Working in Rome?
Working Conditions in Rome
No Need to Fear a Burnout
When you start a new job, one thing you may wonder about is your working hours. An average working day begins around 8:00 or 9:00 and ends at 18:00 or 19:00 — although as in most other countries, people in higher positions may be expected to stay at the office longer.
According to Eurostat, the average number of weekly hours of work in Italy in 2016 was 40.6 hours. This will obviously vary slightly depending on your field of employment and the company you work for; however, the legal standard is a 40-hour week. Together with overtime, your weekly working hours must not exceed 48 hours.
Extended lunch breaks of about two hours are becoming less widespread in Italy’s modern business world. There are still many Italians, though, who still enjoy a long business lunch out of the office. It is often seen as an important way of socializing with your colleagues, so don’t avoid these occasions.
Italy has a strong welfare state. In our guide to living in Rome, we have already described the Italian public healthcare system (servizio sanitario nazionale) at great length. Unless you decide to opt out of public health insurance, your employer in Rome will pay your SSN contributions for you.
In Italy, mandatory pension contributions stand at 33% of an employee’s gross salary. Your employer covers the bulk of this, paying 28.31% of the contributions, while 9.19% is paid by the employee themselves — it is deducted directly from your paycheck.
Everyone who has started gainful employment and pays mandatory pension contributions since 31 December 1995 is entitled to receive an old-age pension from the Italian government. They need to fulfill the following conditions, though:
- Be at least 66 years and 7 months (the minimum retirement age from 1 January 2018).
- Have made pension contributions for twenty years or more.
- Be no longer gainfully employed.
Social Security Agreements
If you are a national of an EU/EEA member state or if your country of origin has entered into a social security agreement with Italy, the pension contributions paid in Italy count towards your national pension back home. Any private pension plans are completely independent of this, of course.
In all other cases, you have to contact the INPS (Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale) to claim your Italian pension at the age of 70, provided you used to work in Italy for at least five years.
There are effective social security agreements between Italy and these countries:
- Argentina, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil
- Canada, the Cape Verde Islands, the Channel Islands, Croatia
- Israel, Macedonia, Mexico, Monaco
- San Marino, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey
- the US, Uruguay, Venezuela
Further Employee Benefits
In addition to the old-age pension, the INPS administers funds for sickness allowance and parental benefits, among other things. If you should fall ill during your time as an expat employee in Rome, you are entitled to sickness allowance, starting on the fourth day of your illness. Usually, the allowance amounts to one half or two thirds of your gross income. It is paid for up to 180 days per calendar year.
As a pregnant female employee, you have the right to take five months paid maternity leave from your job in Rome. In fact, you must stop working one or two months before the due date, and you aren’t supposed to return to work until your baby is three or four months old. During your maternity leave, you get 80% of your salary.
After these five months, parents can split 10 months of voluntary parental leave. Mothers are entitled to take a maximum of six months, while fathers can take seven. During the first six months of parental leave, you can receive 30% of your salary, but the rest of time will be unpaid.
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