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Leave policy in Italy

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Table of Content


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, 2024)
  • Epiphany (January 6, 2024)
  • Easter Sunday (31st March, 2024)
  • Easter Monday (1st April, 2024)
  • Liberation Day (April 25, 2024)
  • International Worker's Day(May 1, 2024)  
  • Republic Day (June 2, 2024)
  • Assumption Day (August 15, 2024)
  • All Saints’ Day (November 1, 2024)
  • Santo Patrono (December 7th, 2024)
  • Immaculate Conception (December 8, 2024)
  • Christmas Day (December 25, 2024)
  • St. Stephen's Day (December 26, 2024)

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

Minimum statutory sick leave in Italy is 3 days and maximum statutory sick leave is 6 months.

  • Sick leave in Italy can be up to 6 months provided that an employee has a doctor certificate. The employee has the right to keep his job while on sick leave, hence the employment contract cannot be terminated within the 6 months in case of long term sickness. The payment in case of a sick leave will be following:
  • First 3 days – 100% of salary has to be paid by the employer
  • From the 4th day till 20th day – 75% must be paid (50% will be covered by Italian social security system and 25% will need to be paid by the employer)
  • From 21st day until the 180th day – 100% of the salary must be offered (66.66% funded by Italian social security system and 33.34% by the employer)
  • Employees are usually asked to provide a doctor’s certificate from the 1st day of sickness.

Maternity leave in Italy

Mandatory maternity leave

Mandatory maternity leave in Italy an be taken for a total of 5 months and can be availed 3 months prior to the birth of the child.

  1. The compensation for maternity leave is equal to 100% of the salary and is due for 5 months. 80% of this compensation is reimbursed by INPS and 20% is paid solely by the employer.
  2. The leave is extended in the case of premature birth or suspended in the case of the infant's stay in the hospital in order to benefit from the time not taken during pregnancy or prolonged hospital stay.
  3. In the event of adoption or fostering, the 5 months run from the date of entry into the family of the adopted / fostered minor.

Optional maternity leave

Optional maternity leave in Italy or Maternita Facoltativa can be taken after mandatory maternity leave is exhausted.

  1. The optional maternity is for maximum of 6 months after the mandatory maternity leave.
  2. The optional maternity leave is only 30% of the salary. This is covered by the Italian social security system (INPS Institution). The client in this case would still pay for the leave but INPS Institution would reimburse this amount each month via a form that will need to be filled out each month.
  3. Majority of women return to work after 5 months of mandatory maternity leave.

Paternity leave in Italy

Father employee shall be entitled to compulsory paternity leave of 10 working days (increased to 20 in the case of multiple births) to be benefited within the timing indicated by law.

Alternative paternity leave:

Maternity leave shall be extended to father employee, who shall avail this benefit as an alternative to the mother, for the entire duration to which the latter is entitled or for the residual part to which she would have been entitled, in the cases provided by law.

Optional paternity leave:

Father employee shall be entitled to an optional paternity leave of 1 day upon agreement with the mother and in lieu there of in relation to the period of maternity leave due to her.

Parental leave in Italy

Employees with children up to 12 years are entitled to parental leave for each child for a maximum duration of 10 months.

The right to leave from work shall be for a period not exceeding 11 months if there is only one parent or a parent to whom sole custody of the child has been ordered, pursuant to Article 337-quater of the Italian Civil Code. In the latter case, the other parent loses the right to the unused leave. If the father employee exercises the right to benefit such leave for period of not less than 3 months, the total limit of parental leave is raised to 11 months. Parental leave also applies in the case of adoption or foster care.

Extension of parental leave

For each child with a serious disability, mother employee or, alternatively, father employee, have the right, by the completion of the twelfth year of the child’s life, to an extension of parental leave for a maximum period, including parental leave, not exceeding 3 years.

Wedding 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.

Study leave

Minimum 2 years of unpaid leaves are permitted. Employees who study may apply for paid leave up to a maximum of 150 hours per capita in a three-year period and within the limits of a total number of hours for all employees in the production unit. Such employees shall be entitled to one day’s paid leave to conduct the examination.

Leave for blood donors

Blood and blood component donors have the right to leave for the entire day on which they donate.

