Work from home in Italy (for foreign company)

Due to the many technical possibilities and with a view to a better work life balance, working from home is becoming more and more attractive for companies and their employees. In fact, due to social distancing and the new provisions to cope with the Covid-19 emergency in 2020/2021, working from home has become the focus of companies. In particular, working from home refers to a work model that allows the employee to perform all or part of his work from home or from places other than the office. In this case, the employee continues to have an employment relationship and is therefore also insured.

For companies without a secondary office in Italy, working from home is often a valuable and cost-effective alternative to renting office spaces, provided that the company is registered as an employer in Italy. For further details please refer to our website at https://www.graber-partner.com/en/international-companies/employees-employers-in-italy.html.

According to the provisions in force in Italy, a written agreement/supplementary employment agreement shall be concluded for remote work. In general, the work equipment and working materials (e.g. computer, printer, mobile phone, stationery, payment of rent or heating costs) are provided by the employer, unless otherwise agreed,

Rules and special regulations of remote work in Italy
Regardless of whether the employee works in the company premises or at home, the same rules apply. Hence, fixed working hours (with guaranteed availability of the employee) will be established and the applicable safety regulations must be complied with. Moreover, a trusting relationship between the employer and the employee is obviously advantageous, as it is impossible or difficult to control the actual working time of the employee.

However, this phenomenon may be handled by entering into specific wage agreements (fixed rate overtime payment). Moreover, collaborative software with features such as monitoring working time, access control, defining working time per task etc. may help to better coordinate remote work and strengthen the trusting relationship between the employer and the employee. A particular aspect of remote work is the liability of the Italian Workers' Compensation Authority (INAIL). Indeed, it is often not possible to determine whether or not an accident at work occurred. If, for example, an employee working at the office were to trip and injure on this way to the bathroom, this event would be considered as an accident at work. However, in the case of a remote worker, it would not.

Special aspects to consider for companies without secondary office in Italy: In any case, working from home per se does not constitute a permanent establishment in Italy. However, before registering the employee in Italy it is necessary to verify the work to be carried out and the tasks to be performed. Under certain conditions, such an employment relationship may create a permanent establishment, e.g. in the case of sales force. For further details please refer to our website at https://www.graber-partner.com/en/international-companies/incorporation-secondary-office-in-italy.html. For all details concerning the registration of employees in Italy, please refer to https://www.graber-partner.com/en/international-companies/employees-employers-in-italy.html. For further information on posting/secondment to Italy please visit https://www.graber-partner.com/en/international-companies/posting-secondment-of-employees-to-italy.html.

Smart working is a working model aiming at greater flexibility, increased work autonomy and better work life balance. In effect, it is a specific way of executing the employment relationship that, thanks to an agreement between the parties, is provided for in certain work phases or for the purpose of achieving certain business goals.

Unlike remote working, no prescribed working hours apply and no fixed place of work is established. However, smart workers may be supervised/controlled by the employer, if this is provided for in the agreement. However, a trustful relationship with the employee is a useful prerequisite.
 Moreover, the salary remains unchanged. In any case, only the payment of meal vouchers may be suspended during smart working.

For smart working it is necessary to:
- enter into a specific agreement
- file the mandatory e-communication to the Italian Ministry of Labour.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, for various reasons it was necessary for employees to work not at their usual office, but from home. Among the main reasons were:


  • the government's provision according to which employers should allow remote work where possible
  • the prohibition of employees to leave home because of quarantine
  • the need for parents to stay at home for home-schooling

For the sake of simplicity and in order not to create other working models, the Italian government provided for "smart working" (see above), simplifying the relevant regulations and communications during the emergency. Hence, it was not necessary to enter into a supplementary agreement and it was possible to submit the e-communication to the Italian Ministry of Labour in a simplified and abbreviated form.

All employee who, due to their type of work, were not able to work from home (e.g. hairdressers, dentists etc.), could apply for extraordinary parental leave at the Italian Institute of Social Insurance (INPS). During this time, they were exempted from work, but continued to receive 50 % of their salary.

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