TOOLKIT PEOPLE

For INDIVIDUALS

This part of Toolkit is addressed to individuals who are unemployed or seeking re-entry in the labour market – both women and men having caring obligations and/or other reconciliation needs, as well as all those, especially young people, trying to access the job market and asking to reconcile working needs with social and personal life needs

What is it?

Reconciling professional and private life means to find a satisfactory balance between the various contexts, private life and work, both on a public and on a private level, with regards to all the activities we engage with in the enterprise as well as to the right of enjoying free time. The sum of work – private life balance policies and measures is an essential factor in the innovation of social, economic, and cultural models and aims at providing tools. These tools, making working and private life compatible, will enable every individual to live to the fullest the multiple roles they play within complex societies.

When referring to reconciliation it can mean the mere need of balancing the time spent at work with the time required for family obligations – for example caring for children, the elderly or people with disabilities and/or not self-sufficient people – or in a broader definition, as it is considered in this project, reconciliation could mean the need of balance among differently paced lives which may include self-care needs, training or education needs, personal sphere development needs (this may be the case, for example, of people engaging with political activities or volunteering).

Why it is a topic of debate

In recent years, professional and private life reconciliation has become paramount.

On the one hand, the sphere of work has been increasingly digitalized thus fostering a gradual permeability between professional and private life. The possibility/necessity of being constantly connected, enabled and supported by the currently available digital tools, is inclined to erase the line separating working-time and off-time and make more and more essential the boundaries – physical and psychological – which individuals want to keep between these two areas.

On the other hand, the frenetic pace of everyday life does not often allow to reconcile work with family care, self-care, the study load, political activities, or volunteering. This pushes individuals to the margins of the labour market, particularly women, who carry the heaviest burden of care work and often have to choose between work and private life.

Women, care work: data

From a recent Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) study, it appears that, while men involved in care work in Italy are 13%, women* are 20.2 %. This obligation, linked to the lack of appropriate reconciliation measures, shows an often-lower employment rate of women in the labour market. Let it suffice to think that about 20 % of the unoccupied women in Europe sees as the reason of their condition, the existence of family members to be cared for.

These figures take an alarming dimension when thinking that, on the European** level in 2017 man/ woman employment inequality was around 11% while the gender occupational gap in Italy is 18.4 %.

*Italian National Institute of Statistics, “I tempi della vita quotidiana: lavoro, conciliazione, parità di genere e benessere soggettivo”, 2019.
**European Commission, “Work Life Balance Factsheet”, 2017.

Current state of the debate in Europe

The definition of reconciliation of working time – private life has undergone an evolution which finds correspondence in the legal developments on the European level.

The 1996 EU Directive on parental leave referred to Work Life Balance as ‘conciliation policies aimed at minimizing conflicts between occupational and family obligations and promoting women participation to the labour market without hindering reproduction.’

At first of a more limited scope, overtime the concept has been extended to the definition of life – work balance as ‘… a satisfactory state of equilibrium between an individual’s work and private life. Enabling a better work- life balance for workers across their life course’ (Eurofound, 2016).

In 2017, the European pillar of Social Rights, which includes work life balance in the 20 principles promoted by the EU, took action by widening the scope of the regulation on reconciliation. Indeed, it reads:

‘Parents and people with caring responsibilities have the right to suitable leave, flexible working arrangements and access to care services. Women and men shall have equal access to special leaves of absence in order to fulfil their caring responsibilities and be encouraged to use them in a balanced way.’

After the Social Pillar, in the same year, the legislative procedure on a new EU proposal about work-like balance focusing on parental leave was started, going for a wider approach which would keep into account the social developments of the last ten years. After two years of negotiations, on 12 July 2019 the Directive (EU) 2019/1158 was published in the EU Official Gazette. The directive refers to the equilibrium between professional and family life for parents and care givers and abrogates the previous Directive 2010/18/EU of the Council.

The new directive aims at ‘ensuring the implementation of the principle of equality between men and women with regards to labour market opportunities and treatment at work. Through adapting and modernizing the EU legal framework, … [to] allow parents and people with caring responsibilities to better reconcile their work and caring duties.’

