By Avv. Marco Maniscalco

The New Banking Collective Agreement 1

The Banking Collective Agreement has been recently (July 1999) re-negotiated.

Listed below are some of the highlights.

Classification of the employees. The first issue of particular relevance appears to affect the classification of the employees: in fact, a new category has been provided, namely the so-called "quadri direttivi". Such a category is divided into four levels which include those who are currently in the position of "quadri", "quadri super" and "funzionari". More precisely, the "quadri" and "quadri super" who are currently included in the 4th professional area (1st and 2nd wage level) will be put in the 1st and 2nd wage level of the new category called "quadri direttivi". The "funzionari" -except those who will be registered as "dirigenti"- will be included in the 3rd and 4th wage level.

Hours of work. The workweek for full-time employees who are not excluded from the limits on working hours is considered to be: 37,30 hours in case of termination of the normal working day before 6,30 p.m.; 37 hours in case of termination after 6,30 p.m.; 36,30 in case of termination between 7,00 and 7,15 p.m.; 36 hours in case of termination either beyond 7,15 or in case of a workweek of 6 days (6 hours per 6 days) or 4 days (9 hours for 4 days). Due to technical, organisational or commercial needs which can be foreseen and therefore programmed, the weekly working time can exceed the mentioned limits provided that (this is the so-called "orario multiperiodale"): (i) such "special" period does not last more than 4 months; (ii) the maximum working time does not go beyond 9,30 hours per day and 48 per week.

Overtime. Issues of particular relevance arise with respect to the regulation of the extraordinary work. Under the new agreement, employers may ask an employee to work beyond the above limits within the limit of 2 hours per day and 10 per week. The first 50 hours are not considered as overtime ("straordinario"): as a consequence, no overtime payments have to be paid by the Bank. In this case, the employee is entitled to a compensatory reduction of the daily working time in accordance with the new so-called "meccanismo della banca delle ore". In case of time worked that exceeds the mentioned 50 hours but does not exceed the limit of the second 50 hours, the employee is entitled either to overtime payments or compensatory reduction in lieu of the payment at his discretion. Activities performed beyond the third 50 hours (i.e. between 100 and 150 hours) entail the payment to the employee of additional compensation pursuant to the applicable legal and contractual provisions.

Overtime for "quadri direttivi". "Quadri direttivi" of the 1st and 2nd wage level are excluded from the limits on working hours. They are entitled to a lump sum payment amounting either to Itl. 2.150.000 or 2.250.000 depending on the level. "Quadri direttivi" who carry out working activity well in excess of the conventional limit of 10 hours per month ("prestazioni eccedenti in misura significativa il limite", states the new contract) are nevertheless entitled "to make the employer aware of the situation".

The employer, "once the situation will have been properly evaluated and having taken it into account", will grant the employees a yearly special payment. The wording used by the new agreement is quite generic and unclear. It can be said that the Bank may exercise a certain discretion in evaluating the employee’s right to this yearly special payment. It can be also said that such clause may easily give rise to possible requests by "quadri direttivi" of the 1st and 2nd level who may claim that they have worked "well in excess" of the above conventional limit, being therefore entitled to this payment.

Salary. A wage rise of 1,2% for the year 2000 and 1,1% for the year 2001 has been agreed as a recovery of the inflation. According to the main Italian business newspaper ("Il Sole-24 Ore", see article of July 13, 1999), the average monthly increase of the salary will amount to Itl. 101.000.

Moreover, the 14th monthly instalment has been repealed, the yearly remuneration being divided into 13 instalments. This will obviously result in an increase of the amount of the monthly salary.

Automatic seniority increases. These components of pay linked to the employees’ length of service will increase every 3 years instead of the current 2 years. Flexibility in the hiring of new employees ("Flessibilità all’ingresso"). A percentage of 10% of the work force can be employed with a fixed term contract. 5% of the work force can be used by means of temporary contracts.

20% of the current work force may ask to transform the employment contract from full-time to part-time.

A specific regulation of the so-called "telelavoro" (telework) has been provided. Employers are allowed either to hire teleworkers or to transform an existing regular employee -with his consent- to a teleworker.

1 A collective agreement (contratto collettivo di lavoro), in Italy, is an agreement concluded between a trade union organisation and an employer or an employers’ association, with the aim of establishing the content of individual contracts of employment and regulating relationships between the parties. It should be noted that collective agreements are private contracts and therefore are effective and binding only for employers who are members of an association which stipulates them and for those who, although not members of a union, choose to refer to the collective agreement in their individual 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.