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

Source: Ires Nazionale

Table 5 Employees weekly hours worked by gender, 2002
% values
  Men women  total
less than 18 hours 1,8% 6,4% 3,7%
18-30 hours 7,9% 37,9% 20,4%
31-45 hours 76,5% 52,9% 66,7%
more than 45 hours 13,8% 2,8% 9,2%
  total 58,6% 41,4% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Table 6 Weekly hours worked by professional status, 2006
% values
  less 30 hours 31 to 45 hours more than 45 hours
highly qualified 25,3 53,5 21,2
clecks 25,6 61,2 13,2
workers 13,5 69,4 17,1

Source: Isfol. 2007

According to the Istat report “I tempi della vita quotidiana”, which summarizes the main results of the 2002-2003 Time use survey, while men show an increase of their working time, women report a slight decrease (figure 1). This is due to the increase of part-time amongst women (from 13.9% in 1997 to 26.5% in 2006).

Further, family burden have an increasingly uneven gender impact. Men tend to increase their working time when they have children (6h16’) with respect to those without children (5h54’), while women can work less than both women without children and lonely working mothers (respectively 4h07’, 4h44’ and 4h43’): such a gap between mothers and women without children increase up to almost one hour for those aged 25-44.

Thus, the male breadwinner model still persist in Italian families, notwithstanding the increasing women’ labour market participation. However, there are some important changes with respect to the 1988-1989 survey: women increase their working time only when they live in couple without children, thus without any care burden, while men show a significant increase of their working time – especially in case of monoparental families – in comparison to when they live with their parents or live in couple without children.

Figure 1 Paid working times by gender

Absolute values, 1988-1989 and 2002-2003


Source: Istat, 2007

Annual hours worked

To what extent is the notion of annual working time (calculated to take account of annual holidays, including public holidays, as well as average weekly hours) in common use in political or everyday discussion, or in social partner negotiations?

Is there any evidence that the number of weeks worked per year has declined over the past five or ten years due to increased holidays, or time off for other purposes?

There is no clear evidence concerning this. The first report by ISTAT Work-life balance and fertility rates presented in December 2005 did not investigate the issue (see the IU Parental leave and work–life balance)

Days of work per week

Is the five-day week the predominant norm, as opposed to other patterns – four days, four and a half-days, five and a half-days, six days?

Are there any obvious trends in this respect – for example, to reduce the number of days worked per week, but to increase the number of hours worked each day?

There are two contrasting trends: on the one hand, public sector working times changed in the 90s from 6 to 5 days a week, while commerce employees, with labour contract stating a 6-days week, are on the increase. Figures from the 2006 Ires Nazionale survey support this views: one employee over three report working six days a week, varying from 20.1% in manufacturing to 38.7% in services up to 56.2% in agriculture. The six-days week is slightly more widespread amongst women than men (34.8% with respect to 32.6%), although amongst men this is often due to overtime. Finally, non-permanent employees work six days a week more often than permanent ones (44.1% with respect to 29.9%).

Table 7 Share of employees having a 6 days working week
% values
  6 days working week
men 32.6%
women 34.8%
Agriculture 56.2%
Manufacturing 20.1%
services 38.7%
Permanent employees 29.9%
Nonpermanent employees 44.1%
Total 33.5%

Source: Ires Nazionale

Full-time and part-time working

Has part-time working grown relative to full-time working over the past five or ten years?

Are there major gender differences in the patterns of part-time working?

Does the government encourage part-time working, either ‘passively’ (i.e. through the workings of social security or taxation rules) or ‘actively’ (e.g. in the sense of particular incentives being offered)?

The increase of part-time has been quite significant in last 10 years. Implementation of EU directive in 2000 was the turning point thanks to several clauses:

  • end of economic disadvantage for the employers in hiring part time or transforming part-time into full-time;

  • opportunities of overtime for part-timers, which was forbidden by the previous regulation, although with a 48 hours cap, by reproportionating the EU limits on working times;

  • opportunities of seasonal part-time;

  • incentives to temporary transformation of full-time into part-time;

Such provisions were submitted to the supervision of workers’ representatives and a clear definition of working time schedules. The 2001 White paper considered such clauses as “tighting clauses” rather than “elastic ones”. The 2003 labour market reforms removed reference to the principle of proportionality in overtime, supervision of workers’ representatives and opportunities to turn into consolidate “structural” overtime into a longer part-time.

Encouragement of part-time is “active” while “passive” regulations did not encourage them: social security still underestimates their weight in determining the pension with a “double penalty”.

According to 2006 Ires Nazionale survey, one employee of seven report that (s)he is working part-time. Almost one woman of four work part time (while one of 14 amongst men). Their share declines with age, with a larger gap from those aged 35-44 to 45-54 age class: from 21.5% amongst those aged 15-24 to 14.7% amongst those aged 35-44 and, finally 9.4% and 7.9% amongst elder workers. Part-time is by large more widespread in services (18% while in manufacturing 8.3% work part-time) and amongst non-permanent workers (24.3% with respect to 10.8% amongst permanent ones).

Table 8 part-time workers
% values
  Share of part-time workers
men 7.3%
women 24.9%
Aged 15-34 18.5%
Aged 35-44 14.7%
Aged 45-54 9.4%
Aged 55-64 7.9%
Agriculture 6.8%
Manufacturing 8.3%
services 18.0%
Permanent employees 10.8%
Nonpermanent employees 24.3%
Total 14.2%

Source: Ires Nazionale

Collective bargaining

What are the main working time concerns and priorities of trade unions in collective bargaining?

