Italy: Recent Developments In Employment Law After The So Called "Fornero Reform"

Upon the entry into force of the major employment law reform known as "Fornero Reform" (Law 28 June 2012, no. 92), the Italian employment law system experienced significant changes, from both a substantive and procedural law perspective. After the enactment of the Fornero Reform, further changes have been introduced, mainly by virtue of "urgent" decrees. In this connection, between the end of 2012 and the summer of 2013 the following decrees have been issued, among others: the so-called "Decreto Sviluppo-bis" (D.L. 18 October 2012, no. 179), the so-called "Decreto del Fare" (D.L. 28 June 2013, no. 76) and, recently, the so-called "Decreto Occupazione" (D.L. 28 June 2013, no. 76). Such decrees have been subsequently converted into law and are currently in force.

1. Incentives granted to employers in connection with permanent hirings

With the intent to promote stable employment, Article 1 of the Decreto Occupazione introduced a special incentive to be paid to employers which hire, on a permanent basis, employees between 18 and 29 years of age, provided that they (a) have been unemployed for at least 6 months or (b) do not hold a high-school (or similarly ranked) degree. The incentive amounts to 1/3 of the gross monthly salary relevant for social security purposes, for a 18-month period, and cannot exceed, on a monthly basis, Euro 650,00 per each hired employee.

Please note that: (i) the new hiring must give rise to a "net increase of the employment level", to be calculated by comparing the number of the employees in place each month and the average number of the employees in place over the 12-month period preceding the hiring; (ii) the incentive shall apply starting from the date to be posted by the Ministry of Labor in its official website until 30 June 2015.

The incentive, to be offset with the social security contributions, shall be granted by INPS (the Italian social security authority), to which the relevant application shall be submitted. INPS should enact shortly proper instructions.

2. Fixed-term employment contract

The rules of fixed term contracts, governed by Legislative Decree 6 September 2001, no. 368, as amended by the Fornero Reform, have been further modified by means of the Decreto Occupazione. Below is an outline of the main changes:

  • the Decreto Occupazione confirmed that the first fixed-term relationship, for a term not longer than 12 months, established by and between an employer and an employee for the performance of any kind of duties, does not require that a reason be alleged to justify its fixed-term nature ("Fixed-Term Contracts Without Specified Reasons"), this being an exception to the general rule according to which, pursuant to Article, 1, paragraph 1, of Legislative Decree 6 September 2001, no. 368, fixed-term employment contracts must be justified by technical, productive, organizational reasons or by the employer's need of replacing employees temporarily absent from work;

    according to the amendment introduced by the Decreto Occupazione, the Fixed-Term Contracts Without Specified Reasons can be "extended", provided that the overall term of the extended contract does not exceed 12 months; according to the Ministry of Labour (Circular 35/2013) the extension may be applied also to Fixed-Term Contracts Without Specified Reasons entered into before the issuance of the Decreto Occupazione (and which are not expired, yet);
  • the Decreto Occupazione established that collective agreements at any level ("collective agreements, also at company level") can identify further cases in which Fixed-Term Contracts Without Specified Reasons can be lawfully entered into;
  • pursuant to the Decreto Occupazione, the employer is allowed to enter into a new fixed-term contract with the same employee provided that between the previous contract and the new contract the following minimum periods of interruption (which have been reduced, if compared to the previous regime) elapsed: (a) 10 days from the expiry date of the first contract, if its term was lower than 6 months; (b) 20 days from the expiry date of the first contract, if its term was longer than 6 months; if the required interruption period is not complied with, the new contract shall be deemed an open-ended contract; according to Ministry of Labour (Circular 35/2013), the new rules shall apply even if the first contract was entered into before 28 June 2013 (i.e. the date on which the Decreto Occupazione came into force);
  • furthermore, according to the Decreto Occupazione the employer is no longer required to notify the Labor Offices – before the expiration of the original expiry date – that the employment relationship shall continue over such term and for how long the performance shall continue; it remains unchanged that the fixed-term relationship cannot continue after the expiration of the original term for more that (i) 30 days (in relation to contracts with a term lower than 6 months) and (ii) 50 days (in relation to contracts with a term longer than 6 months); under the new regime these rules apply also to Fixed-Term Contracts Without Specified Reasons.

3. Innovative Start-ups companies

The Decreto Sviluppo-Bis introduced specific regulations for fixed–term employment contracts entered into by the so-called innovative start-ups companies, whose set of rules have been amended by the Decreto Occupazione.

Article 25 of the Decreto Sviluppo-Bis details the requirements of the "innovative start-ups" that, in order to be defined as such, must comply with some parameters provided for by the law (by way of example, innovative start-ups' exclusive or prevalent corporate purpose must consist of the development and marketing of innovative products or services with technologic value; start-ups must have been incorporated and be operating from no longer than 48 months; they must comply with further alternative parameters provided for by the law concerning the amount of research and development expenditures, the personnel's educational degrees and the ownership of intellectual property rights).

