Under Italian labour laws employees can work a maximum of 40 hours per week as regular hours, but some roles are exempt from this legislation. Paid overtime is permitted beyond these hours, however if workers regularly exceed an average of 48 hours per week the employer may be required to explain to the authorities why such hours are necessary. The working day varies enormously, with some companies working regular eight-hour days and others observing a more traditional split day with a lunch break of two or three hours.
All full-time employees in Italy are entitled to a minimum of one day off each week and annual leave of not less than four weeks per year. Sick leave is also an entitlement for employees, and parental leave allowances are generous. Employers are obliged to offer pregnant employees a minimum of two months’ leave prior to and three months after their due date.
Italy has a number of national and regional public holiday dates. In addition to the 12 national holidays on the Italian calendar, the local patron saint's day is usually a regional public holiday. Typically, offices and some shops close for the festivities and depending on the event a range of municipal celebrations may be held.
Public holiday dates
New Year's Day: 1st January
Epiphany: 6th January
Easter Sunday: 27th March
Easter Monday: 28th March
Liberation Day: 25th April
Labour Day: 1st May
Republic Day: 2nd June
Assumption Day: 15th August
All Saints’ Day: 1st November
Immaculate Conception Day: 8th December
Christmas Day: 25th December
Boxing Day: 26th December
Visas and eligibility to work
Freedom of movement and labour within the European Economic Area means that citizens of many European countries can enter Italy without a visa and are free to live and work there indefinitely, subject to obtaining their ‘permesso di soggiorno’ (permit to stay) after 90 days. This normally requires proof of financial resources and EU health insurance (EHIC) to be presented at the local town hall or police station. Depending on the purpose and length of visit, Italy also has a visa waiver system for citizens of eligible countries, but people of several nationalities require a visa. Typically, non-EU citizens who wish to work in Italy will require a visa, residence permit and work permit. If you are unsure about your visa requirements, consult the visa checker on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation website.
Italy operates an income tax system based on five income brackets with corresponding tax rates, and deductions are made directly from your wages. Generally you will be considered a tax resident once you have stayed Italy for more than 183 days during a calendar year, although depending on your nationality, residency status and income sources, this may vary. To pay tax in Italy you will require a tax identification number, which can be applied for online through Fisconline (service available in Italian only) or through a local tax office. This free number is required for opening a bank account or renting accommodation, so it is important to sign up as early as possible. The tax year in Italy runs from January to December, and you may be required to complete a self-assessment tax return.
Pensions and benefits
As well as tax, workers in Italy make national insurance contributions from their wages. These are intended to cover the cost of pensions and other benefits such as family allowance and unemployment benefit. Normally if you contribute to the Italian social security system for any length of time, you will be able to access benefits there. However, some countries have different agreements with Italy allowing citizens to continue contributing to or accessing benefits in their home country, particularly when they are working in Italy temporarily.
Discrimination at work on the grounds of disability is explicitly prohibited by the Italian constitution and there is a quota system to help encourage equal opportunities. Disabled people may have the opportunity to access funding for vocational training to help them find work.