Is part-time working generally viewed positively, or accepted reluctantly, by trade unions?

Overtime limitation of company discretion seems the first priority of trade unions. Introduction and implementation of time account was the priority in late 90s-early 2000s. Trade unions’ room to manoeuvre seems however quite limited: overtime is the main way workers have to increase actual pay because of both wage moderation and poor Italian overall productivity performance (see the information update Better working conditions in companies with innovative practices), while companies ask for increasing working time flexibility in order to promptly respond to market fluctuations, as the just signed 2007 metalworkers’ national contract shows.

Unions’ approach towards part-time is twofold: marginal part-time are negatively seen, except in the commerce national contract which allows short part time (min 8 hours) for students and housewives, while a local agreement in the province of Treviso introduce short part-time (min. 13 hours a week) in hotels and restaurants industry along the week end as a way to contrast both undeclared work and collaborations. On the other hand, trade unions consider positively part-time as a temporary measure to improve work-life balance, although they regret their gender segregation and its negative impact over women’s career.

Work schedules

The working day and working week

To what extent does the standard ‘full-time’ working day – 08.00/09.00 to 17.00/18.00 - prevail as the norm?

To what extent does the ‘standard time norm’ of the working week (40 hour, 5 day week) prevail?

The report “La qualità del lavoro in Italia” which summarizes the main results of the 2002 survey carried by Isfol identifies four groups according to working times:

  • high regularity (same days a week and same hours a day), which includes 67% of respondents: they are mainly clerks and skilled workers, having medium and low educational attainments and carrying out repetitive jobs

  • regularity only in daily hours but not in the number of days worked (2.5% of respondents): they are discontinuous workers concentrated in agriculture or services;

  • regularity only in working days (18% of respondents), mainly high skilled and self employed, highly satisfied about their job and their autonomy at work;

  • irregular both in daily hours and working days, including 12% of respondents, at the extreme of the labour market, that is employers and professionals at the one hand, which often report long hours and working more than 45 hours a week, and personal services employees and precarious workers, often undeclared, on the other, which report short hours a day and low satisfaction.

The ISTAT survey “Working time organization: the role of atypical work schedules extensively investigates shift working, it involve about one worker of 5 (20.4%).

By disaggregating according to industry, social services (which includes education, health and social services, public administration) show the highest figures (26.8%), then manufacturing (21.9%) and trade services, which includes commerce, transport and communications (21.7%)

% values

Shift work strongly increases with company size: from 13.2% in companies with less than 15 employees to 40.7% in companies with 250 and more employees.

By disaggregating according to hours worked, those working 31 to 39 hours show the highest figures (about 29% of respondents), while part-timers (15.9%) and marginal timers (13.7%) show the lowest figures.

% values


Source: Istat, 2004

% values


Source: Istat, 2004

Gender differences are noticeably: more men than women work with shifts (respectively 21.7% and 18.4%), due mainly to shift schemes which imply night work, that is 3 shifts schemes (respectively 26.9% and 18.8% of shift workers by gender) and 4 shifts ones (respectively 24.9% and 18.3%).

% values


Source: Istat, 2004

The report also includes distribution of shift workers according to different schemes in those industries where their share is higher. More than 50% of shift workers in social services are concentrated in 4 shifts and 3-shifts schemes, which imply a continuous or semi-continuous functioning (respectively 28.6% and 23%). 44.1% of shift workers have a 2-shifts daily scheme and 33.6% a 3-shifts one.

% values


Source: Istat, 2004

According to 2002 Isfol QWS, employees report more stable working time patterns than self employed but a higher share of shift work. Almost 3/4 employees report working the same working hours everyday (59.2% self employed) while almost 8 employees of 9 report the same number of days a week (less than 3 of 4 amongst self employed). On the other hand, 21.5% of employees report working shiftwork (6.1% self employed)

Table 9 Working time patterns by employment status, 2002
% values
  employees self employed  total
same hours everyday 73,2% 59,2% 69,5%
same number of days a week 88,7% 74,3% 84,8%
shiftwork 21,3% 6,1% 17,2%
 total 73,1% 26,9% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Amongst employees, men report more than women the same working hours everyday (74.8% with respect to 71%) and more frequently shiftwork (24.3% with respect to 17%). While this latter reflect the highest concentration of men in manufacturing with high intensity of capital, the former show that women arrange their daily working time according to their family needs more frequently than men.

Table 10 Employees working time patterns by gender, 2002
% values
  men women   total
same hours everyday 74,8% 71,0% 73,2%
same number of days a week 89,1% 88,0% 88,7%
shiftwork 24,3% 17,1% 21,3%
  total 58,6% 41,4% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

According to 2006 Ires survey, 35.5% of respondents allege working in shift, although their frequency is not investigated. Gender differences are poor, while their share decline as age increases (from 48% for those aged 15-24 to 29.3% for those aged 55-64). When investigating according industry, manufacturing shows the highest figure (41%), then services (34%). Finally, non-permanent employees report shift work more frequently than permanent ones (38% with respect to 34.1%)

Table 11 shiftwork by several characteristics, 2006
% values
  shiftworkers
men 35.1%
women 36.1%
Aged 15-24 48.0%
Aged 25-34 39.9%
Aged 35-44 34.0%
Aged 45-54 30.7%
Aged 55-64 29.3%
Agriculture 18.1%
Manufacturing 41.0%
services 34.1%
Permanent employees 34.7%
Nonpermanent employees 38.0%
Total 35.5%

Source: Ires Nazionale

Non-standard work arrangements

To what extent are non-standard working time arrangements – evening, night and week-end work - mainly limited to those sectors of the economy where it is difficult to avoid – e.g. shift working in continuous process plants or lunch-time and evening work in restaurants?