The directive further shows that ‘the availability of leaves and flexible working arrangements has been shown to strongly mitigate the effect of caring responsibilities on women’s employment outcomes. By providing parents and carers with greater choice in how to organise work and caring responsibilities it will help avoid that they drop out of the labour market altogether. Moreover, as opportunities and incentives for men to make use of work-life balance arrangements are generally scarce and their take-up is accordingly low in most Member States, improving the gender-balanced design of these arrangements can help re-balancing the distribution of care within the household.’

Progress made on the EU level highlight how essential the issue of work – life balance has become and how the scope of policies in relation to it are not only aimed at women with family care obligations but also at men – with the end of promoting gender equality and care load sharing – as well as for needs which are outside of the family context in a narrower sense.

Current state of the debate in Italy

In Italy, reconciliation policies have represented – and still do – a significant innovation factor for social, economic and cultural models of the country. These policies aim at making work-life and private life compatible through the use of tools enabling individuals to live at their best their multiple roles within complex societies.

On a national level as well as on a European level, reconciliation policies are directed both at women and men and, at the same time, at the social fabric (enterprises, organizations, etc). Such policies have a visible impact on the rebalancing of the care load within the couple and in the organization of work.

In Italy, Law No. 53/2000 of 8 March 2000 is the main legislation about reconciliation. This law, besides introducing parental leave and thus promoting a bigger involvement of fathers in caring for the children, focuses on especially with art. 9, the experimentation of positive actions for reconciliation on the working place, raising awareness in enterprises and social partners.

Further developments have been brought in with the 2010 Unified Conference which led to the approval of an agreement on “Work – life reconciliation” to enforce a coordinated system of actions to increase the number of available care services and strengthen those services already supporting women to stay in, or re-enter, the labour market.

In 2012, a second conference followed. The conference aimed at making a new agreement to extend and strengthen activities and organizations for working women and men who, when working, have also to take care of children or non-self-sufficient people.

Over the years, the Italian legislation has achieved progress on reconciliation (laws mentioned here are, among others: Article 38 of Law No 69/2009 “Provisions about economic development, simplification, competitiveness and civil procedure” as an amendment to Law No 53 art. 9 of 8 March 2000, ‘Provisions for the support of maternity and paternity, the right to care and education, for the coordination of time schedules of the city’ and the Legislative Decree 80/2015 “Measures for the conciliation of care, life and work needs.”)

Moreover, every year, the budget bill dispose for several measures about reconciliation; the last one in chronological order, published in the Official Gazette No 304 from 30 December 2019, Law No 160/2019 of 27 December 2019 in the Budget Bill 2020, extended the paternity leave to 7 days.

All provisions supporting work- private life reconciliation, to the right to care and education, will have to face the development of the coming laws as well as the provisions of the newly approved EU directive which, before 2022, will bring several changes on the national level with regards to regularizing work-life balance.

Finally, it is worth noticing art. 180 (1, I) in the Legislative Decree No 150/2015 which includes, among necessary services to set up on the national territory to support job-seekers, the “Presentation of working time reconciliation with care obligations towards minors and/or non self-sufficient individuals; indicative information on subjects entitled to reconciliation tools and reach out for subjects entitled to reconciliation tools.” In this way, information is promoted on both existing measures/services as well as on subjects entitled to reconciliation tools (INPS, Regions, Municipalities, etc)

The EQW&L project and this Toolkit move forward following the lines of these actions and with the aim to continue in the direction of these provisions.

What is it?

The toolkit is intended as an easy-to-read tool on issues related to work-life balance. It is mainly addressed to operators in Public Employment Services (PES), to people with reconciliation needs and to SMEs. The toolkit is assembled with the intent of disseminating existing solutions and available resources to all those who are looking for a better work-life balance in their life or for their company.

In this sense, the Toolkit is a practical and educational guide carrying out an examination and a detailed study of the existing policies and measures on reconciliation, focusing on services and rights of individuals, as well as on SMEs and their obligations and incentives. In the following paragraph, it will be highlighted the aim of the toolkit and a short description of its content and the people it is addressed to.

Goals and purposes

The toolkit aims at informing a heterogeneous audience about the meaning of reconciliation and to provide a guiding framework without claims of being exhaustive on policies and measures adopted on European, national, and local level. Policies and measures are targeted at fostering a better balance between time dedicated to professional life and time committed to care for depending and/or non-self-sufficient people, to self-care, as well as to sports, politics, training and education which are complementary to one’s own private life and make it satisfying.

