The new casual work: what, who and how much?

07 Jul 2017

Stefano de Luca Tamajo


Casual work, Italian employment law

Let’s clarify the new regulations on casual work, one of the latest instances of government intervention in employment law, published by the official Gazzette on 23rd June 2017, a few months after the abolition of contingent work.  

Even if the regulations on casual work follow in the footsteps of those previously in force for contingent work, the legislature has limited the scope of application significantly with regard to:

- limits as to pay;

- restrictions on the categories of users that can make use of it.

Definition: casual work is work that, during any given year, does not exceed any pay limits set by the legislature. As was the case for contingent work, the limit on annual pay serves as a criterion for identifying the type of work being performed, as well as for setting limits relating to usage.  

The biggest difference relates to the identification of potential users for such services.

A necessary piece of legislation for companies and employees

The reintroduction of a regulation on casual work, even with all the new limitations, is a useful and commendable regulatory intervention because it fills the legislative void left by the hasty repeal of the law on contingent work. In fact, work provided on an irregular basis and limited in terms of quantity - which by its very nature cannot be assigned to regular employment or to coordinated and continuous collaboration work - was left completely uncovered, and, therefore, in absence of a specific regulation, would have certainly finished as cash-in-hand work. 

Who can make use of casual work?

While anyone could make use of casual work under the previous regime, the current regulation limits it to just two categories of users:

-    individuals, for carrying out services that are not attributable to the performance of professional or business activities;

-    other users that do not have more than 5 employees under their employ.

In order to be able to benefit from services provided by way of casual work, the users and those providing the labour are obligated to register themselves on a special online platform set up by the Italian National Social Security Body (INPS), which serves as a support for the payment of fees and for giving value to the tax-payer position of those providing the labour. 

Quantitative limit

The new legislation, contrary to the past, also sets an overall maximum quantitative limit on the use of casual work for each user (with reference to the overall amount of individuals providing labour). The user cannot pay fees exceeding the overall sum of € 5,000.00 in a year, taking into account the remuneration paid to all the individuals used who provided labour by means of casual work. There are also maximum pay limits that each individual providing labour can receive from all users (€5,000.00) and from each individual user (€ 2,500.00). Should this latter limit be exceeded, the work relationship will be converted into a full-time open-ended employment relationship. 

As was the case for contingent work, the sums received from the performance of casual work are exempted from taxation and do not affect unemployment status.