Is there a tendency for non-standard schedules to enter into other areas of the economy, where it may not be strictly necessary, but where it may have attractions – for employers wishing to make more intensive use of their plant, equipment and other facilities, and for workers wishing to attain a better work-life balance or a more convenient means of taking care of children?

To what extent are weekend working and other non-standard working arrangements the result of seasonal work (such as in tourism)?

Table 12 unsocial working times by contract, 2001
% values
  evening work night work Saturdays work sundays work total
permanent 11 5,8 29 6,4 33,2
non-permanent 11,1 4,3 34,8 7,5 39,2
           
full time 11,4 6 29,6 6,6 33,9
part time 7,9 2,1 28,7 5,9 32,1
           
total 11 5,6 29,5 6,5 33,8

Source: Istat, 2004

According to Isfol 2002 QWS (table 13), self employed work nights more frequently than employees (18.2% with respect to 13.6%): however, these latter work more often 5 to 10 nights per month, i.e. with rotating shifts. It is not investigated how long they work on average per night, since presumably self employed work part of the night, preferably late evenings. By restricting to employees (table 14), men work nights more than women (respectively 18.9% and 6.7%, table 13) since there is a generalized proviso (a 1977 law) defending women from night work except when forecast by both national and company-level bargaining, and in any case when pregnant or with children aged less than 3 years.

Table 13 Night work by occupational status, 2002
% values
  employees self employed  total
none 86,4% 81,8% 85,1%
less than five 7,8% 10,1% 8,4%
5 to 10 nights per month 4,4% 2,9% 4,0%
more than 10 1,5% 5,2% 2,5%
  total 73,1% 26,9% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Table 14 Employees night work by gender, 2002
% values
  men women   total
none 81,1% 93,8% 86,4%
less than five 10,5% 3,8% 7,8%
5 to 10 nights per months 6,2% 1,8% 4,4%
more than 10 2,2% 0,5% 1,5%
  total 58,6% 41,4% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

A disaggregation by industry shows that a significant share of night work is carried out in hotels and restaurants (36.7% of respondents), in health and social services (35.7%), public administration (35.1%), and transport and communication (24.5%). While the former show the highest concentration in “more than 10 nights” (23.7% of respondents), health and social services and transport and communications show the highest figures when “5 to 10 nights” are reported (respectively 17.2% and 14.7%) thus showing their feature of “services to be guaranteed”. Finally public administration, health and social services, and personal services show the highest figures (respectively 19%, 17.5% and 10.6%). Night work is clearly male dominated in such industries. Thus, night work is somewhat extemporary but continuous manufacturing plants.

Disaggregation by occupation shows that unskilled workers (26.4%), trade occupations (23.2%) and technicians (12.3%) report the highest figures of night work. While trade occupation are almost balanced across classes, occupations show decreasing figures as the number of nights increase but craft and skilled workers are exclusively concentrated in “more than 10 night shifts” (10.8%) since some electricity-consumer plants (such as metallurgy) work only on nights because of more favourable electricity prices

Similarly to night work, self employed work more often than employees on Sundays (respectively 45.9% and 22.4%), thus reflecting their concentration in services sector (table 17). When restricting to employees, the share of men working on Sundays is almost the double than women (respectively 28.1% and 14.2%). These figures increase up to 31% for those working without a contract. Employees working on Sundays show lower job satisfaction, lower pace of work, higher repetitiveness and low skills.

Table 17 Sundays work by occupational status, 2002
% values
  employees self employed   total
none 77,6% 54,1% 71,3%
less than five 21,9% 43,9% 27,9%
5 to 10 sundays per months 0,4% 2,0% 0,8%
  total 73,1% 26,9% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Table 18 Employees Sundays work by gender, 2002
% values
  men women   total
none 71,9% 85,8% 77,6%
less than five 27,7% 13,9% 21,9%
5 to 10 sundays per months 0,4% 0,4% 0,4%
  total 58,6% 41,4% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Disaggregation by gender and industry (table 19) shows a widespread work on Sundays in hotels and restaurants (61.8%), agriculture (53.6% of respondents), and health and social services (48.4%). While Sunday work is strongly male dominated in most industries, in agriculture, commerce, and financial intermediaries is women dominated.

Table 19 Employees Sundays work by industry and gender, 2002
% values
  men women total
agriculture and fishing 53,7% 82,0% 53,6%
manufacturing 13,5% 4,2% 11,4%
construction 19,1% 0,0% 16,7%
commerce 11,3% 20,7% 14,3%
hotels and restaurants 84,7% 28,2% 61.8%
transports and communications 36,1% 16,3% 32,4%
financial intermediaries 8,5% 14,2% 14,3%
services to firms 32,7% 16,1% 26,1%
public administration 46,8% 15,0% 37,8%
education 14,7% 2,4% 5,9%
health and social services 66,9% 34,9% 48,4%
personal services 57,4% 16,6% 34,1%
  total 27,3% 12,2% 21,7%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

By disaggregating by occupation and gender (table 20), trade occupations and craft and skilled workers show the highest figures (respectively 49.8% and 65.9%), while professionals, workers and clerks report the lowest (respectively 15.4%, 13% and 11.9%). Men more frequently work on Sundays than women, except armies and craft and skilled workers, where their share is almost negligible.