The final goal of the toolkit, in addition to being used in employment services or in working places, is not only to provide information about work – life balance but, ideally, to be a practical and easy tool for its users. It will be of support in providing first answers and facilitating a first “re-scan” of one’s own reconciliation needs, in laying the ground for the users to find inspiration, opportunities and/or services that were not known before and thus may make the management of these needs easier.

Structure

The toolkit consists of an introductory part describing the project and outlining the context of the suggested activities and of the actors involved.

It subsequently focuses on the definition and characteristics of reconciliation, analysing its various aspects and introducing the rights of people to Work-Life Balance (WLB) needs and exploring opportunities and services they could turn to.

At the end of the toolkit, you can find some handy attachments, conceived to help recipients to find their bearings in assessing reconciliation needs and their possible responses and existing opportunities, in legal terms, in organizational opportunities as well as in terms of services.

Recipients

The toolkit is addressed to operators who already have prior knowledge on work – life reconciliation issues as well as to people who approach it for the first time and want to get information about it.

The toolkit is to be considered as a dynamic and versatile tool, both with regards to the features of the areas where it is used in and to its users’ needs.

Within the project’s greater scope, this toolkit is particularly addressed to job centres and services advisers in their work with users’ re-entry into the workforce.

The toolkit is conceived to assist and accompany people with reconciliation needs who are seeking for new answers and perspectives about their WLB needs, as well as for SMEs willing to offer reconciliation options to their employees or upgrade their existing offer.

In Italy, the main normative framework regarding work – life reconciliation is enunciated in Law No 53/2000 ‘provisions for the support of maternity and paternity, the right to care and education, for the coordination of time in the city’ which regulates matters about different types of leave, maternity, paternity and parental leave, right to care and education and coordination of time in the city. More closely, art. 9 (as amended by art. 38 Law No 69/2009 of 18 June 2009) establishes the measures to conciliate work time and off-time in support of a flexible working schedule.

Leaves are a substantial part of work – life reconciliation policies; however, they are not the only existing and recommended measure to be taken. Along with them, to be considered there are also measures intervening on working time, flexibility in the organization of work and care services system as well as economic transfers to support the care load, particularly with regards to childhood and births.

Below are introduced the main normative and regulatory tools currently in effect in Italy, addressed to those who are seeking to enter the labour market as well as those who are already active in the labour market.
State maternity allowance

State maternity allowance is a maternity allowance provided by the Italian National Social Welfare Institute (INPS), as social security allowance, given to people in atypical and discontinuous employment.

State maternity allowance is paid to:

  • the mother, or adopter;
  • the father, or adopter;
  • pre-adoption foster care parent(s);
  • to the unmarried adopter;
  • to the spouse of the adopting mother or pre-adoptive foster parent;
  • to the foster parents (not pre-adoptive) in case child/children are not recognized/not recognizable from both natural parents.

For further information on requirements, enforcement and access procedure, refer to INPS website.

Municipality maternity allowance

Municipality maternity allowance is a basic social assistance allowance granted by municipalities and paid by INPS.

The right to the allowance, in case of a child born, adopted or in pre – adoptive foster care, is granted to all residents in Italy who are either Italian citizens, EU Nationals or non-EU nationals with a residence permit.

The allowance is only granted within a specific range of income; applicants are not required to have any social security coverage or they have to have it within a specific amount established annually; moreover applicants must not already benefit from any other INPS maternity allowance.

For further information on requirements, enforcement and access procedure, refer to INPS website.

The financial tools previously described are aimed, in the first place, at granting to unemployed or people in non-standard employment, the protection of maternity and the chance to enjoy the arrival and first moments with the child in relatively stable financial conditions.

Some other measures are directed to promote access to the labour market for people whose WLB needs are, at the same time, contractual and organizational and thus find their solution in the institution of part-time, in all its different options.

Part-time, namely the shortening of working hours in comparison to what is considered standard hours, in its different forms may respond to the diverse reconciliation needs arising when an individual wants to enter or re-enter an active working life. This also entails that all retribution and social assistance components are proportionate to the working commitment. However, if assuming a positive interpretation of part-time being a measure to be applied for a limited amount of time and a voluntary choice of the unoccupied/unemployed person, it may have its benefits in granting balance between private life and working life.

