The collective bargaining role on agile work in Italy

On 7 December 2021, the Italian Government and the social partners (main employers’ associations and main national unions: hereinafter, the “Social Partners”) signed the National Protocol on Agile Working (“smart working”) applicable in the private sector, with the aim to promote the execution of collective bargaining ruling the matter, in line with the guidelines provided by the same protocol and in compliance with the rules already set out by law no. 81/2017 on agile working.

Agile work is a modality to carry out the work activity without a precise working time and working place, where the employee can carry out his/her working activity partly at the company premises and partly (for part of the day, of the week or of the month) outside, ruled by law no. 81/2017 (the  “Law”, available here in Italian).

On 7 December 2021, the Italian Government and the Social Partners signed a National Protocol on Agile Working in the Private Sector (the “Protocol”, available here in Italian), with the aim to promote collective bargaining, also at company level, ruling the matter, in line with the guidelines of the Protocol and with the Law.

The main guidelines set out by the Protocol (some of which were already provided by Law) are the following:

  • employees can be assigned to agile work on voluntary basis only, by signing an individual agreement, which can be for a fixed term or for an indefinite term;

  • Social Partners shall ease the access to agile work to fragile and disabled employees;

  • employees cannot be dismissed or subject to disciplinary proceedings if they refuse to adhere to agile work;

  • both employees and employers have the right to terminate the agile work modality prior to any agreed term, or without notice in case of indefinite term agreement, if a justified reason occurs;

  • the parties can agree that the work activity is carried out in a certain timeframe and - in any case - the employees have the right to disconnect in an agreed timeframe and while on sickness leave, holidays or on paid permits;

  • in principle, no overtime is possible while on agile work;

  • employees can choose the place where to carry out the work activity, provided that it is appropriate under privacy and H&S standpoint; the collective bargaining can indicate specific places where the working performance is not allowed;

  • in principle, working tools (and related costs of maintenance and replacement) are provided by the employer;

  • the employees must cooperate with the employer in order to ensure the respect of the prevention and protection measures aiming to limit the risks related to agile work;

  • agile workers must be granted equal treatment and opportunities, also ensuring gender equity;

  • both employers and employees must grant the fulfilment of any data protection rule; in addition, employees must ensure confidentiality on company’s information handled for professional purposes or present in the company’s systems.

Last 14 December 2021 the Italian Government extended the emergency state related to the Covid-19 pandemic (which was due to expire on 31 December 2021) until 31 March 2022. As a consequence, also the Government recommendation to implement agile work as far as possible during the emergency state without the need of an individual agreement/employees’ consent has been extended until 31 March 2022.



Authored by Vittorio Moresco, Francesca Lauro, Fabrizio Grillo.

Vittorio Moresco
Francesca Lauro
Fabrizio Grillo
Senior Associate
Languages English
Topics Employment
Countries Italy


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