Ordinary Benefit – To qualify for ordinary benefit ( indennità ordinaria), you must have worked for at least a year and contributed for at least the previous two years. Benefit is available for a maximum of 180 days (six months) and is paid from the eighth day after termination of work, provided that an application is made within the first seven days. However, applications can be made up to 90 days after ceasing work. Benefit is calculated at 30 per cent of your average earnings during the previous three months.
Reduced Benefit – If you’ve worked for at least 78 days in the previous year (including public holidays) but less than a year in total, or have made two years’ voluntary contributions, you qualify for reduced benefit ( indennità ridotta). Benefit is calculated at 30 per cent of your average net earnings during the previous three months, but the entire amount received, which is paid as a lump sum, cannot exceed €932.82.
Special Allowance – A special allowance ( trattamento speciale) is awarded to employees who have been made redundant in the agriculture and construction industries, and is currently a maximum of around €20 per day. Contributions paid in other EU member states are taken into account when making an application for benefit.
An application for unemployment benefit must be made at your local INPS office or the employment office ( Ufficio di Collocamento) with your notice of dismissal and a certificate of family status ( certificato di stato di famiglia). You’re issued with an unemployment registration card ( attestato di iscrizione).
If you’re unemployed in another EU country, you retain the right to your unemployment benefit (under certain conditions) for up to three months while looking for work in Italy. The country paying your employment benefit issues you with form E303, which you must take to an INPS office in Italy. If you return home before the end of the three months, you continue to receive your unemployment benefit in your home country. The self-employed and those who have never worked in Italy or resign from their job don’t qualify for unemployment benefit.
In addition to unemployment benefits, Italy has a state fund for employees in industry whose companies put them on temporary redundancy through no fault of their own (e.g. market crisis, natural disaster, etc.), called Cassa Integrazione Guadagni (CIG), which is designed to ‘integrate’ employees’ earnings until work is resumed. There are two types of CIG:
Ordinary CIG comprises 80 per cent of your salary for hours not worked, e.g. if an employer agrees to provide five hours’ work in a 35-hour week, 80 per cent of the salary for the remaining 30 hours is remunerated. This cannot exceed a monthly maximum, which in 2002 was €776.12 per month, or €932.82 per month if monthly income exceeded €1,679.07.
Extraordinary CIG, which is designed to cover special situations, e.g. when a production line is being reorganised or converted and work must temporarily cease, lasts for 36 months in cases of reorganisation or conversion and 12 months in cases of company crisis. Benefit is the same as for ordinary CIG above.
In both cases, if the market hasn’t changed, companies aren’t obliged to take back employees, so CIG often becomes the start of unemployment benefit.
This article is an extract from Living and Working in Italy from Survival Books.