There are different possible part-time working options

  • horizontal, namely a reduction of hours on a daily basis;
  • vertical, when the work is executed full-time but limited to certain days of the week, or months or years;
  • mixed, a mixed solution of working hours from vertical and horizontal part-time;

These solutions may, for a specific amount of time, meet the different conciliation needs arising when entering/re-entering the labour market with regards to self-care or to care obligations towards other people, being those part of the family or not.

https://www.cliclavoro.gov.it/NormeContratti/Contratti/Pagine/Contratto-di-lavoro-part-time.aspx

All local services, both public or public-private, are to be deemed helpful in order to promote WLB along with all normative measures suitable to recognize maternity and all contractual agreements which may create off-time to dedicate to care needs. PES should be aware of the existence of such services in order to most efficiently direct users according to their needs: for themselves, for their children, for dependent people with disabilities and/or the elderly.

See in the following pages of this toolkit, further details about the types of services. In these pages, it is also prospected the possibility of effective actions realized through the joint collaboration of the employment centre/services and the welfare manager. The welfare manager is increasingly more present in the regions as well as its area of expertise is becoming more specific. 

Statutory maternity leave

Statutory maternity leave is the right of absence from work, for the mother for a period of maximum 5 months.

It is illegal for the employer to put women to work during these 5 months.

Maternity leave can be requested by all female employees, including those working in public administrations and private companies. It can also be requested by consultants, by those who have an apprenticeship contract and by a working partner in a social cooperative.

Maternity leave can be used:

  • two months before childbirth
  • three months after childbirth;

Alternatively, it may be used:

  • one month before childbirth;
  • four following months (in order to work up to the end of the 8th month of pregnancy, the employee must obtain a medical certificate proving that such choice wouldn’t cause any damage to the health of the unborn baby and/or the expectant mother)

For further information on maternity leave, who’s entitled to it and what the allowance provides for, refer to INPS website.

Paternity Leave

Paternity leave is a type of leave only the father who is in employment is entitled to. It can be requested by the father after the birth of the child(ren) with the purpose of caring for and spending more time with his partner, the new-born(s) and older children.

A father in employment can apply for paternity leave autonomously or converting maternity leave only in case the child has been abandoned by the mother or the mother is seriously ill or has died.

Law No 92/2012 of 28 June 2012 instituted mandatory leave and voluntary leave, as an alternative to maternity leave, which, the father, adopter or foster parent who is in employment can ask for, before and not past the 5th month of life of the child.

A father in employment is entitled to 5 days of mandatory leave which can also be taken discontinuously for any childbirth, adoption or fostering related events occurred in between 1 January 2019 until 31 December 2019.

Voluntary leave for the father is bound to whether the working mother chooses not to avail herself of one day of statutory maternity leave. The day off taken by the father cuts back the final term of the maternity leave.

In the Budget Bill 2020, the government included the extension of paternity leave to 7 days in the family bonuses 2020.

For further information on starting date, duration and allowance, refer to INPS website

Parental Leave

Parental leave is an institution aimed at balancing parenting with working, granting to both parents the possibility of spending more time with their children.

Parental leave is a period of absence from work that may be applied for by both mother and father in the aftermath of maternity leave. Wages accrued during days of parental leave are paid by INPS.

Natural, adoptive, or foster parents are entitled to parental leave during the term of the contract, within the first 12 years of life of the child or inclusion in the family unit (regardless of the age of the child at the moment of adoption or taking into foster care and not past the 18th birthday). The total amount of leave taken by both parents cannot exceed 10 months. It may be extended up to 11 months if the father is absent from work for a period of three months both in a continuous and discontinuous way. Parents can ask for parental leave also simultaneously.

For further information on how it works and related allowance, refer to INPS website.

OTHER TYPES OF LEAVE

Sick child leave

Both parents, alternatively, are entitled to be absent from work for a duration of time corresponding to the illnesses of each child who’s not above 3 years old.

Furthermore, each parent, alternatively, is entitled to take time off-work, within the limit of 5 working-days per year, for the illnesses of each child aged 3 – 8 years.

In case of sick child leave, parents are entitled to be paid by the employer.

