FOR THE public employment services

This part of the Toolkit is addressed to  the employment services system proposing and testing strategies the Italian public employment services (PES) network can use to support persons entering or re-entering the labour market who are made more vulnerable by their work -life balance needs

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.


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.


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, for the right to care and training and for the coordination of urban temporalities’ 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.

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. (Cfr. pp. 20-22).

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.


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

Viable tools for work – life reconciliation aimed at facilitating integration/reintegration in the labour market for PES users.

Viable methods and tools to pinpoint private life and work reconciliation needs, for employees, unoccupied/unemployed individuals in a job centre/service can be somewhat used simultaneously.

This happens both when the job centre/service is relating with unoccupied/unemployed people trying to integrate/reintegrate in the labour marker, and when they interface with all those who, even already actively working, are interested into getting information or maybe undertaking a new work arrangement.

For both groups of recipients, the person/organization in charge of identifying individual needs, specifically about WLB, should consider a broader context highlighting the characteristics of labour supply and demand at the local level.  

Certainly this assessment needs to be combined with the offer of support policies and services for reconciliation already existing on the ground and/or in the enterprises which can meet these needs, as suggested in the following parts of this toolkit.

On one hand, this is aimed at providing answers which are somewhat customized. On the other hand, It is directed at reshaping a system of needs and responses which overtime will be more and more integrated in a consolidated background as a practice of PES.

In order to accomplish such tasks, the job centre/service operator should:

  • Be aware of labour market trends in the area to have an exhaustive panorama of the labour supply/demand and thus be able to retrace its dynamics overtime;
  • to have a good understanding of the service users, and a deep perspective on gender-based specific needs to tailor actions to;
  • have a good knowledge of users training and working background also by using tools which highlight one’s own formal and informal skills (e.g. Skills profile)
  • be able to redefine balancing needs which are inherently dynamic and thus require the implementation of a likewise dynamic response system.

To this end, in the following paragraph will be outlined a prospect to support a job centre/service operator when in need of/after detecting individual work – life reconciliation needs, being this person already employed or unoccupied/unemployed. The prospect should follow a two-fold development:

  • fields and know-how the operator can acquire/improve
  • sources and methods to acquire such knowledge.


Fields of knowledge the PES operator could acquire/improve

Defining fields of knowledge


Gender-sensitive national and local labour market trends

Unemployment/ unoccupied / employment organised by:




education/professional training

family conditions

work experience

type of recurring contracts

production system trends on the local level

Italian Institute of Statistics Workforce survey

ISTAT Multipurposed survey on families

ISTAT BES (equitable and sustainable well-being)survey

Local observatory on labour market and production systems


Gender-disaggregated users personal data





education/professional training

Tool already in use in the job service, to be made gender-sensitive when necessary.


Users training background


School education

academic degree(s)



Tool already in use in the job service, to be made gender-sensitive when necessary.

Users work experience

Past work experiences (for unemployed)

Fields/production sectors where such experiences took place

type and duration of past contracts

current work experience (for employed)

work expectations

Tool already in use in the job service, to be made gender-sensitive when necessary.

Individual reconciliation needs

personal/family condition

care responsibilities in the family towards one/more person/people (minors, elderly, people with temporary or permanent disabilities…)

self-care needs (e.g. study, physical/sport activities, volunteering, relocation…)

Ad-hoc check list

Ad-hoc interview

The different needs – long-standing needs as well as temporary but more immediate ones – of PES users looking for time reconciliation should be detectable through structured tailored systems and equipment. On this basis, it will then be possible to provide efficient responses within the existing political/normative framework as well as on all viable services to be open to meet the reconciliation needs.

The Reconciliation Plan must be considered as a dynamic tool in constant progress. It doesn’t have to become static when dealing with job centres users nor with SMEs employees.

The outline of the RP will include a joint identification of solutions based on users-focused interviews, and where there may be a collective problem, on a focus group.

The actions to be undertaken need to be frequently monitored in the logic of enabling a constant adaptation of the plan to the user’s needs, undoubtedly varying during the course of one’s own life.

Existing and newly emerging services will be taken into account by determining those most useful to the current needs.

There are many areas to activate local resources aimed at facilitating the implementation of a RP for Job centres/services users.

Depending on what area is considered, there can be free resources, public-private resources, entirely private resources which means at the expenses of the user, being the user direct (the job centre user) or indirect (care load) beneficiary.

Some macro areas and sub-categories (non-exhaustive) have been listed to provide a form of assistance in identifying specific services and support in these areas.

See in the following chart an overview based on people specific needs:




HOW TO BE FOUND (more specific information will be given once the place the test will be run will be available)

For children



Flexible childhood services (play-centres, children spaces…)

Children activity centre

Summer centre

Before-after school services

Transportation to school

Baby-sitting services

Minors home assistance

Children day-care centre

After-school club and study support

Extracurricular and free-time activities

Camps and holidays



Services aimed at children and young people.

Educational services for 0-6 children with different attendance option as well as services to support schools (before-school or after-school) structures or services to refer to during off-school time or during holidays.

The category includes social and assistance home services or in specific centres specialized on minors with various issues.


