Working hours in Italy: the basic rights
It is impossible to generalize and pinpoint the standard timetable of a typical Italian working day, as it usually depends on which job one has, the company one works for and, at times, their sector of expertise. Nevertheless, the average workday usually lasts 8 hours, although some go to work earlier than others and some finish later.
However, work rights are common to every type of worker regardless of their job; in fact, as far as working hours are concerned, state regulations are applied all over the country: the Legge n.133 del 2008, articles 2107 to 2109, contained in the Codice Civile (Civil Code) and the Legge n. 183 del 2010 ("Collegato lavoro") are those related to such matter. If you're working in Italy, you should also become familiar with the terminology used to discuss the Italian workday and the rights of the worker.
Lavoro settimanale (weekly hours)
The number of hours worked in a week can reach a maximum of 40. The average time, including overtime, cannot exceed 48 hours. If a company with more than 10 employees exceeds this limit, it must inform the labour inspectorate of the area justifying this situation.
Lavoro straordinario (overtime)
The term lavoro straordinario (overtime), refers to the work carried out in addition to normal working hours. The total time worked must not exceed the established maximum of 48 hours per week. In the absence of a collective labour agreement, overtime is subject to an agreement between the employer and the employee, but cannot exceed 250 hours per year.
If the working day lasts more than 6 hours, the employee must have a break, pausa, whose conditions and duration are regulated by collective labour agreements. It is important to underline that this break is provided not only to have lunch and a physical and psychological break, but also to alleviate monotonous and repetitive working activities (attenuare il lavoro monotono e ripetitivo).
Riposo giornaliero (daily break)
The worker has the right to receive 11 hours of rest every 24 hours. These conditions are established in the collective labour agreements. However, there are exceptions to this right: working activities characterised by working periods divided during the day, including telecommuting, and workers subject to on-call availability.
Riposo settimanale (day off)
The worker has the right, every 7 days, to obtain a period of rest of at least 24 consecutive hours that should regularly include Sundays. This period of consecutive rest must include 48 hours of rest every 14 days.
The worker has the right to obtain a period of paid holidays that must not last less than 4 weeks per year. Collective labour contracts can establish more advantageous conditions. The employer must communicate to the employees the period chosen for their holidays.
Lavoro notturno (night work)
This term refers to the work carried out, for at least 3 hours, in the period of time between 12 and 5 am, for a minimum of 80 working days per year. The worker mustn't work for more than 8 hours in a period of 24 hours.
If the limits of weekly working hours are exceeded (48 hours per week including overtime), a fine ranging from 100 to 750 euros must be paid. If this concerns more than 5 workers, or it includes at least 3 periods of reference (4, 6 or 12 months) the fine increases to between 400 and 1,500 euros. If ten or more workers are affected or there are five periods of reference, the fine increases again, from 1,000 to 5,000 euros. If the violation refers to the law on holidays, the fine ranges from 100 to 600 euros.
This is a general overview of the basic principles and right of the worker in Italy. However, there can be some variation for certain types of workers and they must be discovered before accepting a job.