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Last updated on: May 4th, 2023

Labor Requirements

The basic rights of employees are laid out in the Italian Constitution and the Civil Code. There is no central employment law, but there are a variety of laws addressing various aspects of the employment relationship. As a member of the European Union, Italy has agreed to comply with various labor standards shared by all EU countries. For example, the EU 1993 working time directive requires member countries to guarantee paid annual leave of at least four weeks to every worker. A 2003 legislative decree that includes provisions on work hours and leaves brought Italian law into compliance with the directive. Most Italian employees are covered by collective labor agreements.

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

The normal working week is 40 hours, and the maximum working week is an average of 48 hours every seven days, including overtime, calculated over a four-month reference period. Collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) can extend this reference period to six or 12 months provided that there are objective, technical or organizational reasons for doing so, and often provide for a shorter normal working week (for example, 37 or 39 hours).  Legislative Decree of April 8, 2003, No. 66, Work Time, arts. 3-5.


Italy Implementing EU Directive on Predictable and Transparent Work Condition

Decree No.104 of 2022 (‘the Decree’) on the Implementation of the Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union (Directive (EU) 2019/1152) was published in the Official Gazette on 27 June 2022 and shall come into force on 13 August 2022. In particular, Article 1 of the Decree states that its aim is to regulate the right to information in connection to essential elements of the employment relationship.


In addition to the information already existing in an employment contract as per the existing laws, according to the Directive, employers shall now be required to provide employees with training rights, holiday leave duration, the procedure for notice in the case of termination, details of employee’s salary, working time schedule including overtime pay, variability of work schedule, automated decision making on monitoring systems, etc.


Employers are required to provide the above information to the employees either at the time of hiring or within 7 days from the beginning of the employment relationship (with some exceptions which can be provided within one month from the beginning of the employment relationship). The decree also provides that in case of temporary detachment (for example, due to military service), employers are obliged to provide the employees with additional information before they leave e.g. the country, the duration, salary and the currency, any additional benefits, etc.


According to the new decree, if employers fail to comply with the new obligations, employees may raise it with the Labour Authorities and they could face sanctions ranging from 250 EUR to 1,500 EUR for each concerned employee


Work done in excess of 40 hours in a week is considered overtime. The lowest statutory tariffs are 10%  and can be raised by collective bargaining. If not specified otherwise, overtime cannot exceed eight hours weekly or 250 hours per year. Violations can result in the levy of administrative fines. Legislative Decree of April 8, 2003, No. 66, Work Time, art. 5.

Night Work


Night Period: the period of at least 7 consecutive hours including the interval between midnight and five in the morning

Night Worker: who performs during the night period at least:

      • 3 hours of his daily working time used in the normal way.
      • 80 working days per year of night work, re-proportioned for part-time work.

The working hours of night workers cannot exceed eight hours on average in the twenty-four hours, unless collective agreements, including corporate contracts, identify a wider reference period on which to calculate the average above limit. The minimum weekly rest period is not taken into consideration for the calculation of the average when it coincides with the reference period established by the collective agreements. This restriction is specific to the calculation of night hours.


Night work is provided only by suitable personnel; collective labor agreements will establish the requirements of night workers and cases of exclusion. The law does specify any premium/pay/condition, hence it is based on the employment agreement.


Employees are entitled to rest periods of at least 10 minutes after working six consecutive hours, of at least 11 consecutive hours in every 24 and 24 consecutive hours every seven days, typically Sunday. Minimum Weekly Rest Period is not added to the calculation of average hours. The special provisions allowing the use of weekly rest on a day other than Sunday, as well as the exceptions provided for by the law of 22 February 1934, n. 370.

The act does not give a defined compensation for work on the Rest day.


Shift Work – In the case of shift workers due to the change in shift, the worker cannot use the daily rest period in combination with the Weekly Rest period. Weekly Rest Period of 24 consecutive hours every seven days, typically Sunday is usually combined with a daily rest period. But in the case of shift workers due to the change in shift and team, the worker cannot use the daily rest period in combination with the Weekly Rest period.


