Employment and pensions

Working Hours Limitations in Italy

Published on 22nd Mar 2022

Person working with a laptop on their lap and phone in their hands

Italian law does not expressly provide any limit for employee’s daily working time, but does provide for a minimum daily rest of 11 consecutive hours for each 24-hour period. The length of the daily rest may be reduced by collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) provided that employees are afforded equivalent periods of compensatory rest periods.

Normal working time is equal to 40 hours per week; however, regulations on normal working time are not applicable to employees performing discontinuous or standby duties. 

The maximum weekly working time is established by the applicable CBA provided that the average working time for each seven-day period, including overtime, shall not exceed 48 hours, calculated over a period not exceeding four months (CBAs may in any case extend the four-month period up to six months or, if objective, technical or organizational reasons occur, up to 12 months).

Overtime is considered to be any work done beyond normal working time (that is, over and above the limit of 40 hours per week).

With reference to the overtime, the law provides that it cannot exceed 250 hours per year, it is allowed only if occasional or due to exceptional technical production requirements which cannot be met by hiring other employees, and it must be compensated according to the applicable CBA, which generally provide for salary increase to be paid in case of overtime (for example, 30% of the employee's hourly salary). 

In this context, it is always advisable to check that the overtime limits are not exceeded in order to avoid any possible issues related to violation the working time legal framework. 

The concept of 'remote working'

Under Italian law, the concept of “remote working” can refer to two different legal situations: “smart working” and “teleworking”. 

In particular, smart working allows employees to perform their activity at any place as long as they are equipped with proper internet-connected computer devices (thus, not necessarily at their home). It is, however, possible to agree a specific place in which the employees can actually perform their activity during "smart working". In any case, under "smart working", the contractual place of work remains at the company's offices regardless of where the activity is actually performed. 

On the other side, teleworking requires a specific workplace located outside the company’s premises (typically, the employee’s home or domicile, where the employee has to perform the working activity) and the obligation on the employee to follow standard working hours. In this option, the employee’s home/domicile (instead of the company’s office) becomes the normal contractual working place. 

In both cases, a specific individual agreement must be signed by the relevant employee. 

With reference to the wages and benefits, as a general principle, remote-working employees (that is, both smart workers and teleworkers) shall be granted with the same legal and contractual rights as those enjoyed by employees working at the company's premises in a comparable situation.

Mandatory Hiring

The Italian legal system provides for special forms of protection towards people belonging to the so-called “protected categories”. In particular, Law no. 68/1999 has as its purpose the insertion and integration of those people into the labor market, establishing, inter alia, that public and private employers shall hire a percentage of workers belonging to the abovementioned categories. 

The protected categories include protected and disabled employees. Protected employees are orphans or spouses of those who died or of those who became disabled during war or work and Italian refugees who have been repatriated. Disabled employees are people with physical or mental disabilities with a consequent reduction of labor capacity higher than 45%, blind and deaf-mute people, people who became disabled during war or work, up to a specific percentage. 

The relevant percentage of disabled employees under Law no. 68/1999 is determined as: 

  •  Employers with15 to 35 employees – one disabled person. 
  • Employers with 36 to 50 employees – two disabled persons. 
  • Employers with more than 50 employees – 7% of the employees on the payroll. 

The quota reserved to protected employees pursuant to Law no. 68/1999 is: 

  • Employers with 50 to 150 employees – one protected employee; 
  • Employers with more than 150 employees – 1% of the employees on the payroll. 

Sanctions are provided for those employers who do not comply with this legislation. In addition, employers that hire people with disabilities with an indefinite employment contract are entitled to an incentive.

The contractual terms and conditions of employees belonging to protected categories shall be the same as those provided for by the law and the CBAs for employees having the same classification. Obviously, the employer shall not hire the abovementioned employees to perform duties incompatible with their disabilities.

Mobility managers

Italian law recently introduced a mobility manager (MM) in order to reduce traffic congestion in urban areas. According to the relevant regulation, by 31 December each year, companies and public administrations must create a plan related to the employees' commuting between home and work in order to reduce the use of private motorized transport.

By 31 December each year, companies that have individual local units with more than 100 employees located in a regional capital, metropolitan city, provincial capital or municipality with more than 50,000 inhabitants shall appoint a recognized MM in order to draft a plan.

In this context, the MM has the task of providing continuous professional support to the activities of decision making, planning, programming, management and promotion of the best sustainable mobility solutions; drafting the plan and, more generally, managing relations with public administrations with reference to the promotion and raising awareness of sustainable mobility of employees.

The relevant regulation also sets out the requirements for the MM (that is, high and recognized professional competence or proven experience in the field of sustainable mobility, transport or environmental protection).

In addition to the figure of the MM appointed by the company, who is responsible for promoting sustainable mobility with reference to employees commuting between home and work, the law also provides for an "area mobility manager", who is appointed by the municipalities and specializes in supporting the municipality in the definition and implementation of sustainable mobility policies, as well as to connect the MMs appointed by different companies.  



* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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