National leave policies for employees in Italy are similar to those in most of the developed world. Italian provisions resemble those found among EU member countries. The Italian Constitution and Civil Code ensure that employees have their basic rights secured. No unified employment law exists, yet several laws exist to manage certain components of the working relationship. As part of the European Union, Italy has agreed to abide by EU labor standards.
For example, according to a 1993 directive from the EU, all workers must receive paid time off totaling at least four weeks a year. A 2003 legislative decree incorporating regulations for daily working hours and leave further supported this directive - giving more protection in general for most employed Italians as far as collective labor agreements are involved. Furthermore, collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), National CBAs (NCBAs), and union contracts can include additional entitlements such as maternity/paternity and parental leave.
Additionally, the ILO Holidays with Pay Convention of 1970 sets a minimum three-week leave every year for each year worked.
For more information on employing talent in Italy, visit Skuad's Italy hiring guide.
Public holidays in Italy Skuad's country page for Italy
In Italy, public holidays for which employees generally receive pay are:
- New Year’s Day (January 1)
- Epiphany (January 6)
- Easter Monday
- Liberation Day (April 25)
- Labor Day (May 1)
- Date of the Founding of the Republic (June 2)
- Assumption Day (August 15)
- All Saints’ Day (November 1)
- Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8)
- Christmas Day (December 25)
- St. Stephen's Holiday (December 26)
Additionally, below are specific guidelines for various situations applicable to holiday leaves.
When a holiday falls on a Sunday, which is typically the rest day for many employees in Italy:
- Workers receive an additional day’s pay
- Those who are required to work that day receive overtime as well, For overtime, see below.
When a public holiday occurs on a working day or an employer asks the employee to work on that day:
- The applicable percentage of extra pay is determined by CBAs and may also offer supplementary rest time. For example, the collective bargaining agreement for metalworkers offers an extra payment of 50% on top of their usual salary for working on public holidays. if compensatory rest time is provided, this is dialed down to 10%.
- In cases where the holiday falls on a Sunday AND an employee must work that day, the employee is paid according to what is agreed in their CBA.
Some regions also celebrate Patron Saint Days which may add more earning potential for those who work those days.
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Types of leave in Italy
The Italian Constitution contains a set of principles that recognize the rights of all citizens, primarily their right to work and receive fair pay. The Constitution also includes rules intended to protect workers' rights, such as ensuring appropriate working hours and vacations, special protection for women and minors on the job, social insurance against illness or accident risks in old age or other debilitating conditions, freedom of association (i.e., being able to form groups with shared interests), and the right for workers to strike should that become necessary.
Below are the types of leaves available in Italy, mandated or guided by local labor laws:
Sick leave in Italy
Employee protection in Italy is strong, thanks to collective bargaining. During illness, the worker can suspend their contract with a job guarantee for periods set through a collective agreement — normally about one year — and get fully paid (by either employer or Social Security). Should they need more time, there are further stipulations allowing them an extended period of unpaid leave according to the collective agreement.
Maternity leave in Italy
In Italy, pregnant workers have the right to take five months of maternity leave (congedo di maternità). This can commence two months before delivery and extend for three months after. With an amendment in 2019, employees expecting a baby can work up until the ninth month of pregnancy with permission from their gynecologist and doctor. That allows them to take five full months for mandatory maternity leave post-birth. Before this change in law, moms-to-be needed to stop working at least one month before giving birth — or the usual two if granted approval.
Moms-to-be and new mothers enjoy a variety of rights. During pregnancy, they must receive 80% of their pay from the social security system and can't be asked to do anything that may harm them. After maternity leave is over, these women are allowed to return to the same job without any decrease in wages or other repercussions. Additionally, if working for six hours or more a day after having a child, a new mother can take two one-hour breaks per day, which she can utilize away from her workplace if need be. Plus, she's also entitled to transfer to another job (without salary reduction) when it’s needed for her or the baby’s health during pregnancy and up to seven months post-birth. Dismissal isn't an option unless in specific situations one year after childbirth.
Paternity leave in Italy
Employed fathers have a mandated 20-day paternity leave (congedo di paternità) – separate from their partner's maternity leave. Plus, if a father and mother make prior arrangements, dads can also get an additional day off to substitute for the mother. New fathers can take this paid leave within five months of childbirth or adoption.
Paternity leave was increased from ten days to 20 days on August 2022.
If the grim situation arises where the mother passes away or falls gravely ill, then the father is offered leave equal to what was given for maternity leave with social security picking up the cost. Also, if the father is solely caring for the child and the mother isn't employed or sick/deceased, he is granted daily breaks similar to her entitlement.
Parental leave in Italy
Once the mandatory maternity or paternity leave ends, parents can choose to take an additional six months of parental leave (congedo parentale facoltativo) at a reduced rate — 30% of their usual pay. This can be taken until their child turns three (or within three years after adopting a child). Both mother and father have this option.
Beyond the six months of parental leave, if needed, they are also eligible for an additional five months until their child turns 12 years old. To qualify, the parent's salary should not exceed two and a half times the government-established minimum pension amount for that year.
Flexible or smart working
Employees can ask only on one occasion to work part-time (50% of the normal hours) instead of taking parental leave, and they must be granted this within 15 days. This request still has to remain within the maximum duration offered by parental leave.
Adoption leave in Italy
In the case of adoption, the five-month maternity leave as explained above may start after the child is placed in the employee's care. Paternity and optional parental leave also apply to adoptions.
Marriage leave in Italy
When it comes to marriage in Italy, workers are entitled to an "exceptional 8-day period of leave" after tying the knot. The marriage leave should be taken within 30 days of the wedding, or civil marriage or union.
Carer’s leave in Italy
Law No. 183/2010 introduced the concept of sole carer, entitling those who care for relatives who are severely disabled to two kinds of care leave: three paid days per month for short-term assistance, and up to two years of paid absence for permanent support. The short-term carer's leave could be taken as full days or piecemeal hourly shifts in case of emergencies or medical appointments, with pay based on wages up to an annual ceiling established by the government. Eligible applicants include parents and close relatives living with the person needing care.
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