Minors are guaranteed at least two days of rest per week, preferably consecutive and including Sunday. Legislative Decree of April 8, 2003, No. 66, Work Time, arts. 3-5.



Public Holidays

Italy observes the following public holidays, which for employees are generally treated as paid leave:

      • Jan. 1: New Year’s Day
      • Jan. 6: Epiphany
      • Easter Monday
      • April 25: Liberation Day
      • May 1: Labor Day
      • June 2: Date of the Founding of the Republic
      • Aug. 15: Assumption Day
      • Nov. 1: All Saints’ Day
      • Dec. 8: Feast of the Immaculate Conception
      • Dec. 25: Christmas Day
      • Dec. 26: St. Stephen’s Day

Workers receive an additional day’s pay if a public holiday falls on a Sunday or another day that is not usually a workday. Workers who must work on a holiday are paid overtime.


Pay for Work on Holiday

If Statutory Holiday falls on a workday and if the employee is working on that day then an additional fee equal to 1/6 of your weekly pay for every hour worked. If a Statutory Holiday falls on a Sunday and if the employee is working on that day then he is paid a premium as decided by the CBA.


Holidays which Fall on Non-Working Days

If Holiday falls on a Sunday and its nonworking day a salary bonus is given for having lost a day off. An additional fee of 1/6 of the weekly time must be added to the daily salary If Holiday falls on a Saturday/weekday If it coincides with a compensatory day of rest (for example any day of the week), the worker is not entitled to any additional remuneration.


Each locality also observes an additional holiday to honor its patron saint. Provision on Festive Occasions, No. 260, May 27, 1949.

Annual Leave

Employees are entitled to 4 weeks’ paid annual leave, 2 of those weeks consecutive at the employee’s request. An employer may require an employee to take vacation leave at a specific time in consideration of the needs of the business. Employees cannot take pay instead of annual leave except when the employment relationship is terminated. Two of the four weeks must be taken during the year in which they are earned, although the other two may be carried over for an additional 18 months. Legislative Decree of April 8, 2003, No. 66, Work Time, art. 10 (Italian); Civil Code, 1942 (as amended), art. 2109.

The aforementioned minimum period of four weeks cannot be replaced by relative indemnity for holidays not taken, except in the case of termination of the employment relationship.

Minimum Wage

Italian law does not specify a minimum wage. Wages are usually set by collective labor agreements.

Special Leave

Maternity Leave

Pregnant workers are required to take five months’ maternity leave, which can be taken from two months before delivery and for three months after. As per the amendment effective January 2019, a pregnant employee may choose to start the 5 months of maternity after the childbirth.

During the compulsory rest period, the mother is entitled to 80 percent of her regular pay from the social security system. During the entire pregnancy, the employee must not be allocated tasks that may endanger her health. Following maternity leave, employees are entitled to return to the same job in which they were employed before taking leave.

During the first year following childbirth, working mothers can take two one-hour daily breaks during the workday, one if working time is less than six hours daily. These breaks may be taken off-premises if the employee wishes. During pregnancy and up to seven months after the child’s birth, female workers have the right to be transferred to a different job with no reduction in pay if necessary to protect the mother’s or the child’s health. Employers may not dismiss female employees during pregnancy and until the child is 1 year old except in certain circumstances. Legislative Decree of March 26, 2001, Consolidated Laws on the Protection and Support of Motherhood and Fatherhood, arts. 22, 32, 34, 54; Legislative Decree of June 15, 2015, No. 80, art. 7. Budget Law for 2019 (Law No. 145/2018).

Pregnant employees are allowed to stay at work until the ninth month of pregnancy with the prior authorization of their gynecologist and the competent doctor. This means they can take all of their mandatory maternity leave of five months in full after the birth. Before this legislative change, pregnant employees had to refrain from working two months before the birth (or at least one month before the birth, if authorized). Budget Law for 2019 (Law No. 145/2018).