Daily leave for breastfeeding

The mother, employed either on a fixed-term contract or an open-ended contract, is entitled to two breastfeeding breaks of two hours until the child turns one years old. In case of a twinning birth, breaks duration is doubled.

It also applies in case of adoption and time doubles in case of adoption of two children, also when those are not coming from the same family but have been adopted at the same time.

The father can apply for daily breastfeeding breaks in case the mother – employed on a fixed-term contract or on a permanent contract – expressly chooses not to avail herself of maternity leave or belongs to one of the categories not entitled to breastfeeding breaks. If the mother is in mandatory or voluntary leave, the father cannot apply for it.

For further information on how it works and related allowance, refer to INPS website.

Two years paid leave for serious disability

The two-years paid leave are outlined in the Law No 388/2000 (art. 80 paragraph 2, then picked up again by art. 42, paragraph 5 Legislative Decree No 151, 26 March 2001) integrating the provisions in Law No 53/2000 which introduced the possibility of obtaining a two years paid leave for parents of people with serious disability

It also applies for employees living together with their brother or sister with serious disability provided that neither of their parents is still alive.

The Legislative Decree No 119/2011 of 18 July 2011, thoroughly reviewed the matter of the 24 months paid leave, particularly with regards to those who are entitled to it and how to access it.

For further information on how it works and related allowance, refer to INPS website.

Paid and unpaid leave for events or special circumstances.

The worker is entitled to a three-working days paid leave in case of death or serious illness of spouse or relative up to second degree or domestic partner, provided that domestic partnership is proved by registry office certification. Alternatively, in cases of documented serious illness, employees may agree on different working arrangements with the employer.

For further information look up art. 4 paragraph 1, Law No 53/2000 of 8 March 2000.

Paid leave for domestic violence victims

To ease the psychological recovery of women victims of gender-based violence, Art. 24 from Legislative Decree No 80/2015 of 15 June 2015 provides for female employees, both in the public and private sector, to be entitled to a paid leave of maximum 90 working days within a 3 years period, to go through the certified protection procedure.

For further information on its procedure and related allowance, refer to INPS website

Leave of absence from work on the ground of Law No. 104/1992

Employees with a recognized serious disability (Law No. 104/1992) are entitled to paid leaves. Employees with care obligations towards a person in a grave situation, are entitled to three days per month leave provided that the person with disability is a relative or a close relative up to the third degree.

For further information on its procedure and related allowance, refer to: https://www.inps.it/nuovoportaleinps/default.aspx?itemdir=46180

OTHER TYPES OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE

Employees are entitled to other types of paid leave:

  • Leave for personal reasons (study leave). The Workers’ Charter grants to working students, including university students, the right to paid study leave for a maximum of 150 hours in three years; to be used also in one year only.
  • Leave for elected or public officials (elected in local administrations, participating to electoral operations) right to paid leave (as an alternative to being placed on hold for the full duration of the mandate) when elected in office.
  • Paid leave: volunteers for civil defence. Paid leave for rescue activities and assistance in situation of emergency or in calamitous events (total amount of 90 days in 1 years, maximum 30 consecutive days); rescue in emergency situations (total amount of 180 days in 1 year, maximum 60 consecutive days); for planning and training (total amount of 30 days in 1 years, maximum 10 consecutive days).
Remote working

Remote working is a work arrangement agreed upon between the parts, enabling the employee to work outside of the workplace with the support of a computer and internet connection. This layout has to be authorized by the employer and arrangements have to be made to define availability, tasks and days, within the weekly working hours established by the contract.

The choice of remote working is always reversible, both by the employer and the employee. Remote workers are entitled to the same rights as “traditional” workers, for example, with regards to training and union activities.

In the private sector, there is no legal framework for remote working, regulations are based on the contents of collective agreements.

For further information on how to apply the framework in an enterprise, refer to: https://www.inps.it/Circolari/Circolare%20numero%2052%20del%2027-02-2015.htm

Smart working

Smart working is a non-conventional working model based on flexibility and autonomy with regards to location, working hours and tools to use in addition to a corresponding increase of responsibility on the employee with regards to the outcomes. The key concept is flexibility of location and time. Work is partially done inside the working space and in part outside of it, agreed upon by employer and employee. The agreement has to be inside the contract scope (CCNL), but it defines the practical working conditions: working hours and mandatory availability.

