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Hiring in Italy
CBAs, or Collective Bargaining Agreements, between trade unions and employers’ associations are common in all sectors. National CBAs are only binding if the company is a member of the relevant employers’ association. If a company is not a member, it does not have to apply the rules agreed to via CBA. However, the agreement applies if reference is made to it in the employment contract or the employer adopts its terms.
Employment contracts in Italy
It is legally required to put a strong employment contract in place in Italy which spells out the terms of the employee’s compensation, employee level (salaried employees, middle managers, and executives), benefits, PTO, notice period, probationary period, if any, holidays and paid leave, and termination requirements. An employment contract in Italy should always state the salary and any compensation amounts in gross euros rather than an alternate currency. Many terms of an employment contract are dictated by the applicable CBA.
Working hours in Italy
The normal workweek for an employee consists of 40 hours, and in case of overtime, the following rules apply:
The middle manager level (the quadro level) is entitled to a 30% hourly increase for working on Sundays or holidays, but no additional pay on Saturdays. Overtime does not apply to executives in Italy.
Salaried workers are entitled to a 15% hourly increase for 8 hours (or less) of overtime a week, a 20% increase for 8+ hours a week, and 30% for holidays and Sundays. As a general rule, overtime has to always be approved by the employer.
An employee whose overtime exceeds 6 hours per day is entitled to a rest break. Typically, CBAs regulate rest breaks but should be at least 10 minutes long.
Holidays in Italy
When hiring in Italy, companies need to follow Italy’s calendar holidays.
Every Sunday is an official public holiday in Italy and the country also recognizes the following public holidays and a Patron Day (the day varies as it is determined by each territory):
- New Year’s Day
- Sunday Easter
- Monday Easter
- Liberation Day
- International Worker’s Day / Labor Day
- Republic Day
- Assumption Day
- All Saints’ Day
- Immaculate Conception
- Christmas Day
- Saint Stephen’s Day
- Patron Saints
Vacation days in Italy
Legislation provides employees in Italy with a minimum of 4 weeks of paid annual leave per year. However, the applicable CBA may provide more favorable terms. According to the CBA of the trade sector, one of the most common CBAs in Italy, employees are granted a minimum of 22 days of vacation called “ferie” (25 is the minimum provided for executive levels).
In addition to the vacation days, employees are entitled to hourly paid leave as follows:
- For employees with seniority of up to 2 years: 32 hours per year
- For employees with seniority of up to 4 years: 78 hours per year
- For employees with seniority of 4+ years: 104 hours per year
Vacation days are in addition to the 11 public holidays granted to employees each year. It’s important to note that in Italy “ferie” days don’t expire, and if they are not used, the days will be accrued and paid out at the end of the employment relationship.
Furthermore, employees must take at least 2 consecutive weeks (not fractionated) of vacation time. The remaining vacation days can be taken at the discretion of the employee throughout the year.
On the other hand, PTO hours that are not used within the first 2 years of employment expire and are paid within the 18 months following their accrual.
Italy sick leave
Employees are required to provide medical certification in order to take sick leave and claim sick pay. The first 3 days of illness are not covered by INPS (National Social Security Institute) but are paid by the employer.
Daily sick pay is owed from the 4th day of illness onwards and for all the days covered by sick leave for a maximum duration of 180 days per calendar year. The amount of the benefit paid by INPS to employees on sick leave varies. It amounts to 50% of the daily overall average remuneration for the days covered by sick leave and including between the 4th and the 20th day of sick leave, a percentage which rises to 66.66% from the 21st day.
Maternity/parental leave in Italy
Pregnant employees are entitled to 5 months of maternity leave. The employee can decide how to distribute this time: 2 months before the birth date and 3 months after the birth date, 1 month before the birth date and 4 months after the birth date, or all 5 months after the birth date.
Throughout the maternity leave, a daily allowance is granted equal to 80% of the last salary paid through the INPS.
Non-birthing employees are entitled to 10 days of paternity leave. Parents can also take parental leave for up to 6 months each, until the child turns 12. Employees receive an allowance during parental leave amounting to 80% of their salary for the first month and 30% of their salary for the second and following months, for a maximum duration of 6 months.
Health insurance in Italy
National health insurance in Italy is managed by the National Health Service (SSN) and funded through direct taxation as well as indirect taxation by employers and employees. Upon registering with the Local Health Service, a social security number and a health card are issued. The health card entitles employees to low or no-cost treatment.
Private health insurance coverage is also available and can be offered through an allowance in the employment contract, so that the employee can choose and purchase the preferred policy. With private insurance, individuals can freely choose their own doctor and specialist, be treated at private hospitals, etc. Many Italy-based employees have private health insurance which pays the portion of medical bills that isn’t covered by social security, and a good private insurance fund is around EUR 2,000.00 per year for a family of 4.
Italy supplementary benefits
Employers are free to provide additional supplementary benefits to employees at their discretion. Some companies provide allowances for company cars, mobile phones, laptops, etc.
Termination/severance in Italy
As a general rule, probationary periods cannot be longer than 6 months for middle manager (quadro) and executive levels. All probationary periods must be outlined in the employment contract. The actual length of the probationary period is determined by the CBAs applied by the employer.
Permanent employment contracts cannot be terminated without a justified reason. Justified reasons include breach of contract/disciplinary reasons, or economic or reorganization reasons. If an employee is dismissed for breach of contract, the employer must follow a specific disciplinary procedure that will involve writing a letter to the employee that sets out the facts behind their alleged breach of contract, giving the employee an opportunity to respond. If the employer still wishes to proceed with the dismissal, they must confirm the dismissal in writing, explaining why the employee’s justifications have not been accepted.
If the dismissal is due to economic reasons, the employer must follow a special procedure provided by the applicable CBA.
Notice or pay in lieu of notice must be provided to employees who are dismissed on a justified basis. The length of the notice period varies based on the applicable CBA. Under the trade sector CBA, the notice period ranges from 15 to 120 days, depending on the employee’s level and seniority.
During employment, employers must set aside an annual amount equivalent to 7% of the employee’s pay that is paid to them upon termination as an “end-of-service allowance” called “trattamento di fine rapporto” (TFR). This amount of money is mandatory and is issued regardless of the type of termination (including resignation and dismissal for just cause or death). TFR is calculated on the basis of the employee’s wages, taking into account not only their basic wage, but also any other compensation periodically paid to them.
Paying taxes in Italy
Income tax in Italy is progressive, meaning the higher the income, the higher the rate of tax payable.
- EUR 15,000 or less: 23%
- EUR 15,001 to EUR 28,000: 25%
- EUR 28,001 to EUR 50,000: 35%
- EUR 50,001+: 43%
While there are different rates for social security contributions based on industry sector and management level, the mandatory social security contribution is 33% of the gross salary, of which 23.81% is paid by the employer and 9.19% is paid by the employee.
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