A company qualifying as innovative start-up benefits from "favorable" rules regarding fixed-term employment contracts. In particular:

  • fixed-term contracts can be entered into for a minimum period of 6 months to a maximum period of 36 months without the need of specifying the reasons in support (as it would be required pursuant to Legislative Decree 6 September 2001, no. 368 - see above paragraph 2), since such reasons are "deemed as existing" as long as the contracts at issue are entered into by the start-up company for the performance of activities inherent in, or ancillary to, its corporate purpose;
  • additional fixed-term contracts with the same employee can be entered into without the need of complying with the required interruption between two fixed-term contracts (equal to 10 or 20 days, as the case may be – see above paragraph 2), or even without applying any interruption, as long as the employment contract pertains to the performance of the above mentioned activities and, in any case, does not exceed the overall maximum term of 36 months (although an additional fixed-term contract having a maximum duration of 12 months may still be entered into, provided that it is formalized before the competent Labour Office);
  • the ordinary restrictions (in terms of maximum number of fixed-term contracts the employer can enter into) do not apply to innovative start-ups.

It must be pointed out that fixed-term contracts entered into by the start-up company shall be deemed (and treated as) open-ended contracts if their performance exceeds, or they are renewed for a time period exceeding,

the maximum terms set forth by the law, or if the company entering into the fixed-term contract does not satisfy the requirements to qualify as an innovative start-up.

4. Self- employment contract on a project basis

The self-employment contract on a project basis ("Project Contract") is a special type of agreement (in between employment and self-employment contracts) governed by Legislative Decree 10 September 2003, no. 276 (so-called Decreto Biagi). The Decreto Occupazione has introduced specific amendments to the regulations of Project Contracts. Below are the main changes:

  • project: pursuant to Article 61 of the Decreto Biagi, as amended by the Decreto Occupazione, the project cannot entail tasks (i) which merely reflect the principal's instructions and (ii) are very easy to discharge; by replacing the previous word "or" with the word "and", it has been clarified that the project is not valid only if both the circumstances under (i) and (ii) occur;
  • the contract must be in writing: while in the previous regime the written contract was required for "proof" purposes, according to the current amended provision the written contractual document is a requirement for the validity of the contract;
  • formalities regarding "resignation"/mutual termination: the mutual termination or resignation of consultants engaged with Project Contracts must be formalized in accordance with the procedure applicable to resignation/mutual termination of employees which has been introduced by the Fornero Reform (Article 4, paragraphs 16-22, Law 28 June 2012, no. 92).

5. The procedure applicable to the dismissal for "objective reasons" carried out by companies meeting the thresholds set forth by Article 18, paragraph 8, Law no. 300/1970

According to the Fornero Reform, companies qualifying as "big size" employers for dismissal purposes can dismiss an employee for "objective reasons" only upon conclusion of a specific procedure ("Procedure") to be activated by the employer by written notice to be sent to the competent Labor Office, copied the employee (Article 7, Law 15 July 1966, no. 604, as amended by the Fornero Reform).

In order to sort out some interpretative issues which had arisen in connection with the Procedure immediately after the enactment of the Fornero Reform, the Decreto Occupazione clarified that the Procedure does not apply in the following cases:

  • dismissals carried out pursuant to Article 2110 of Civil Code, i.e. when the sick-leave exceeded the maximum term set forth by the relevant collective agreement;
  • dismissals carried out in connection with the expiration of a service contract, if the employee is re-hired by the new service provider pursuant to applicable provisions of national collective agreements;
  • termination of open-term employment contracts in the building construction's industry upon completion of the works.

The Decreto Occupazione confirmed that the employer can dismiss the employee if the parties failed to reach an agreement during the Procedure or if the competent Labor Office failed to notify to the parties, within the 7-day term, the scheduled date for the meeting to be held for settlement purposes before the same Office. It has been clarified, however, the if one or both parties do not appear before the Office, this will be taken into account by the Labour Court pursuant to Article 116 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

6. The joint liability regime applicable to service agreements

The Decreto Occupazione and Decreto del Fare introduced some amendments to the joint liability regime applicable to service agreements. In particular:

  • the joint liability regime applies also to self-employment schemes: Article 29, paragraph 2, of Decreto Biagi provides – inter alia – that the principal shall be jointly liable with the contractor, as well as with each of the subcontractors, within the 2-year period following the termination of the service agreement, in relation to salary, social security contributions and insurance premiums pertaining to the employees used in the performance of the relevant services:

    in this connection, the Decreto Occupazione: (a) extended the scope of the joint liability regime, by providing that it applies also to the compensation, social security contributions and insurance premiums pertaining to individuals engaged with self-employment contracts; Circular 35/2013 clarified that the reference to self-employment contracts is limited to collaboration agreements and Project Contracts (see paragraph 4); (b) clarified that the provisions of collective agreements on the subject matter at issue (pursuant to Article 29, paragraph 2, above) can regard salary payments only, while no effects would be played by such provisions in connection with social security contributions and insurance premiums payments; therefore, as clarified by the Ministry of Labor, any collective provisions ruling on the subject matter differently from the law would not prevent the social security/State insurer bodies from enforcing the joint liability regime to recover outstanding payments;
  • joint liability relating to VAT: the Decreto del Fare amended paragraph 28 of Article 35 of Law Decree 4 July 2006, no. 223 so to exclude VAT payments from the tax joint liability existing between contractor and subcontractor (in connection with the services rendered by the latter under the relevant agreement) set out in the previous version of the mentioned provision; therefore, in case of lack of, or delayed, payment of VAT by the subcontractor, the subcontractor shall be the sole debtor vis-à-vis the tax authorities in connection with the VAT liability arising out the relevant sub-contract.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions