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Working Time In Italy: What Is It Like To Be A Worker In Modern Italy?

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Working Time In Italy: What Is It Like To Be A Worker In Modern Italy?

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Working time in Italy: discover how long do the Italians usually work?

Work-life balance is changing across the globe. The working hours of a modern day employee are incredibly different even from just 20 years ago, and this definitely reflects the experience of workers in Italy.

How many hours per week do Italians work?

Italy has always been a country that favours a good work-life balance. From north to south, time with family is central to the values of most Italians and this is reflected in the working hours of most jobs. The maximum working week is set at 40 hours and overtime must not exceed 48.

Other similarities run up and down the country, with many shops closing for the midday riposo, which typically lasts from 1pm till 3.30pm. The average working week in Italy amounts to around 36 hours a week, with 4 weeks of paid holiday, in addition to 12 public holidays. Labour contracts and collective bargaining agreements have succeeded in improving these conditions too.

Does the Italian working timetable vary depending on the sector?

The working hours of private sector and public sector workers differs massively in Italy. Although both often work from Monday through to Saturday, full-time workers in the private sector can expect to start work at 9am and not finish until 6pm, with a 1-2 hour lunch break, although this is usually shorter in the bigger cities.

​The longer breaks are usually reserved for business lunches, as it is considered important to share a good meal with your prospective client before agreeing to work together. Most public offices open from 8am and close shortly after lunch at 2pm. Night workers are entitled to work only 8 hours within 24 hours.

When do holidays mostly take place?

​The majority of this paid vacation is taken in August, the month of Ferragosto, when seemingly the entire nation heads to the beach for the summer break. During this time many shops are closed as business owners take the opportunity to go on holiday.

Trade unions and workers’ rights in Italy

​In addition to these established working patterns in Italy, increasingly more workers are finding themselves subject to more modern, casual conditions of employment. The gig economy is alive and well in the country, with many workers choosing their hours based on a casual working relationship with their employer.

​Trade unions in Italy developed fast in the ‘70s and they remain quite strong today. Food delivery service apps like Glovo and Deliveroo are a striking example of this, with delivery workers choosing their hours based on their own availability at any given time. Also many companies circumvent the rules on paid holidays by keeping workers on temporary 6 month contracts, rather than immediately giving them permanent ones.

​Overall the world of work in Italy varies greatly, with different jobs offering different terms of employment. However, there is still a strong cultural focus on time spent away from workwhich is valued and generally respected across the economy.


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