Municipality website

Information offices

Social municipal offices



For families

Day-care for elderly/people with disabilities

Home-assistance for the elderly

Assistance services for elderly people/people with disabilities

Senior centres

Centres for people with disabilities

Homes for seniors/people with disabilities

Services providing caretakers

Food delivery programs

Climatic holidays services

Relief service holidays

Nursing home services

Physiotherapist home service

Rehab services

Other …

Services directed to family members who need health care or assistance (elderly or people with disabilities)

Municipality website

Information offices

Social municipal offices





(Time to engage with volunteering activities, politics, hobbies, study…)


Handling paperwork services

Tax services

Orientation and counselling (organising time and space)

Cleaning and housekeeping

Care of green spaces

Animal care


Services enabling the job-seeker or the employee referring to job-centres, to obtain a certain support with regards to time-planning and to have the opportunity to rely on others with regards to “ancillary” activities (cleaning, pet care, etc ) which enable the individual to free some time to dedicate to something else.



Municipality website

Information offices

Social municipal offices



In order to facilitate the drafting and implementation of a good reconciliation plan, it could be beneficial to involve a welfare manager, where possible. A welfare manager may provide the ground to set up a combined action between job centres activities and services already existing on the ground in order to respond to the WLB needs of job-seekers or those who want to change their job through the assistance of a job service.

The welfare manager is a professional figure coming from the social field with a thorough knowledge of the area and its services. Moreover, they are experts in guiding people in finding a way to meet their needs. They are used to work in complex networks of actors and services.

The local welfare manager will be supporting job centre operators at specific concerted times, both during the drafting of reconciliation plans, and in the operational phase aimed at finding the most suitable and balanced response for each user to facilitate a hunt for a job respecting reconciliation needs.

See below two good-practice summary sheets of good practices implemented on the European level with regards to WLB.

Career path “return to work”


Career path “return to work”

(Karrierepfad “beruflich wieder einsteigen”)


Men and women seeking to re-enter the labour market after a prolonged absence from the work place (maternity leave, care obligations…)




Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Labour federal agency)


In progress

In-depth description:

The labour federal agency has a significant focus on WLB. It coordinates a number of activities and services aimed at integration/reintegration in the labour market for men and women after a prolonged absence from work and it provides a specific support to those who have care obligations. The agency also provides information on children care and assistance policies and for other care obligations in the area.

The approach fits in a broader strategy of equality in the labour market so that there would be no gender-based exclusion as well as no exclusion because of care responsibilities. The work of job centre operators is supported by equal opportunities advisers providing consultancy on gender equality and WLB.

The program is available as an interactive platform and consists of 4 options:

–    change of job or career path;

–    work re-entry after a leave;

–    how to develop one’s own career;

–    Education and training.

For all those who want to integrate/reintegrate in the labour market, the platform offers a form of support which is articulated in 4 phases:

–    laying out the purpose: identify the reasons to want to integrate/reintegrate in the labour market;

–    choosing the most suitable option to one’s own needs. Provided solutions are: part-time, a new level in the career path, accomplishing tertiary education, training to become autonomous workers;

–    policies or tools to support entry/re-entry in the labour market (child care services or services for the elderly and/or people with disabilities, information on rights for workers with care obligations, advising on how to identify suitable formation offers, problem solving);

–    pinpointing possible success factors to re-enter the labour market: how to tackle a job application, how to go through the job interview, information on the different contract forms e.g. mini-job, temporary work.


For other available information on good and promising practices refer to:

Business Gender Equality Seal (IWEO)


IWEO Business Gender Equality Seal


SMEs and people with care obligations




Spanish institute for women and equal opportunities (IWEO)


In progress

In- depth description

The Spanish institute for women and equal opportunities (IWEO) is an autonomous body attached to the Ministry of the Presidency, Parliamentary Relations and Equality through the State Secretariat for Equality, it works to support progress of women in all areas of society since 1983.

The IWEO is also the national Spanish institute for equal opportunities with regards to gender equality directives.

IWEO manages several networks of companies where enterprises share and exchange good practices about reconciliation and sharing of the care load between men and women, for example:

·       The integrated network of enterprises “MORE WOMEN, BETTER COMPANIES” (153 business) and

·       DIE BUSINESS NETWORK (148 business).

Since 2010, each year the Ministry of the Presidency, Parliamentary Relations and Equality awards an equal opportunity badge as a recognition for the employers who implemented good practices aimed at reaching equal treatment and who promoted policies for equal opportunities between men and women in their enterprises.

There are already 148 enterprises awarded this badge which is to be used for advertising and commercial relations purposes. The badge is also used in the field of public biddings.

The badge is monitored yearly and reassessed every three years. The assessment considers 33 criteria, qualitative and quantitative, concerning:

1.     Equality plan and equality opportunities (consistency; proportionality of the policies, means, goals, terms, etc)

2.     Access to employment and work conditions, such as sex-disaggregated data on staff, positions, wages, measures aimed at work flexibility; private life and professional life balance and promotion of care load redistribution, etc.

3.     All awarded enterprises are integrated in a network of businesses known as Red DIE or DIE Business Network where they all share and exchange information and good practices on gender equality related policies and practices in the workplace; building direct contact among enterprises thanks to seminars and training; work group focused on specific issues such as reconciliation, sexual harassment protocols and subsequent harassment, gender pay gap, etc.

For other available information on good and promising practices refer to: