Salary and Benefits

Make sure you know what to expect from your pay packet...

The salary (stipendio - the word salario means wage) is stated in the employment contact, and details of salary reviews, planned increases and cost of living rises may also be included. Salaries in job contracts are normally stated gross (lordo), that is, before all deductions and withholdings for benefits, taxes and social security. Salaries are generally paid monthly, although they may be quoted in contracts on an hourly (orario), monthly (mensile) or annual (annuale) basis, depending on the type of job or position.

If a bonus is paid, such as a 13th or 14th month's salary, it is stated in the employment contract.

Details such as the method of payment of your salary into a bank or post office account and the date of salary payments are usually included in general terms and conditions. A pay slip (busta paga) is sent with the salary detailing gross pay and deductions.

Minimum wage

Minimum salaries (paga base) are fixed under collective agreements between unions and employers for each category of worker. This basic wage may, however, be adjusted downwards for apprentices. Inexperienced employees may earn the minimum basic wage, although most employees are paid much more, particularly in the north of the country (wages are lower in the south, which has high unemployment). The basic salary may be supplemented by an "above base payment" (superminimo), a seniority increase (scatti di anzianità), overtime (straordinari) and bonuses (premi e gratificazioni).

Minimum wages are reviewed every few years and there's also a wage increase for inflation every two years. The government publishes a salary rate book (tabelle professionali) for each category of employee, including operatives (operai), staff employees (impiegati) and managers (dirigenti).

13th month's salary and bonuses

Many employees in Italy are entitled to an additional month's remuneration - the so-called 13th month's salary (tredicesima mensilità), usually paid in December before Christmas and referred to as a Christmas bonus (gratifica natalizia) when it applies to factory or manual workers. In addition, salaried employees in the commerce industry, managers, executives, and those who have worked for many years in the same company usually receive a 14th month's salary (quattordicesima mensilità) during the summer, generally in June.

Some employees, such as those in the petroleum and banking industries, receive 15th and even 16th months' salary. Extra months' salary are guaranteed bonuses and aren't pegged to the company's performance. In the first and last years of employment, the extra months' salary and other bonuses should be paid pro rata (calculated in twelfths or dodicesimi) if a full calendar year has not been worked. Senior and middle managers often receive extra bonuses (premi e gratificazioni), perhaps linked to profits, equal to around 10 to 20 percent of their annual salary.

Education and Training

Employee education (preparazione) and training (formazione) isn't taken as seriously as in many other EU countries, and Italian employers aren't obliged to provide employee training programmes, such as seminars, conferences, technical courses or language lessons. However if an employee needs to learn or improve their Italian or another language in order to perform their job, the cost of language study is usually paid by the employer.

Employers who are keen to attract the best employees, particularly those engaged in high-tech fields, usually allocate extra funds and provide excellent training schemes, although not all employees benefit equally from training, which is decided by the employer. The employee should investigate courses of study, seminars and lectures that they feel will be of direct benefit to them and the employer. Most employers give reasonable consideration to a request to attend a course during working hours, provided it doesn't take too much time.

Further Information

Extract from Living and Working in Italy (3rd Edition, 2007) edited by Graeme Chesters (Available as eBook or order from Amazon) Published by Survival Books Ltd Copyright © Survival Books Ltd All Rights Reserved (Updated June 2021)