Operating a Business

flag Italy Italy: Operating a Business

In this page: Legal Forms of Companies | The Active Population in Figures | Working Conditions | The Cost of Labour | Management of Human Resources


Legal Forms of Companies

Società a responsabilita limitata (SRL): Limited Liability Company
Number of partners: Minimum 1 shareholder.
Capital (max/min): No minimum but some constraints if the capital is less than EUR 10,000.
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the amount of capital contributed.
Società per azioni (SpA): Public Limited Company
Number of partners: There are no limitations on the number of partners.
Capital (max/min): Minimum of EUR 50,000, of which 25% has to be paid-up.
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the amount of capital contributed.
Società in nome Collettivo (SNC): General Partnership
Number of partners: Minimum 2 partners, no maximum.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital requirement.
Shareholders and liability: Liability is joint and indefinite.
Società in Accomandita Semplice (SAS): Limited Joint-Stock Partnership
Number of partners: Minimum 2 partners, no maximum.

There are two types of partners, the active partners and the silent partners.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital requirement.
Shareholders and liability: Liability of the active partners is unlimited.

Società Cooperativa (SC): Cooperative Society
Number of partners: Minimum 3 partners, no maximum.
9 partners if one of them is a legal entity.
Capital (max/min): Minimum EUR 25 per partner
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited or unlimited according to the Articles of Association.

Business Setup Procedures

Setting Up a Company Italy OECD
Procedures (number) 7.00 5.21
Time (days) 11.00 9.47

Source: The World Bank - Doing Business, Latest data available.

The Competent Organisation
Administrative procedures must be analyzed by a legal affairs office of the Ministry of Justice.

The activity of the company is subject to abilitazioni (certificate of professional aptitude), to autorizzazioni o licenze (licenses) and to the denuncia di inizio attività (declaration of beginning of activity).

For Further Information
Consult Doing Business Website, to know about procedures to start a Business in Italy

Financial Information Directories

Dun & Bradstreet - Worldwide directory with financial information on businesses

Registro Imprese - Companies search engine


Recovery Procedures

It depends on the type of company.
The Tribunal appoints a single judge for the bankrupt company, whereas more may be appointed for the creditors. The assets of the bankrupt company must be distinct according to the share of each of the members. After five years, the bankrupt company may be re-formed.
For further information, click here.

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The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 26,032,16925,787,15825,080,671

Source: International Labour Organization - ILOSTAT, Latest data available.

Total activity rate 65.49%65.71%65.82%
Men activity rate 75.07%75.23%75.14%
Women activity rate 55.97%56.23%56.53%

Source: International Labour Organization - ILOSTAT, Latest data available.

For Further Statistics
Ministry of Labour
For Further Information About the Labour Market
National Agency for Investment Development

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Working Conditions

Opening Hours
  • Legal Weekly Duration
40 hours
  • Maximum Duration
10 hours a day and 52 hours a week.
  • Night Hours
From 10 pm to 5 am.
Working Rest Day
One or two days a week.
Paid Annual Vacation
The minimum is one week a year; but it depends on the type of contract and responsibilities.
Retirement Age
65, with a minimum of 25 years' contribution
Child Labour and Minimum Age For Employment
Informal Labour Market
Undeclared work is increasing. In 2007, a rise of 44% was registered from 2006's figures. The unofficial economy in Italy represents 14 million EUR and about 2,951 irregular workers.

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The Cost of Labour


Minimum Wage
There is not a statutory minimum wage. Yet most Italian workers (nearly 80%) are actually covered by a minimum wage agreement, established through sectoral collective bargaining.
Average Wage
Average annual wage: USD 37,769 (source: OECD, 2020 - latest available data).

Social Security Costs

The Areas Covered
Old age, disability and survivors, sickness and maternity, work injury for qualifying professions, unemployment and family benefits.
Contributions Paid By the Employer: Generally speaking, contributions are subject to variations depending on the professional branch, the risks, the number of employees and their professional qualifications. Employer’s charge is around 30%. Around 33% of the total rate is paid into the National Pension Fund, and the remainder is paid to the unemployment, sickness, maternity, social mobility and other funds (PwC).
Contributions Paid By the Employee: Employees’s charge is around 10% and destinated for disability, old age and surviving spouses. Self-employed individuals are taxed at 25.98%. Additional voluntary and variable contributions are also allowed (PwC).
Competent Organization
Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale (INPS) - Italian National Social Security Institute

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Management of Human Resources



Method of Recruitment
More and more, recruitment is being carried out via the Internet. If their CV is selected, candidates are invited for interviews with the management of the company concerned.
Recruitment Agencies
There are public or private recruitment agencies. Recruitment can be carried out via their services or directly by the company concerned.
Recruitment Websites
Lavoro e Carriere

The Contract

Type of Contract
Labour contracts are governed by legal provisions and, to a lesser extent, by collective agreements. Conditions of hiring and dismissal are quite strict.

There are open-ended contracts, fixed term contracts or contracts for specific tasks/occasional services.

Breach of Contracts

  • Retirement
It may be agreed and voluntary. You have to give at least one month's notice.
  • Dismissals
There are no restrictions, except in the case of a pregnant woman or illness.
Labour Laws
Doing Business: Italy, to obtain a summary of labour regulations that apply to local entreprises

Social Partners

Employer Associations
CONFINDUSTRIA - General Confederation of Italian Industries
CONFAPI - Italian Confederation of SMEs
Unionisation Rate
Between 70 and 79%
Labour Unions
Unione Italiana del Lavoro (UIL)
Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL)
Confederazione Italiana Sindacati dei Lavoratori (CISL)

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Latest Update: July 2024