An employment contract (‘contratto di lavoro subordinato’ in Italian) is a legal agreement that establishes rights, obligations and terms of the work relationship between an employer and an employee. You can use this article to learn more about:

  • Why it is important
  • What it must include
  • Main types of contracts in Italy

You can also have a look at our video here!

Why it is important

To regularly work in Italy you must have a regular and registered work contract. Indeed, your employer must declare the work relationship with you to the Ministry of Work through a mandatory online form called UniLav.

Through the UniLav, also the INPS (National Social Security Institute), INAIL (National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work) and Labor Inspectorate will be informed about your employment. This allows you to benefit from social security (for example: get sick leaves, maternity leaves, unemployment benefit and retirement benefit) and insurance coverage in case of injuries or diseases at work.

If your employer does not declare your contract to public authorities, you are in a situation of undeclared work. Undeclared work also occurs when you have a regular contract, but you work more hours than those agreed in the contract, and the payment for these extra hours is not registered. Undeclared work is illegal because the employer does not pay the taxes to the State and you do not have the guarantees provided by law (for example: you won’t receive retirement benefits, nor compensation for injuries at work).

Having an employment contract is also important for other reasons. It is among the requirements to apply for the EU long-term permit, convert your permit into a work permit, and get Italian citizenship. Although a work contract is not among the mandatory requirements to rent a house, many landlords ask for it.

How can I check that my contract was registered?

There are several options to verify that your employer has registered your contract:

  • Ask your employer for a copy of the receipt of the submission of the UniLav form.
  • Request the ‘scheda anagrafica professionale (a record of your regular work relationships) at the Centro per l’Impiego - note that your new contract may take a few days before it is recorded there.
  • Request the ‘certificazione unica’ on the Agenzia delle Entrate portal by logging in with your SPID or electronic carta d’identita’
  • Log into the INPS portal with your SPID or electronic carta d’identita’ and check your statement of account - note that if you have just been hired the record may not be available yet.

What it must include

Every work contract must include:

  • Duration of employment
  • Your employer’s information
  • Your personal information
  • Position
  • Start and end date of the employment
  • Working hours
  • Place of work
  • Salary
  • Privacy disclaimer
  • Signatures of both parties

Sometimes, the contract also includes a probation period. For more details, you can refer to the national collective agreement (‘Contratto Collettivo Nazionale del Lavoro’ or CCNL in Italian) for your relevant industry. The CCNL is a contract between the labor unions, representatives of employers and representatives of employees that establishes the main elements of the contracts for a specific sector, such as minimum salary, working hours and tasks.

Part time or full time

Usually, the contract indicates if your schedule is part time or full time. In a full time contract, you work 40 hours per week (with a few exceptions provided in specific CCNLs), while in a part time contract you work less than 40 hours per week. Your salary, leaves and holidays are calculated on the basis of your working hours.

If you work part time, you can be required to work fewer hours every day; or full-time, but only on certain days of the week or at certain times of the month or year; or in a mixed way.

Main types of employment contracts

There are different types of employment contracts in Italy, and they differ in duration, rights and obligations. Here below you can find more information about the most common ones.

Contratto a tempo determinato

The fixed-term contract (‘contratto a tempo determinato’ in Italian) is an employment contract with an expiration date. This contract usually cannot last more than 12 months (or 24 months under specific circumstances).

This contract may be extended or renewed, but the work relationship with the same employer and in the same position cannot last more than 24 months, with the exception of seasonal contracts and others, as specified in the CCNL. A fixed-term contract should be changed into a permanent contract after this time.

Your employer can fire you only for just cause, meaning on the basis of a serious misconduct (for example: theft, violent behavior, unjustified absenteeism etc.). If they fire you because of another reason, contact a labor union and they will assist you in order for you to get compensation.

Contratto a tempo indeterminato

A permanent contract (‘contratto a tempo indeterminato’ in Italian) is a contract with no expiration date. However, both the employer and the employee have the right to end the work relation with a period of notice agreed in the CCNL. There is no need for the employee to give a notice in case of a serious breach of the contract (for example, your employer has not paid you).

Contratto di apprendistato

The apprenticeship contract (‘contratto di apprendistato’ in italian) is a contract for young people aged between 15 and 29 or for people that receive the unemployment benefit. The apprenticeship involves a professional training path, so that the employee can gain professional competencies for the job they were hired for.

The apprenticeship can aim to obtain professional or technical qualifications in the workplace, learn a trade, obtain higher, university or advanced training diplomas or access regulated professions.

When this contract ends (usually after 3 years, or more rarely 5 years), it becomes a permanent contract if you or your employer have not withdrawn from it.

Contratto a chiamata

An on-call employment contract (‘Contratto a chiamata’ or ‘contratto intermittente’ in Italian) is where the employee works discontinuously or intermittently. In fact, you may be called upon to work for only a few days or for short periods of time. The maximum duration of the contract is 400 working days in three years, with a few exceptions such as the tourism sector. If there are more days, the contract becomes permanent.

Depending on the contract, a job on-call may include the payment of a monthly indemnity if you are required to be always available to work when the employer calls.

You can have multiple on-call contracts in the same time period only if the companies you work for don’t compete with one another.


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