Minimum Working Conditions
In Italy, the relevant provisions enshrined within an employment contract are established by the law and also by the applicable NCBA, which, in particular, provides for the terms and conditions of the employment relationship, including but not limited to: categories and respective job descriptions; minimum salary; job retention rights during sick leave; increases in salary due to length of service; notice period in case of dismissal and resignation; night work; leaves of absence; holidays and so on.
Employees are entitled to a fixed salary: as a general rule, the NCBAs provide for the mandatory minimum wage. However, the employer and the worker, within the individual employment contract, may agree a different salary which in any case cannot be lower than the minimum indicated by the applicable NCBA.
The salary is normally corresponded at the end of the working month, as determined by the company’s policies or by the NCBA. To this extent, the employer is responsible for deducting all social security contributions and withholding taxes. The Italian legislation specifically envisages that the remuneration attributed to the employees must be indicated in a pay slip (provided by the employer or by a third party on behalf of the employer) detailing the period of actual service to which the remuneration relates to, the total amount and value of any overtime hours that may have been worked together with all the elements that constitute the sum eventually paid, as well as all deductions conducted in compliance with the relevant legislation. In addition, the Italian law provides for an additional fixed item of remuneration, the so-called annual thirteenth monthly salary, which is paid once a year during the Christmas holidays. Its amount usually corresponds to one month’s remuneration. Moreover, some NCBAs or even the individual agreements may establish a further payment of a fourteenth instalment, generally corresponded in July.
Maximum Working Week
Limits on working hours are set forth by the law and the NCBAs. The Legislative Decree no. 66 of 8 April 2003 applies to all sectors of business, both public and private, except for a few categories (such as civil aviation staff, the police and the armed forces). Section 3 of the said Legislative Decree provides that normal working hours are forty hours per week. The NCBAs may, however, determine fewer hours referring to the normal working hours.
The maximum duration of the working week is predetermined by the NCBAs: nevertheless, the average weekly working time may not surpass 48 hours, including overtime. Average working hours shall be computed over a 4-month period; in this regard, the relevant NCBA could extend such period on the grounds of objective, technical or organizational circumstances.
Work performed in excess of the normal weekly working hours established by the law or by the applicable NCBA is to be deemed as overtime work and it must be remunerated accordingly. Section 5 of the Legislative Decree no. 66/2003 states that, as a general rule, the NCBA covers the conditions for overtime work and that, in lack of such provisions, overtime work is allowed only upon previous agreement between the employer and the employee, for a period not exceeding 250 hours per year. Ultimately, the Italian legislation provides that overtime is paid with an extra remuneration as determined by the NCBA applied by the company. The NCBA may establishes that alternatively – or in addition to this extra remuneration – employees receive compensatory rest time.
Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace
Specifically, the employer has to assess risks; identify protective and preventive measures; prepare a plan for the improvement of safety at the workplace; and appoint the individual who is responsible to perform the Prevention and Protection Service.
Among others, the duties of the employer coincide with the:
- designation of the person responsible to perform the Prevention and Protection Service (inside or outside the company);
- preparation (together with the individual who is responsible to perform the Prevention and Protection Service and with the occupational doctor in the cases in which health surveillance is mandatory) of a document that includes the assessment of risks for safety and health connected with the activity carried out by the company; protective and preventive measures adopted in light of the risk assessment; the plan drawn up for the improvement of safety at workplace;
- identification of the person in charge to supervise and monitor compliance by individual workers with their legal obligations, as well as the company’s provisions regarding health and safety at work (so-called preposto);
- appointment of the occupational doctor, in the cases provided for by sections 38–42 of Legislative Decree 81 of 9 April 2008 such as in the event of peculiar risks’ exposure of the workers (e.g., pathogenic, physical, chemical agents, video terminal workers, materials handling);
- appointment of the employees in charge of fire prevention and extinguishing, rescue measures, first aid, and management of emergencies;
- providing employees with adequate tools for personal protection;
- keeping a chronological record of work injures detailing absences from work for at least one day;
- instructing the employees to abandon the workplace in the event of serious, immediate and inevitable danger.
Small employers – except for businesses which are subject to particular risk factors – do not have to draft a safety plan. In any case, these employers have to self-certify, in writing, that they have evaluated the risks and fulfilled their burdens about prevention and protection on structures, machines and plants.
Employers must, thus, guarantee the health and safety of their employees in all aspects of their work by taking necessary preventative action and adopting and regularly updating appropriate health and safety measures.
The employees must be informed about safety instructions and risks deriving from the activity carried out by the company; specific risks related to the workplace and prevention measures adopted by the company; first aid, fire prevention and evacuation procedures; and the names of the employees in charge of fire prevention.
The employer must also train the employees in relation to safety and health, having regard to their specific working activity. In particular, the training must be sufficient and adequate, updated, free of charge and conducted during working time in cooperation with trade unions.
Moreover, employers must consider employees’ professional skills and experience in matters of health and safety before entrusting them with certain tasks, and they must assign jobs that involve specific risks or hazards only to those who have the necessary knowledge, expertise and training.
The employees have the right to be informed of any risks concerning the business in general, as well as risks of their specific jobs, of the protection and prevention measures that are applicable to them and of any other emergency measures in place.
Moreover, they have the right – by means of their representative for health and safety, who has the power to check out the respect of the law by the employer – to control that all the protection and prevention measures are applied by the employer.
Employers must notify to INAIL (National Institute for the Prevention of Accidents at Work) of each injury or accident at work implying a prognosis longer than three days, within:
- two days from when the employer has become aware of the injury or accident itself;
- twenty-four hours from any event which causes the employee’s death or danger of death.
Moreover, employers must record the injury or accident at work in the relevant mandatory book.
The following has to be recorded within one day from the accident:
- name and contractual level of the injured employee;
- cause and circumstances of the accident;
- date of interruption of the job.
Within one day the resumption of work has to be noted. The book must be stored for four years after the last registration, or if there is no registration, four years from the book’s certification. The book of medical examinations has to record the pre-employment, preventive and periodical physical examination results.
Protection from Retaliation
According to Republic Presidential Decree no. 1124 of 30 June 1965 (modified by Legislative Decree no. 38 of 23 February 2000), the employer shall obtain INAIL insurance to cover employees suffering from work related injuries or illnesses. All risks deriving from the working activity are covered by the INAIL insurance, including temporary disability, total or partial permanent disability and death of a worker. The amount of the relevant premium varies according to the type of activity carried out by the employer.
According to section 2 of Republic Presidential Decree no. 1124 of 30 June 1965, to be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits, the injury has to have occurred during work.
With regard to professional illness, the worker is indemnified provided that the illness is contracted during the execution of covered activities, the illness is the consequence of progressive damage to the worker’s health, and there is a direct relationship between the illness and the working activity.
When injury or illness occurs, the employee is entitled to receive health benefits (such as medical and surgical treatments and prosthesis devices) and financial benefits. These latter consist of a monetary payment (una tantum) to the employee or their survivors for lost wages due to disability or death.
In general, Italian law (section 10 of Republic Presidential Decree no. 1124 of 30 June 1965) provides that the employer is not liable for the accident or injury unless the employer is convicted of a criminal offence for the conduct that caused the injury. In cases where the employer is liable, the worker is entitled to demand damage that was not compensated by INAIL and also to bring an action under a right of recourse against the employer.