Table 20 Sundays work by occupation and gender, employees 2002
% values
  men women total
legislators, managers, entrepreneurs 30,0% 18,6% 27,9%
professionals 19,5% 9,4% 15,4%
technicians 31,0% 10,9% 20,8%
clecks 16,3% 6,2% 11,9%
trade occupations 74,0% 33,3% 49,8%
craftmed and skilled workers 55,7% 100,0% 65,9%
workers 14,0% 6,0% 13,0%
unskilled 27,2% 3,3% 22,1%
army 21,7% 24,6% 23,2%
  total 25,9% 12,3% 20,8%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

While 20% of employees report working long more than ten hours a day at least once a month (1.6% more than five times), 35.2% of self-employed report working more than 10 hours a day one to five times a month, and 20.3% five to ten times a month (table 21). When restricting to employees, 27.5% of men 9.8% of women report at least one long working day a month (table 22).

Table 21 Long working days by occupational status, 2002
% values
  employees self employed   total
none 79,9% 44,4% 70,3%
less than five long working days per month 18,5% 35,2% 23,0%
five to ten 1,6% 20,3% 6,6%
  total 73,1% 26,9% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Table 22 Long working days by gender, employees 2002
% values
  men women   total
none 72,6% 90,2% 79,9%
less than five long working days per month 25,0% 9,5% 18,5%
five to ten 2,5% 0,4% 1,6%
  total 58,6% 41,4% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

According to the 2006 Ires Nazionale survey, 20% of respondents report night work and 25.1% work on Sunday (table 23). Men working nights are almost twice as many as women, while manufacturing show significantly higher shares than both agriculture and services (28.9% with respect to 16.6%). Workers, high skilled and managers report higher share of night work: presumably, while the former work according regular or rotating shifts, these latter work a part of the night with the less unsocial hours, while clerks are the less affected (9.5%). Finally, neither age nor employment status significantly affect their share. On the other hand, one respondent over four report working on Sundays: men work on Sundays more often than women (respectively 26.8% and 22.4%) and non-permanent employees more than permanent ones (respectively 33.7% and 22.1%). Sunday work occurrence decline with age, although the share is almost stable when aged more than 35, while agriculture (36%) and services are sectors where its occurrence is higher. When investigating according to professional status, Sunday work affect 61.1% of trade workers, 40.9% of high skilled and 34.4% of managers, while teachers are the less affected (3.1%).

Table 23 Unsocial working times by several characteristics, employees 2006
% values
  Night work Work on Sundays
men 24.7% 26.8%
women 12.7% 22.4%
Aged 15-24 20.0% 30.1%
Aged 25-34 20.6% 27.9%
Aged 35-44 21.2% 22.8%
Aged 45-54 18.3% 23.4%
Aged 55-64 20.4% 23.9%
Agriculture 16.6% 36.0%
Manufacturing 26.9% 14.9%
services 16.6% 29.6%
Permanent employees 20.1% 22.1%
Nonpermanent employees 19.8% 33.7%
workers 28.5% 23.0%
Trade professions 15.0% 61.1%
High skilled 36.0% 40.9%
Teacher 1.8% 3.1%
Clerical tasks 9.5% 18.9%
managers 29.2% 34.4%
Total 20.0% 25.1%

Source: Ires Nazionale

Shift working

How important is regular shift working (as opposed to occasional shifts to cope with increased temporary demand) in your country?

Is shift-working predominantly carried out in specific sectors, and is there any tendency for it to decline (for example as a result of reducing capacity in traditional sectors) or to increase (as employers everywhere seek to make more intensive use of capital investments)?

What kinds of shift systems dominate – regular mornings, afternoon or nights or mixed patterns?

This point is investigated by no nation-wide survey carried out in Italy.

Organisation of working time

Flexibility of working time

How far do individual workers have influence over their own working time arrangements – for example over the time they start and end work?

To what extent is it possible to ‘bank’ hours or days of work – for example to work extra hours for a number of days in order to take day(s) off?

To what extent can workers determine their own work schedules - in other words, work when they like, so long as the work is delivered on time?

From an employee perspective, can a distinction be drawn between ‘positive’ flexibility concerning working time (i.e. arrangements that suit them) and ‘negative’ flexibility (arrangements that suit their employers), or are most arrangements by mutual consent?

Is there evidence that people with higher ranking, better paid jobs are more likely to have greater flexibility regarding their working time arrangements than those with lower ranking/less well paid jobs?

Are there major differences between non-manual workers and manual workers in terms of such flexibility?

Are there major differences between public sector and private sector workers in terms of such flexibility?

Are any major gender differences – for example, are men and women seen to be subject to more or less ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ flexibility?

