In general, under Italian law, there are no mandatory formal requirements when the parties intend to enter into an employment relationship.

In fact, employment contracts can be concluded orally or in writing, but the written form being highly advisable if an employment contract was entered into orally, the employer has the burden of proof of all agreed upon terms and conditions.

Conversely, if the parties entered into a written contract, the employee must prove that its actual terms and conditions do not conform to/differ from those specified in the written employment agreement.

In any case, written form is expressly required by law.

For example:

  • for the validity of certain contractual schemes or covenants (e.g., fixed-term employment contracts with a duration of more than 12 days, non-compete agreements, probationary period clauses, agreements with temporary workers);
  • in case of specific employment contracts (e.g., on-call contracts).

Even if the employment contract is concluded orally, the employer must still provide the employee with:

– a signed notice stating that the employment has been recorded in its required books; and

– within 30 days of the commencement of employment, a document setting forth the principal terms and conditions of the employment relationship, including:

  • the names and addresses of the parties (employer and employee);
  • the place of employment;
  • the date of commencement;
  • the length of the contract (i.e., whether fixed-term or indefinite);
  • the probationary period, if any;
  • the classification assigned to the employee (including his/her level and position);
  • a brief description of his/her duties; and (if applicable)
  • the national collective bargaining agreement.

If no national collective bargaining agreement applies, or if the parties agree to deviate from its provisions, this document must also include the employee’s salary, annual leave entitlement, and working hours, as well as the notice of termination due from each party.

In addition, where there is no reference to the provisions of an applicable collective bargaining agreement, the employer must provide the employee with the following information in writing:

  • the duration of any probation period;
  • the remuneration for the role;
  • the number of vacation days;
  • the employee’s working hours; and
  • the notice period in the event of termination.

The employer must also provide the following information in writing to the competent employment centre:

  • the recruitment notice;
  • the content of the employment contract; and
  • other information concerning the employment relationship.