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Soglie Dimensionali e Regolazione del Rapporto di Lavoro in Italia


  • Gianni Principe

    (ISAE - Institute for Studies and Economic Analyses)


Among the factors commonly addressed to explain the size structure of Italian firms, peculiarly characterised by a high number of small units, the existence of dimensional thresholds for many aspects of the Italian labour regulation has a key role. The paper overviews all labour rules, fixed by the Italian legislation or by main collective agreements, whose scope of application depends on dimensional thresholds. Items considered include: recruitment and hiring, union rights, individual and collective dismissals, non standard labour contracts, working hours and overtime, health and safety, education. The emerging summary shows a multiplicity of thresholds at different levels, which can vary in accordance to matters, sources of regulation, and sectors. Among these, the 15 employees threshold, although not exactly recognizable in statistical terms because of the variety and mutability of calculation’s criteria, represents an important line of demarcation between those firms where Union Rights are merely protected, and those where the Labour Chart – positively promoting them – is applied. This has relevant consequences for the strength of the juridical defence against unjustified dismissals and the diffusion of collective bargaining at the plant’s level. While the effects of the former from the employer viewpoint are clear, those concerning collective agreements at the plant’s level cannot be evaluated in general terms as negative or positive, as they depend on the balance between costs, made of likely higher than average wage increases, and benefits, due to productivity improvements enhanced by more flexible organisational arrangements.

Suggested Citation

  • Gianni Principe, 2003. "Soglie Dimensionali e Regolazione del Rapporto di Lavoro in Italia," ISAE Working Papers 36, ISTAT - Italian National Institute of Statistics - (Rome, ITALY).
  • Handle: RePEc:isa:wpaper:36

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    Cited by:

    1. Sergio de Nardis & Massimo Mancini & Carmine Pappalardo, 2003. "Regolazione del mercato del lavoro e crescita dimensionale delle imprese: Una verifica sull'effetto soglia dei 15 dipendenti," ISAE Working Papers 38, ISTAT - Italian National Institute of Statistics - (Rome, ITALY).
    2. Schivardi, Fabiano & Torrini, Roberto, 2008. "Identifying the effects of firing restrictions through size-contingent differences in regulation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 482-511, June.
    3. Roberto Basile & Sergio De Nardis, 2004. "Non linearità e dinamica della dimensione d'impresa in Italia," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 423-454.

    More about this item


    Firm Size; Employment; Labour Relations; Labour Regulations;

    JEL classification:

    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions


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