According to the ISTAT survey ‘Working time organisation: role of atypical work schedules’, 27.5% of workers enjoy flexible work arrangement (table 24): 7.8% enjoy of individual time account, while 6% respectively of annual amount of flexibility responding to company needs thanks to individual agreement, while 3.7% of respondents enjoy of full flexibility over their working time. By disaggregating according to industry, agriculture workers show the highest share of workers with flexible working times, based especially on individual agreement (16.7%) and full flexibility (93%), while those in manufacturing the lowest (21.4%), mainly based on individual time account (5.9%) annual amount of flexibility (4.9%). Service sectors rank from 26.5% in social services (mainly individual time account, 10.8%, and annual amount, 6.3%) up to 36.1% in personal services, mainly based on individual agreements, 14.3% (see also the National Questionnaire of the report “Combining family and full-time work” ).

Table 24 - Employees per type of working time and usual working time
April 2001, % values
  Individual time account Annual amount company needs Other contractual flexibility Individual agreement Full flexibility Total Flexible working time
 Agriculture 4.2 6.7 3.3 16.7 9.3 40.2
Manufacturing 5.9 4.9 3.2 4.3 3.1 21.4
Construction 4.8 5.9 3.2 11.8 5.3 31.0
Services to enterprises 9.3 6.8 4.8 7.5 4.3 32.7
Trade services 7.0 7.1 4.3 6.8 4.4 29.6
social services 10.8 6.3 4.6 2.6 2.2 26.5
personal services 6.0 5.9 3.7 14.3 6.2 36.1
Total 7.8 6,0 4,0 6,0 3,7 27,5

Source: Istat, 2004

Company size plays an important role in working time flexibilities, both in levels and its composition, according to a U-shaped pattern (fig. 7): companies with less then 15 employees report the highest level (30.6%), declines to 23.1% in companies with 15 to 49 employees and then increase up to 28% in companies with more than 250 employees. Contractual flexibilities (such as individual time amount and annual amounts responding to company needs) increase with company size, while both flexibilities based on individual agreements and full flexibility decline with company size.

Flexible work arrangements are highest when working time is less than 15 hours (marginal time, 33.6%) or over 40 hours (long working time, 39.7%): both situations show the highest values for both individual agreements and full flexibility, although this latter shows the highest values for annual flexibility (9%). Time accounts play a major role when working time is 31 to 36 hours (mainly long part-time and public sector, 12%) and 37 to 39 hours, the weekly working set by most national labour contracts (fig. 8, see the Eiro Comparative study “Working time developments - 2006”)

% values


Source: Istat, 2004

% values

In general, working time flexibility tends to increase as occupational status increase, from 19% of workers up to 61.7% of managers and legislators (fig. 9). However, unskilled show a higher flexibility rate than both skilled and semi-skilled workers, mainly due to individual agreement (9%). Managers report the highest figures for all working time flexibilities but individual agreements, professionals show higher figures than average for all contractual flexibilities, while technicians and clerks for individual time account only (respectively 9.5% and 11.5%).

Permanent full time workers show the lowest overall flexibility figure (26.9%), although annual amount is above average (8.1%), while individual arrangements and full flexibility are the main sources for both non-permanent and part time workers (fig. 10).

% values


Source: Istat, 2004

% values


Source: Istat, 2004

Isfol surveys do not investigate this issue, while it is extensively explored by 2006 Ires Nazionale survey. First, several issues about working times flexibility are investigated. 42.5% of respondents report that overtime is notified with fair advance, while 35.8% allege it is notified with poor or no advance; 44% enjoy of flexible entry/exit, 32% of time account, 75.2% of leaves when needed while 51.2% report their working time varies according to seasonal fluctuations or peaks.

In general, men report significantly more frequently than women fair advance in overtime communication (respectively 44% and 40.1%), leaves when needed (respectively 76.3% and 73.6%) and time account (respectively 32.6% and 31%). Permanent workers enjoy of better opportunities for all these items, especially time accounts and leaves: therefore, these latter respond to employer’s needs not only because of their hiring but also during the employment relationship.

Table 25 Working time flexibilities by gender and employment status
% values
  Overtime with fair advance Flexible entry/exit Time account Overtime with no or poor advance Leaves when needed Peaks and seasonal fluctuations
men 44.0% 44.2% 32.6% 35.6% 76.3% 51.4%
women 40.1% 43.8% 31.0% 36.1% 73.6% 50.9%
Permanent employees 45.2% 45.7% 37.6% 35.1% 80.2% 47.9%
Nonpermanent employees 34.7% 39.2% 15.0% 37.9% 60.6% 61.3%
Total 42.5% 44.0% 32.0% 35.8% 75.2% 51.2%

Source: Ires Nazionale

Age strongly affect working time flexibilities: respondents aged 35-44 report more frequently overtime with fair advance, flexible entry/exit, time account and leaves when needed are increasingly report as age of respondents increase while both “overtime with no or poor advance” and “peak and seasonal variations” decline with age, except the case of respondent aged 55-64 in the latter. Therefore, room to manoeuvre tends to increase with age up to 45-54 (except overtime with fair advance) and then declines.

Table 26 Working time flexibilities by age
% values
  Overtime with fair advance Flexible entry/exit Time account Overtime with no or poor advance Leaves when needed Peaks and seasonal fluctuations
Aged 15-24 42.4% 37.9% 17.7% 40.0% 66.5% 59.9%
Aged 15-34 43.3% 41.6% 26.7% 38.7% 73.8% 55.4%
Aged 35-44 44.5% 43.7% 35.3% 35.5% 76.5% 50.3%
Aged 45-54 41.1% 47.7% 36.8% 33.7% 77.9% 45.8%
Aged 55-64 39.3% 47.2% 36.3% 31.2% 77.1% 49.5%
Total 42.5% 44.0% 32.0% 35.8% 75.2% 51.2%

Source: Ires Nazionale

When investigating by industry, respondents in manufacturing report better opportunities in “overtime with fair advance” and “leaves when needed”, while those working in services report better conditions for the other items.

