Italy

Country Profile



Facts & Figures

In 2019, almost half of all domestic workers are non-EU citizens: 410,184 out of a total of 848,987 (48.3%). The majority of them are women (84%). Non-EU domestic workers are more concentrated in the Northwest, Northeast and the Center of Italy. The region with the highest concentration of non-EU domestic workers is Lombardy (26.0%), followed by Lazio (15.7%), Emilia-Romagna (10.5%), Veneto (7.9%) and Tuscany (7.8%). ¹

In 2011, around 60% of domestic migrant workers in Italy were over 40. Their education level is in generally higher than nationals employed in domestic work. In 2011, for instnace, around 44% of migrant domestic workers hold an upper secondary or university degree.²

The wages of migrant domestic workers varies largely from 1500 Euro per month for a live-in worker who has a residence permit to 450 Euro per month for a live-in worker who has entered the country irregularly.³

Many people migrate because of a lack of work opportunities in their home countries.

Studies show that eldercare assistance is a labor-intensive occuption both in terms of productive and emotional labor. Some workers are on the job 24 hours each day for five or seven days a week. The work depends largely on the health of the patient. This study also give an insight into daily work tasks.

Historically, there has been a shift from a model of family care to the so-called 'migrant-minder' model. Family care represents still the ideal practice in Italy, which is why the management of the care contract is still coordinated by the family (mostly by the wives and daughters). The task of care work is then entrusted mostly to a female immigrant.Often native Italians work in the more professionalized care fields and take on paramedical tasks, whereas the domestic migrant worker performs the larger share of the care work: the task of minding.

Legal Framework

Domestic work was first addressed in a Special Law 339/1958 in the 1950s. With this law, the Italian state started to regulize the domestic and care sector. However, until 1969 a ban existed that prevented that national collective contracts were being signed in this sector (reflecting that domestic work was not considered as 'real' work).

In 1974, the first national collective contract was signed recognizing the right of domestic workers to collective bargaining. Even though this improved the rights of domestic workers gradually in Italy, their work was still not recognized as decent work.10

In 2013, Italy signed, as the first European Union Member State, the ILO Domestic Workers Convention (C189).11

To renew the regulation on domestic work, a new national collective contract was set up in 2020. It established an increment in domestic workers' wages and introduced allowances. It also enlarged the reasons for a worker's paid leave and introduced special training permits. The signatory parties also recognized violence and harassment in the domestic workplace as a human rights violation. However, this renewed contract has not prohibited dismissal during maternity leave and the child's first year of life. Neither has it improved the situations regarding sick leave payment which is up to the employer and only for a maximum of 15 days for those who do a longer service.12

In 2020, a decree was adopted that included measures to regularise undocumented migrants and to give legal residence permit to around 200,000 workers. It seeks to legalise workers that work in domestic work and home care, but also in agriculture, livestock and fisheries. This decree aims to offer protection of individuals, particularly during the Covid-19 health crisis. According to the European Federation of Food, Agriculture, and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT), who also represent domestic workers, this decree and the amnesty for undocumented migrants is a 'major step forward' to 'ensure access to legal employment and public care' for the workers.13 However, the decree is criticised for only being temporal and for not including other sectors of the economy, such as construction.14

RESOURCES

Federazione Italiana Dei Lavoratori del Commecio Turismo Servizi

Associazione Donne Romene in Italia

Christian Association of Italisn Workers - ACLI

Ero Straniero

Confederazione Italiana del Lavoro

SOURCES

  1. Caritas (2020). XXIX Rapporto Immigrazione 2020. https://www.caritas.it/caritasitaliana/allegati/9090/RICM_2020_Finale.pdf
  2. Galloti, M. & Mertens, J. (2011). Promoting integration for migrant domestic workers in Europe: A synthesis of Belgium, France, Italy and Spain. International Migration Papers No. 118. https://ecommons.cornell.edu/bitstream/handle/1813/87675/ILO_Promoting_integration_for_migrant_domestic_workers_in_Europe.pdf?sequence=1
  3. Degiuli, F. (2007). A job with no boundaries: home eldercare work in Italy. European Journal of Women's Studies, 14(3), 193-207. https://doi.org/10.1177/1350506807079010
  4. Bettio, Francesca, Simonazzi, Annamaria & Villa, Paola (2006). Change in care regimes and female migration: the ‘care drain’ in the Mediterranean. Journal of European Social Policy, 16(3), 271-285. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0958928706065598?casa_token=1IH7UbIr0OYAAAAA%3A1rMY1Y3vkrPlsCD_RcttmAEx1q6wGBaH_ad0cEwFi1oGFQTV5McpVUXYJG4T4ij77kEQ_c5AgxjcVPyy&
  5. Degiuli, F. (2007). A job with no boundaries: home eldercare work in Italy. European Journal of Women's Studies, 14(3), 193-207. https://doi.org/10.1177/1350506807079010
  6. Lyon, D. (2006). The Organization of Care Work in Italy: Gender and Migrant Labor in the New Economy. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 13(1). Available at https://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1325&context=ijgls
  7. Bettio, Francesca, Simonazzi, Annamaria & Villa, Paola (2006). Change in care regimes and female migration: the ‘care drain’ in the Mediterranean. Journal of European Social Policy, 16(3), 271-285. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0958928706065598?casa_token=1IH7UbIr0OYAAAAA%3A1rMY1Y3vkrPlsCD_RcttmAEx1q6wGBaH_ad0cEwFi1oGFQTV5McpVUXYJG4T4ij77kEQ_c5AgxjcVPyy&
  8. Lyon, D. (2006). The Organization of Care Work in Italy: Gender and Migrant Labor in the New Economy. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 13(1). Available at https://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1325&context=ijgls
  9. Amorosi, Lucia (2020). Our Work Isn’t Done Yet. What has ILO Convention 189 achieved in Italy ten years after its passage? Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. Available at https://www.rosalux.de/en/news/id/44468/our-work-isnt-done-yet?cHash=fe8d3d6414170f9172b34e22e04c93f5
  10. ibid.
  11. Galloti, M. & Mertens, J. (2011). Promoting integration for migrant domestic workers in Europe: A synthesis of Belgium, France, Italy and Spain. International Migration Papers No. 118. https://ecommons.cornell.edu/bitstream/handle/1813/87675/ILO_Promoting_integration_for_migrant_domestic_workers_in_Europe.pdf?sequence=1
  12. Amorosi, Lucia (2020). Our Work Isn’t Done Yet. What has ILO Convention 189 achieved in Italy ten years after its passage? Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. Available at https://www.rosalux.de/en/news/id/44468/our-work-isnt-done-yet?cHash=fe8d3d6414170f9172b34e22e04c93f5
  13. EFFAT (2020). Italy’s amnesty for undocumented migrants – an important step forward achieved thanks to EFFAT affiliates' tireless fight. Available at https://effat.org/in-the-spotlight/italys-amnesty-for-undocumented-migrants-an-important-step-forward-achieved-thanks-to-effat-affiliates-tireless-fight/
  14. D’Ignoti, S. (2020). Italy’s coronavirus amnesty: Migrant rights or economic self-interest? The New Humanitarian.