JobTalk Italy

EU citizens: what are your Italian rights?

EU citizens: what are your Italian rights?
EU citizens have the same working rights as Italians. Photo: Rosie Scammell/The Local
As a member of the EU, Italy’s doors are open to job-seeking Europeans. The Local spoke to Jonathan Todd from the European Commission to find out exactly what this means for EU citizens.

Italy’s bureaucracy is infamous internationally, but the lucky half a billion Europeans need not worry about tackling the visa system.

“EU citizens who are employed in another EU country are entitled to live there without a visa or work permit,” Todd, spokesman for the Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, tells The Local.

This will ease a European’s way into the workplace in Italy, no doubt. But what rights do EU citizens have compared to Italians once in the job?

They are entirely equal, Todd says.

Europeans “must be treated in exactly the same way as colleagues who are nationals of that country regarding working conditions,” he says.

This means the same amount of holiday allowance and sick leave, for example.

While medical care abroad is usually costly, Europeans have the same access to health care as Italians. While the level of service may vary between regions and cities, the Italian National Health Service was set up in the 1970s and provides universal access to healthcare.

EU laws also have other benefits for those working in Italy, as Todd says EU citizens have the same rights to maternity and paternity leave as Italians.

The tax system is – notoriously – more complicated.

This is because there is no EU-wide law to determine how Europeans should be taxed on their income when working in other member states.

But in general, Europeans working in Italy will be taxed in Italy.

EU citizens should make sure they’re not being taxed twice on their income – in Italy and in their home country. Thankfully, Italy has agreements with a number of countries to help people avoid double taxation.

If a European works within the Italian system, Todd says they will also pay into the broader tax system such as pensions.

“In principle, an EU citizen working in Italy will pay the same social insurance contributions as Italian workers,” he says.

Although Italy is suffering from a high level of unemployment, Europeans determined to live la dolce vita have every right to work and live in Italy. Benvenuto!

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