When investigating according occupation, workers report the highest figure of “overtime with fair advance” (50.5%), low levels of flexible entry/exit (27.4%) and time account (25.3%), and exposure to fluctuations above average (55.7%). Trade professions report low levels of flexible entry/exit (35%), the lowest levels in both time account (16.3%) and leaves when needed (56.4%) and the highest exposure to peaks and seasonal fluctuations (66.1%). High skilled workers report low overtime with fair advance but report the highest lack of advance (47.3%) but both flexible entry/exit (50.8%) and time account (36.1%) above average while they report exposure to fluctuations lower than average (45.8%). Teachers report all the items below average, especially flexible entry/exit and overtime with poor or no advance. Clerks report the highest share in time account (43.9%), leaves when needed (85.2%), flexible entry/exit above average with overtime and fluctuations below average. Finally, managers report highest figures in flexible entry/exit and leaves when needed, and the lowest for overtime, both with fair and poor advance. It is worth to note the concentration of these latter in public sector.

Table 27 Working time flexibilities by industry
% values
  Overtime with fair advance Flexible entry/exit Time account Overtime with no or poor advance Leaves when needed Peaks and seasonal fluctuations
Agriculture 32.2% 42.7% 15.4% 38.2% 63.9% 79.6%
Manufacturing 50.3% 36.5% 31.8% 38.8% 78.1% 51.2%
services 39.2% 48.3% 33.6% 34.0% 74.7% 48.7%
Total 42.5% 44.0% 32.0% 35.8% 75.2% 51.2%

Source: Ires Nazionale

Table 28 Working time flexibilities by occupation
Table Summary - Required
  Overtime with fair advance Flexible entry/exit Time account Overtime with no or poor advance Leaves when needed Peaks and seasonal fluctuations
workers 50.5% 27.4% 25.3% 38.9% 70.3% 55.7%
Trade professions 41.3% 35.0% 16.3% 46.5% 56.4% 66.1%
High skilled 36.6% 50.8% 36.1% 47.3% 73.4% 45.8%
Teacher 35.1% 23.7% 21.8% 14.8% 71.1% 40.3%
Clerical tasks 38.2% 64.3% 43.9% 32.8% 85.2% 46.0%
managers 32.8% 72.9% 29.7% 27.0% 85.2% 54.0%
Total 42.5% 44.0% 32.0% 35.8% 75.2% 51.2%

Source: Ires Nazionale

Further, this survey investigates how such flexibilities as a whole are managed. 34.3% of respondents report that they are unilaterally managed by the employer, 26.3% bargained individually and 26.8% bargained collectively. Finally, 12.6% report they manage at their will. Since “flexibilities” is usually felt as responding to companies’ needs, respondents presumably excluded leaves from their reporting.

Men report higher figures in collective regulation and in employee’s free choice than women, which in turn report more often employer unilaterality and individual bargaining. Composition effects cannot be explored.

Non-permanent employees report higher employer unilateral decision than permanent ones (respectively 45.4% and 30.4%) and poorer opportunities in collective bargaining (respectively 14.2% and 31.3%), partly mitigated by better opportunities in individual bargaining (respectively 28.5% and 25.5%).

Table 29 Management of flexibilities by gender and employment status
% values
  Unilaterally by employer Bargained individually Bargained collectively Unilaterally by employees
men 33.0% 25.6% 28.0% 13.4%
women 36.5% 27.4% 24.9% 11.3%
Permanent employees 30.4% 25.5% 31.3% 12.8%
Nonpermanent employees 45.4% 28.5% 14.2% 11.9%
Total 34.3% 26.3% 26.8% 12.6%

Source: Ires Nazionale

When disaggregating by age, employers’ unilateral management declines from 48.5% when respondents are age 15-24 to 27.9% when they are 45-54, then increase for aged 55-64 to 33%. Individual bargaining shows more and less stable figures across aged 15-54, then sharply declines for older employees to 19.3%. Collective bargaining increase from 18.8% for those aged 15-24 to 31.3% for those aged 45-54, then moderately decline for those aged 55-64 to 30%. Finally, unilateral setting by employee increase from 6.2% amongst those aged 15-24 to 17.7% amongst those aged 55-64.

Table 30 Management of flexibilities by age classes
% values
  Unilaterally by employer Bargained individually Bargained collectively Unilaterally by employees
Aged 15-24 48.6% 26.4% 18.8% 6.2%
Aged 15-34 35.6% 28.1% 24.5% 11.8%
Aged 35-44 34.3% 27.0% 26.4% 12.3%
Aged 45-54 27.9% 26.6% 31.3% 14.1%
Aged 55-64 33.0% 19.3% 30.0% 17.7%
Total 34.3% 26.3% 26.8% 12.6%

Source: Ires Nazionale

When disaggregating by industry, agriculture shows the highest figures both in unilateral management by employer (47.8%) and individual bargaining (32.8%) and the lowest in collective bargaining. Manufacturing shows the lowest figures in unilateral management by employees (9.8%) and services the highest figures both in collective bargaining (28.1%) and unilateral management by employees (14.2%).