Smart working is protected by the equality criteria: equal pay with the employees in the workplace, same bonuses, safety, limits of working hours and right to education.

The employer has to take care of safety and proper functioning of technological instruments assigned to the employee to work.

Public and private employers agreeing on smart working are required to give priority to the requests coming from workers in the three years following the end of maternity leave, or employees caring for children with disabilities in accordance with art. 3 paragraph 3, Law No 104/1992 of 5 February 1992.

For further information on how to apply the framework in an enterprise, refer to Ministero del Lavoro

Flexible Hours

Law No 196/1997 of 24 June 1997 established the standard weekly hour load to 40 hours, with the opportunity, as national collective bargaining provide, to set a lower amount of time (e.g. 6 hours). Law n. 196/1997 art.13 assigns the capacity to modify the weekly working hour load to collective bargaining.

Individual flexibility with regards to working hours, enables the individual worker to vary his/her presence on the workplace through a set of fixed rules, on daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis.

The more common hours flexibility arrangements are:

  • staggered hours – starting and finishing time are specific to an employee within a set time window, to give space to a better balance with family needs (e.g. drop off/pick up children from school)
  • compressed hours – established by contract, it enables the employee to skip lunch break to leave work earlier.
  • fixed time where employees overlap in the workplace – specific timeslots for the employee to be in the workplace. Considering the total daily working hours, the employee is entitled to choose the starting/ending hour. Having one or two allocated timeslots meets the needs of the enterprise allowing room for the life -work balance need of the employee.
Hours bank

Hours bank is a contractual institution enabling workers to bank worked hours in an individual “account” to be taken as leave of absence at a time in the future over the year for personal or family reconciliation needs.

Only employees are entitled to banked hours. Conditions and terms are agreed between managers and individual employees within the limits of the contracted amount of hours. (Circolare INPS No 39 of 17 February 2000).

Family support measures are allocated/increased each year by the Budget Bill, therefore they are subject to variation also on the short run, based on budget set priorities and availability.

The following list is based on measures introduced or ameliorated by the 2020 Budget Bill as well as two more measures, one established by the Family policies department and another provided by the municipalities.

Baby Bonus Scheme

The baby bonus, for families with ISEE up to EUR 25 000, becomes a universal provision decreasing with higher incomes. The bonus, paid in 12 months instalments by INPS, includes babies born or adopted in 2020 and varies from EUR 80, to EUR 120 or EUR 160 according to the ISEE within the following income brackets:

  • ISEE up to EUR 7 000: yearly bonus of EUR 1 920  (as set earlier)
  • from EUR 7 000 to EUR 40 000: EUR 1 440 bonus (reduced)
  • above EUR 40 000: EUR 960 bonus

The bonus increases by 20% if in 2020 another child is born or adopted.

Awaiting for INPS Circular

Nursery bonus

Planned improvement of this bonus in relation to the 2019 amount, for families with ISEE below EUR 25 000. Currently the bonus amounts to EUR 1 500 while with the planned improvement, it will increase up to EUR
3 000.

  • EUR 1 500 with ISEE above EUR 40 000;
  • EUR 2 500 with ISEE between EUR 25 000 and EUR 40 000;
  • EUR 3 000 with ISEE below EUR 25 000.

The bonus is a contribution to pay nursery fees or a baby sitter.

Awaiting for INPS Circular

Bonus Mother Tomorrow

The bonus is confirmed for 2020 with the current amount of EUR 800. It is a sum paid to every new-born or child-adoption on a national or international level, or pre-adoptive foster-care child.

It can be claimed starting from the 7th month of pregnancy.

Awaiting for INPS Circular

Support fund for a higher birth rate

The fund is dedicated to promote access to credit for families with one or more children, born or adopted after 1 January 2017, until reaching the age of 3, through direct guarantees, suretyship, to banks or financial intermediaries. The fund is established by the Family policies department and managed by CONSAP Inc.

Beneficiaries of the fund are all family units, resident in Italy and with Italian or any EU-member state citizenship, or, in case of a non-Eu citizen, only those with an EU long-term residence permit.

CONSAP Inc.

Third-child family bonus

A 13-months instalment contribution is established for family units composed by at least one parent and three minors, with ISEE (variable each year)

The bonus is issued by the municipality on behalf of INPS