Paternity Leave

Employed fathers are entitled to 10 days of compulsory Paternity leave, which is an individual right and independent of the mother’s right to Maternity leave. Working father could benefit from 1 extra day, in substitution of the mother and previous agreement with her. Should the mother die or become seriously ill, the father may take paternity leave equal to what the mother would have received in maternity leave, the cost borne by the social security system. The father is also entitled to what would have been the mother’s daily break entitlement if the child is raised by the father only, the mother is not employed or the mother dies or becomes gravely ill. Legislative Decree of March 26, 2001, Consolidated Laws on the Protection and Support of Motherhood and Fatherhood, arts. 28, 34 (Italian); Law No. 92 of 2012, art. 24. The bonus provided to employees for enrolling children in the nursery has been increased to EUR 1500 for 2019. Budget Law for 2019 (Law No. 145/2018).

Sick Leave

Entitlement to sick leave is usually specified by a collective labor agreement. A worker typically gets full pay during sick leave, partly from the employer and partly from the National Social Security Institute.

Parental Leave

Either parent may take parental leave for up to six months each (with an overall limit of 10 months together) during the first 12 years of each child’s life at 30 percent pay.

Smart Working

Requests for smart working should have priority for:

      • Mothers, during the 3 years after the end of the mandatory maternity leave;
      • Both parents, in case of a child affected by disability.

Budget Law for 2019 (Law No. 145/2018).

Disability Leave

The law 104/92 provides that cohabiting spouse, a person with a serious disability has the right to benefit from paid leave within 60 days of the request. The leave cannot exceed a total duration of 2 years for each person with a disability during the working life of the person who assists them. The leave is granted on the condition that the person to be assisted is not hospitalized full-time.

The cohabiting children of the disabled person are also entitled to take advantage of the leave, in the event of the death, absence, or pathology of the cohabiting spouse, and – in the second instance – one of the brothers or sisters living together with the disabled person, in the event of absence or pathology of the children cohabitants. Article 3 of Law 104/92.

Personal Leave

Employees are entitled to 15 days’ paid personal leave at the time of their marriage and occasional days off for family responsibilities, including the death of a relative or the sickness of a child.

Education Leave

Workers with at least five years’ seniority at a company are entitled to 11 months of unpaid education leave, either continuous or intermittent, to attend college or other schools. Collective labor agreements generally specify additional education benefits, such as a number of hours of paid education leave.

Other Paid and Unpaid Leave

Employees are entitled to a paid leave of three working days a year in the event of death or documented serious illness of their spouse or a relative within the second degree or of the cohabitant, provided that the stable cohabitation with the worker or the worker results from registry certification. Alternatively, in cases of documented serious illness, the male and female worker can agree with the employer on different ways of carrying out the work activity. Article. 4 paragraph 1 of Law 8 March 2000, n. 53.


Employees of public or private employers can request, for serious and documented family reasons, including pathologies identified pursuant to Ministerial Decree of 21 July 2000, n. 278, a period of leave, continuous or split, not exceeding two years. During this period, the employee keeps his job, has no right to remuneration, and cannot carry out any type of work activity. The leave is not calculated in the length of service or for social security purposes; the worker can proceed with the redemption, or with the payment of the related contributions, calculated according to the criteria of voluntary continuation. Article. 4 paragraph 2 of Law 8 March 2000, n. 53.

Military Service Leave

An employer must preserve the employee’s position during a period of military service plus 30 days after discharge. The employer is not required to pay the employee during this time but must include the period in calculations of seniority.

Disclaimer: The material provided above is for informational purposes only and is subject to change. We endeavor to keep all material up-to-date and correct but make no representations about the information's completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Laws vary by jurisdiction and are subject to change and interpretation based on individual factors that may differ between organizations. The material is not meant to constitute legal advice and we suggest you seek the advice of legal counsel in connection with any of the information presented.