Table 31 Management of flexibilities by industry
% values
  Unilaterally by employer Bargained individually Bargained collectively Unilaterally by employees
Agriculture 47.3% 32.8% 8.1% 11.8%
Manufacturing 36.7% 25.9% 27.7% 9.8%
services 31.9% 25.9% 28.1% 14.2%
Total 34.3% 26.3% 26.8% 12.6%

Source: Ires Nazionale

When disaggregating according occupation, workers and trade occupations report the highest figures in unilateral management by employer (respectively 45.2% and 47.7%) and the lowest in unilateral opportunities by employee (respectively 6.5% and 7.5%), further, trade occupations report the lower figures as well in collective bargaining (17.1%). High skilled employees report the closest figures to average, while teachers report the highest figures in collective bargaining (42.4%). Clerks report unilateral employer’s management below average (23.1%) and, conversely, both collective bargaining (30.2%) and unilateral employee’s management (18.7%), while managers report the lowest figures in employer’s unilateral setting (13.1%) and the highest figures in both individual bargaining (35.6%) and employee’s unilateral management (26.3%).

Table 32 Management of flexibilities by occupation
% values
  Unilaterally by employer Bargained individually Bargained collectively Unilaterally by employees
workers 45.2% 25.1% 23.2% 6.5%
Trade professions 47.7% 27.7% 17.1% 7.5%
High skilled 33.5% 24.9% 28.1% 13.5%
Teacher 27.8% 18.4% 42.4% 11.5%
Clerical tasks 23.1% 28.0% 30.2% 18.7%
managers 13.1% 35.6% 25.0% 26.3%
Total 34.3% 26.3% 26.8% 12.6%

Source: Ires Nazionale

Other working time issues

Multiple job holding

How widespread is the practice of multiple job holding in your country?

Are second or third jobs primarily seen as supplementary sources of income relative to a main job, or are all the different jobs seen as equally valid?

In Italy, when referring to second job, it is implicitly assumed as undeclared, while there is no evidence about multiple regular job holding (such as combination of part-time with either another part-time job or collaborations). Almost 5% of respondents allege doing a second job, while 1.9% of employees and 1% of self employed report not having time at all. Amongst employees, 6% of men and 3.9% of women report having “poor” or “enough” time for a second job.

Table 33 Time for second job by employment status, 2002
% values
  employees self employed   total
no second job 93,0% 93,3% 93,1%
at all 1,9% 1,0% 1,7%
poor 2,6% 3,2% 2,8%
enough 2,5% 2,5% 2,5%
  total 73,1% 26,9% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Table 34 Employees time for second job by gender, 2002
% values
  men women   total
no second job 92,2% 94,2% 93,0%
at all 1,9% 1,8% 1,9%
poor 3,0% 2,1% 2,6%
enough 3,0% 1,8% 2,5%
  58,6% 41,4% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

When investigating characters of the second job, 41.4% of employees and 27.4% of self employed report it is stable, while variability is the main feature.

Table 35 Characters of second job by employment status, 2002
% values
  employees self employed   total
Stable 41,4% 27,6% 37,4%
Staggering 49,1% 43,5% 47,4%
Seasonal 9,5% 28,9% 15,2%
  Total 70,8% 29,2% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Table 36 Characters of employees’ second job by gender, 2002
% values
  Men women   total
stable 39,1% 46,3% 41,4%
staggering 51,0% 44,9% 49,1%
seasonal 9,9% 8,8% 9,5%
  total 67,9% 32,1% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Respondents reporting stable second job show different pattern according to occupational status. While 42.7% of employees work 9 to 16 hours a week and 39.5% less than 8 hours a week, self employed show a wider engagement in the second job: 62.5% work 9 to 16 hours and 22.3% more than 16 hours, thus showing a different pattern and probably a lower share of undeclared second job. When investigating across employees, an higher share of women work more than 16 hours a week than men (respectively 33.9% and 8.7%), presumably as an integration of a part time job.

Table 37 Weekly hours for stable second job by employment status
% values
  employees self employed   total
less than 8 hours 39,5% 8,2% 32,8%
9-16 hours 42,7% 69,5% 48,5%
more than 16 hours 17,8% 22,3% 18,7%
  total 78,4% 21,6% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Table 38 Weekly hours for stable second job performed by employees by gender
% values
  men women   total
less than 8 hours 39,1% 40,4% 39,5%
9-16 hours 52,2% 25,7% 42,7%
more than 16 hours 8,7% 33,9% 17,8%
  total 64,1% 35,9% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Seasonal job holding shows similar pattern across occupational status: 54.4% work more than 3 months, therefore more than the usual summer or winter job. Amongst employees, about two men over three reporting a seasonal second job work more than 3 months a year, while 77.2% of women less than three months a year: while seasonal second job is somewhat “structural” for men, for women is just a short integration.

Table 39 Length of seasonal second job by employment status
Table Summary - Required
  employees self employed   total
less than 3 months 46,1% 45,1% 45,6%
more than 3 months 53,9% 54,9% 54,4%
  total 44,4% 55,6% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Table 40 Length of seasonal second job by gender. Employees 2002
% values
  men women   total
less than 3 months 33,1% 77,2% 46,1%
more than 3 months 66,9% 22,8% 53,9%
  total 70,5% 29,5% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Such a pattern is validated when investigating staggered second job. 3 self employed over 4 devote less than 5 days a month (presumably a sort of “vertical” second job) while 32.6% of employees work 5 to 10 days a months and 25% more than 10 days a month, showing a wider “regularity”, a sort of discontinuous “horizontal” second job. Such pattern is strongly affected by men attitude – 39% work 5 to 10 days a month and 29.2% more than days a months – while women show a pattern closer to self employed.

