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The employment relationship

Country specific laws

What laws and regulations govern the employment relationship?

The employment relationship is governed by different levels of rules, as follows:

  • individual contracts;
  • collective agreements (national, territorial and company) signed with trade unions or works councils;
  • legislation, including the Italian Civil Code;
  • the Italian Constitution; and
  • binding EU rules.

Who do these cover, including categories of worker?

The abovementioned rules cover all employees, even at executive level. The law sets down specific rules regarding relationships with contractors.


Are there specific rules regarding employee/contractor classification?

Yes. The law punishes the misuse of self-employed contracts and provides for the transformation of the contract into an employment contract if the worker is subject to the company’s hierarchical and disciplinary power.


Must an employment contract be in writing?


Are any terms implied into employment contracts?

Yes, the mandatory rules provided by law and collective bargaining agreements are implied into the individual contract.

Are mandatory arbitration/dispute resolution agreements enforceable?


How can employers make changes to existing employment agreements?

Improvements to contracts (eg, an increase in salary, a more important job role or assignment of a new benefit) can be made through a private deed.

If the changes are detrimental to the employee, the agreement must be approved by the Public Panel of Conciliation or the trade unions.

Foreign workers

Is a distinction drawn between local and foreign workers?

There is no distinction based on the nationality of an employee, apart from specific roles with the public authorities (eg, the police and the army) which only Italian citizens can hold.

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