Extraordinary leave

Employees who are family members of a person with serious disability, under certain conditions, may take an extraordinary leave of up to 2 years over the entire working life.

Leave for electoral operations

In case of electoral consultations governed by laws of the Republic or the regions. Employees who perform duties at election offices have the right to be absent from work for the entire period corresponding to the duration of the relevant operations.

Family care leave

It is allowed to take a maximum of 2 days paid leave.

  • Family care leave in Italy is a type of leave that employees can take to care for a sick child, elderly relative, or other family member.
  • To be eligible for family care leave in Italy, employees must meet the following criteria:
  • They must be employed by a company with at least 15 employees.
  • They must have been employed by the company for at least 6 months.
  • They must provide a medical certificate to their employer to confirm the illness of the family member.

Mother’s daily rest

During the first year of the child’s life, the mother employee is entitled to 2 periods of rest (so- called “permessi allattamento”), lasting 1 hour each. The rest is only one, lasting 1 hour, when the daily working time is less than 6 hours. The rest periods shall last half an hour each when mother employee benefits from the day care nursery or other suitable facility established by the employer in the production unit or in its immediate vicinity. In case of multiple births, the rest periods are doubled, and the additional hours may also be used by the father. Daily rest periods are also due to mother employee in case of adoption or foster care.

Father’s daily rest

Father employee shall be entitled to the rest periods -

a) In the case where the children are in the care of the father alone.
b) As an alternative to the employed mother who does not avail herself of them.
c) In the case where the mother is not an employee.
d) In the case of the death or serious infirmity of the mother.

Leaves for disability

Employee is entitled to take three days of paid monthly leave to care for a person with a serious disability with respect to whom employee is a consort (or part of a civil union), de facto cohabitant, relative or kin within the second degree (or, under certain conditions, within the third degree).Employee with a serious disability may alternately take 2 hours’ paid leave per day or 3 days’ paid leave per month.

Leave due to child’s disability

Mother employee or, alternatively, father employee, also adoptive, of a child with a serious disability may ask their respective employers to take, as an alternative to the extension up to 3 years of parental leave, 2 hours of daily paid leave until the child’s third year of life.

As an alternative, leave of 3 days per month may be benefited by the parent. Beyond the third year of the child’s life and up to the age of 12 years, father or mother employee may choose alternatively between the extension of parental leave or 3 days of monthly leave, also continuous.

Leave for volunteers of civil defence

Employees belonging to civil protection volunteer organisations are entitled to leave from for the following activities and for the maximum periods listed below:

a) rescue and assistance in view of or during emergencies related to calamitous events of natural origin or resulting from human activity:maximum 90 days per year (with a maximum of 30 continuous);

b) relief and assistance in emergencies of national importance: 180 days per year (with a maximum of 60 continuous);

c) planning, training, theoretical and practical education and dissemination of civil culture and knowledge: 30 days per year (with a maximum of 10 continuous).

Leave for mountain and speleological rescue

Volunteers of the National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps of the Italian Alpine Club (CAI) have the right to leave from work on days when they carry out mountain and speleological rescue operations or related drills, as well as on the day following rescue operations that have lasted for more than 8 hours or beyond midnight.

Carry forward of leaves

Employees in Italy are entitled to carry forward unused leaves, but the specific rules vary depending on the employer and the employee's contract.

In general, employees are allowed to carry forward up to 18 months of unused leave. However, some employers may allow employees to carry forward more or less leaves, depending on the company's policy

To carry forward unused leave, employees must typically submit a request to their employer. The request should include the following information:

  • The number of days of leave that the employee wishes to carry forward.
  • The reason why the employee is not able to use the leave in the current year

The employer is not required to grant the request, but they must consider it carefully. If the employer grants the request, the employee will be able to use the unused leave in the following year.

It is important to note that the carry forward of leaves may be subject to certain conditions. For example, some employers may require employees to use a certain amount of leave in the current year before they are allowed to carry forward any leave

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Skuad enables you to seamlessly employ international contractors and full-time employees, making it effortless to manage the complexities of international hiring like leave policy and adhere to local labor law regulations all on one platform. Talk to our experts today..

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