Table 41 Days per month in staggered second job by employment status
% values
  employees self employed   total
less than 5 days a month 42,4% 75,5% 51,3%
5-10 days a month 32,6% 14,2% 27,7%
more than 10 days 25,0% 10,3% 21,1%
  total 73,2% 26,8% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Table 42 Days per month in staggered second job by gender. 2002, employees
% values
  men women   total
less than 5 days a month 31,8% 67,9% 42,4%
5-10 days a month 39,0% 17,1% 32,6%
more than 10 days 29,2% 15,0% 25,0%
  total 70,6% 29,4% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Commuting time

How much time does commuting typically add to the average ‘working day’ (in the sense of time spent away from home)?

Is commuting commonplace for everybody, or does the time spent vary in any systematic way – such as according to the type of job, or whether people live in urban or rural areas?

Is the development of teleworking (full-time or part-time) seen as a viable and attractive alternative to commuting?

According to the report of the 2002 edition of QWS, average commuting time is 39 minutes a day, which increase to 45 in cities over 300,000 inhabitants, while those living in small and medium cities (20,000 to 300,000 inhabitants) report 35 minutes a day in commuting time. Shiftworkers and those with irregular working times (Type D.) above) report the highest commuting time (respectively 48 and 54 minutes) while self employed the lowest (25 minutes)

Analytically, almost 30% of employees and 59% of self employed spend less than 15 minutes a day in commuting time, 52.9% of employees and 33.9% of self-employed spend 15 minutes to one hour a day, while 16.2% of employees an 7% of self-employed spend more than 1 hour a day.

Gender differences amongst employees show that women commuting patterns are more segmented: 31.4% of women and 28.6% of men spent less than 15 minutes a day, while 17.4% of women (10% of men) spend 1 to 2 hours a day. Women tend to search a job closer to home in order to better face their domestic and family tasks, but when they seek for a job matching with their competences they have to enlarge the search area. Further, teleworking is poorly developed and limited to some area of public services and call centre’s tasks (see the national questionnaire “place of work”)

Table 43 - Commuting time by employment status, 2002
% value
  employees self employed   total
less than 15 minutes 29,9% 59,0% 36,5%
15-30 minutes 29,9% 18,7% 27,4%
31-60 minutes 24,0% 15,2% 22,0%
1 to 2 hours 13,3% 6,7% 11,8%
more than 2 hours 2,9% 0,3% 2,3%
  total 77,3% 22,7% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

Table 44 - Commuting time by gender. 2002, employees
% values
  men women   total
less than 15 minutes 28,6% 31,4% 29,9%
15-30 minutes 30,6% 29,0% 29,9%
31-60 minutes 26,7% 20,7% 24,0%
1 to 2 hours 10,0% 17,4% 13,3%
more than 2 hours 4,1% 1,5% 2,9%
  total 55,1% 44,9% 100,0%

Source: our calculations over Isfol Quality of Work Survey 2002

According to the Istat report “I tempi della vita quotidiana”, there is a generalised shift of working time across occupations: less qualified start and end working earlier while 50% managers are still at work at 18:30 while only 25% of unskilled workers are. Self employed show a wider overlapping between working and private times with more transitions from one activity to another.

Table 45 budget time by occupational status, 2002-2003
Hours and minutes
  Care of self and others Working activites commuting Other use
Permanent employee 12:10 7:40 1:00 3:10
Non-permanent employee 12:07 7:07 1:05 3:40
“traditional” self employed 12:00 8:15 1:00 2:45
contract-related self employed 11:25 7:29 1:10 3:56

Source: Istat, 2007

Unpaid working hours (of those in work)

Is there much debate about the impact of time spent on unpaid work in the home, as well as time spent on paid work, on work-life balance, especially between men and women?

Are there pressures for non-paid work to be more recognised, and for the work involved to be shared more evenly between partners?

According to the Istat report “I tempi della vita quotidiana”, working women show a decline in both paid and unpaid work, respectively from 4h36’ (1988-1989) to 4h32’ (2002-2003) and, more markedly, from 4h19’ (1988-1989) to 3h58’(2002-2003). Men report a moderate increase in both work, respectively from 6h1’ (1988-1989) to 6h7’ (2002-2003) and from 1h 3’(1988-1989) to 1h 14’(2002-2003). Thus, gender gap in total working time declines from 1h51’ (1988-1989) to 1h 9’(2002-2003): although the gap in unpaid gap reduced by 30’ and women employment increased, the male breadwinner model still persists. In general (population aged more than 3 years), women report unpaid work for domestic tasks 4h30’, while men 1h28’ only.

Working women with children report 1h36’ more unpaid work than those without children.

1988-1989 and 2002-2003 values (hours and minutes)


Source: Istat, 2007

Composite indicators of weekly working hours

Composite indicators of weekly working hours have been developed for full-time and part-time workers, both male and female, which include time spent in unpaid as well as paid work and time spent commuting. What do you see as the most significant implications of these indicators so far as your country is concerned?

There is no debate over this point amongst stakeholders.

Mario Giaccone, Fondazione Seveso

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