How to create offer letters for employees in Italy


Jul 20, 2023

After endless interviews with candidates abroad, you've finally selected the best person for the role at your company, and it's time to offer them the job. In Italy, offer letters can be verbal, but specific clauses must be written in an employment contract within 30 days of the employee's start date to make it legally binding.

A written offer letter is essential to share more details about the role, the employee’s duties, and to help protect your company should any legal disputes arise. 

Here's everything you need to send a legally compliant offer letter to hire a full-time employee in Italy and start your employment relationship on the right foot.

Italy job offer letter checklist

  • Position (job title), job description, start date, and probationary period. In addition to their official job title and a description of the employee's duties, list the job's start date. The company will assess the employee's ability to fulfill the duties during the probationary period. Although not required by law in Italy, probationary periods are commonly used. The length of the probationary period, which can last up to six months, is usually determined by the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and employment contract.
  • Work permit. Can your new hire work in the European Union? Figure that out as quickly as possible. As a general rule, it’s better to be transparent with job seekers about work eligibility and whether or not they need a work visa. Be clear about the job offer being contingent on proof of their eligibility to work legally in Italy.
  • Working hours. Provide a clear schedule of the working days and hours you require your employee to work. In Italy, the standard workweek is limited to 40 hours unless otherwise negotiated through the CBA. Employees may not exceed 80 overtime hours per year and are entitled to a daily rest period of at least 11 consecutive hours within 24 hours. Overtime work in Italy can’t exceed 250 hours per year and must be compensated with additional pay.
  • Compensation & Benefits.
    • Salary. In addition to the amount of the employee’s annual salary in euros, indicate when they’ll be paid each month and any bonuses or allowances they’ll receive. Typically, workers in Italy get paid monthly at the end of the month. Per Italian law, salaries are split into 14 payments throughout the year rather than 12, with pay doubled as a Christmas holiday bonus and a summer holiday bonus (the customary 13th and 14th months’ salaries). 
    • Minimum wage. There is no statutory minimum wage at the national or regional level, but it is typically set out by the CBAs.
    • Benefits. The core statutory employee benefits in Italy are:
      • Leave entitlements, including 12-paid holidays, annual leave, and sick leave
      • Parental leave
      • Pension plans
      • Social security contributions
      • Overtime pay
      • Work-related injury and illness insurance
    • Vacation days. Indicate the paid vacation time the new employee will receive annually. According to Italian labor laws, employees are eligible for four weeks of paid holiday leave annually. Two of the four weeks must be utilized within the current year, while the remaining can be used 18 months from the end of the accrual year.
    • Sick leave. Explain your company’s sick leave policies, including the process for notifying direct managers in the event of an illness. Understanding Italian sick leave policies can be a bit complex—employees receive 100% of their salary from their employer during the first three days of sick leave. From the fourth day onwards, employees receive a percentage of their salary from the employer and a percentage from social security, up to a maximum of 180 sick days per year. 
  • Termination policy. Include information on your company’s policies surrounding termination. When a working relationship is terminated, whether for just cause or resignation, Italian employers must pay a severance pay called "Trattamento di Fine Rapporto." This pay is calculated by dividing the employee's total received salary by 13.5—an extra cost to the employer of approximately 7% per month. Employers can terminate employees for either objective reasons, such as redundancy due to economic reasons, or subjective reasons, such as a breach of their contractual duties.
  • Notice period. There is no statutory notice period in Italy, but details must be included in employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements as it relates to your company.
  • Other key details. This includes:
    • Contact information, including a phone number for your new hire.
    • How the employee will be paid. As of July 1, 2018, it is no longer permitted to pay salaries in cash in Italy. Instead, employers must make payments through checks, bank transfers, or other electronic means.
    • The place of work for your employee. If there is no fixed location (such as an office), indicate that the place of work is flexible.
    • Maximum contract time period. Fixed-term contracts, for instance, can last for a maximum of 36 months, but the total number of contracts cannot exceed 20% of the total workforce. It's important to note that this type of contract can’t be used after collective dismissals.
    • Any contingencies for the offer, such as satisfactory results from a routine background check or signing company policy documents.
    • A reminder for the employee to sign and return the employment agreement to confirm their job acceptance before their start date.
  • Non-compete and non-solicit agreements. Italy regulates an employee's non-compete obligation to their employer through the Italian Civil Code. This clause applies both during and after the period of employment and cannot exceed three years (or five years for managers). Non-compete agreements must be in writing, specify the prohibited competitive activities and their location, and provide compensation for the loss of professional skills, ranging from 20% to 40% of their gross annual remuneration.
  • Confidentiality and non-disclosure. Although Italian laws provide a degree of protection for confidential information, having an NDA in place is crucial to fully secure a company's sensitive information and intellectual property rights. Confidentiality agreements and NDAs are legally binding in Italy, so it’s advisable to include them in the employment contract.

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Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, accounting or legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.

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last edited: July 21, 2023

The Author

Muriel Vega

A freelance tech and B2B writer based in Atlanta, Muriel focuses her work on human resources and workplace trends and creating engaging content for SaaS companies. She has traveled the world, but her favorite place to work is Mexico City.