Employment in Italy

In Italy, every person that wants to work legally as an employee needs to have an employment contract (“contratto di lavoro”).

The employment contract contains information including job title, salary, responsibilities, duties, sick pay, holidays, and notice periods, as well as all the rights and obligations of both parties.

National employment legislation, collective agreements, and work council agreements are the main sources of employment law in Italy, which govern employment conditions, benefits, and health and safety regulations.

There is no government-regulated minimum wage in Italy. Because of this, the minimum wage is determined by collective bargaining agreements on a sector-by-sector basis, or individual contract negotiation.

The standard working time is 40 hours a week,  8 hours a day. 

Employees in Italy are entitled to a minimum of 28 days, or four weeks, of paid leave per year.

Sick Leave is specified by the employee’s labor agreement.

Pregnant workers are entitled to 5 months maternity leave. During maternity leave, the employee is entitled to receive 80% of her regular pay from the social security system.

Paternity leave consists of 10 days, which can be taken during the first five months following the child’s birth. During paternity leave, the employee is entitled to receive 100% of his regular pay from the social security system.



This is the standard type of employment contract in Italy. 

It is possible to work with a permanent contract full-time or part-time, and it does not have an expiry date.

The termination of this contract requires a notice period and a set of dismissal policies.


This is a subordinate employment contract, in which a predetermined duration is foreseen. In order to be valid, it has to be in compliance with certain conditions: 

  • Firstly, the fixed term has no effect unless it is stated in a written document, except for employment relationships lasting no more than 12 days.
  • Secondly, the maximum duration of the fixed-term contract is currently set at 12 months, with the possibility of extension to 24 months only if at least one of the following conditions is met:
    • temporary and objective needs, unrelated to ordinary activities
    • needs to replace other workers
    • needs related to temporary, significant and non-programmable increases in ordinary activity

Therefore, the fixed-term contract cannot have a duration of more than 24 months, including extensions of several contracts. If employment continues for: a) ten days beyond the expiry date, the employer is liable to pay 20% extra remuneration; b) 20 days beyond the end date, 40% extra remuneration. If the number of extensions is higher, the contract is transformed into a permanent contract from the starting date of the fifth extension.

  • Thirdly, in general terms, employers can hire temporary workers to an extent not exceeding 20% of the number of permanent workers in force on 1 January of the year of employment (unless otherwise provided by collective agreements). In case of violation of the percentage limit, an administrative sanction is imposed. 



Subordinate employment contracts, besides being entered into directly by the company needing the worker, may also be carried out through employment agencies (e.g. Temporary, Adecco, Gi Group) which the company uses in search of personnel.

In this case, the contract is entered into with the employment agency. Workers have the right to general economic and regulatory conditions not inferior to those of employees of the same level hired directly by the company.

The company making use of this service binds itself jointly and severally with the employment agency to pay salaries and relevant national insurance taxes.


This is a type of employment relationship in which an employee makes himself or herself available to carry out activities on behalf of an employer periodically or intermittently, at the discretion of the employer (or “on call”),  pursuant to a permanent or temporary agreement signed by the parties. In most cases, the maximum duration of the contract is 400 working days in the course of three years. There are some exceptions for some sectors such as tourism. Employers may call  employees under 24 or over 55 (including retirees) years of age only under the following circumstances:

  • to carry out intermittent duties as provided by national collective bargaining agreements on the basis of the company’s needs
  • to carry out duties limited to weekly, monthly or yearly terms as set by national collective bargaining agreements
  • to carry out the intermittent duties set forth in royal decree no. 2657/1923 (e.g., attendants, doorkeepers, delivery persons).



This is the work carried out by those who provide assistance at home to a single person or to a family unit.

Domestic workers are subordinate workers. Domestic workers can be employed with a temporary or permanent contract and may or may not cohabit with the family unit or single individual.

The employment letter of domestic workers must indicate their classification – which varies depending on the mansions – the hourly or monthly remuneration, whether or not board and lodging are included, working hours. 

Employers are required to communicate said employment and specific agreements to INPS through a specific procedure online.

Employers must provide the worker with monthly pay packets and with a CUD (Single Certificate for Employees) at the end of the year. Domestic workers have the same rights as all employees in terms of holidays, ordinary and extraordinary working hours, sickness and maternity leave.

However, since it is an employment relationship carried out at home, it is important for employers and workers to have a relationship based on trust, considering that it is the only type of employment relationship that provides for unappealable dismissal without specific reasons. 

Therefore, in the event of sudden dismissal, workers have the right to a notice substitutive indemnity and to other items required for contract termination. However, they cannot challenge the legitimacy of the decision. Domestic workers have the right to unemployment benefits.


These are subordinate employment contracts, reserved for workers between 15 and 29 years old, which besides providing a work activity also provide practical and theoretical training.

At the end of the apprenticeship, if none of the parties rescind, the relationship continues as an ordinary permanent subordinate employment contract.

Apprenticeship contracts are associated with a training path that – with the exception of a vocational apprenticeship – is organized by a training institution with the involvement of an enterprise.

A contract of employment in Italy can be terminated in the following ways:

  • resignation
  • dismissal by the employer
  • expiry of a fixed term
  • mutual agreement
  • retirement