Topic 1 Terminology and legal frameworks of the national labour market

In accordance with the Italian Constitution, national labour law has always favoured the workers due to the understanding that the employment relationship is per se unbalanced. Nevertheless, the latest reform, i.e. the Jobs Act, has given more power to employers due to the prolonged and difficult economic crisis the country is facing.

  • Italian Constitution
  • The Civil Code
  • Laws enacted by Parliament
  • Regulations
  • National Collective Bargaining Agreements (CCNL – Contratti Collettivi Nazionali di Lavoro): a legal instrument through which workers’ trade unions and employers’ associations agree on the rules governing the employment relationship (both regulations and economic aspects)
  • European Union Law
  • Custom and practice

Concerning the content that an employment contract must have, Italian law provides that some fundamental conditions must necessarily be approved in writing.

  • The parties to the contract
  • The starting date of the contract and, if applicable, the duration of the trial period
  • The end date of the contract
  • The salary, the way to calculate it and the frequency of payments
  • Working hours
  • The entitlement to leaves
  • The employee’s duties and the job category

The subordinate employment contract is the most common type of work relationship in the Italian labour market.

  • Fixed-term: a contract with a specified duration, so the employer and the employee establish from the beginning a time limit. This type of contract cannot last longer than 12 months (extendable to 24 months in specific circumstances)
  • Permanent: the employee works for the employer for an indefinite period, i.e. without a time limit. In this case, unless the contract ends ‘for just cause‘ (a reason that does not allow the employment relationship to continue), both the employer and the employee are entitled to a notice period, the duration of which is different according to the employee’s seniority and professional level and it is set out in the applicable CCNL.
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