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Italy: Influential collective bargaining agreement finally renewed

Total Rewards|Health and Benefits|Retirement

By Andrea Scaffidi and Beatrice Elena Stroppa | March 23, 2021

Under Italy’s renewed collective bargaining agreement for metal workers, employers must reclassify employees and budget for salary and other benefit increases.

Employer Action Code: Act

After almost a year and a half of negotiations, the National Collective Bargaining Agreement (NCBA) for the metalworkers’ industry (CCNL Metalmeccanici), covering over 1.5 million employees, has been renewed up to June 30, 2024. The agreement, often seen as a trendsetter for other sectors, includes some significant changes in benefits, employee classifications, compensation structures, and employment terms and conditions.

Key details

Changes — effective as of June 1, 2021, unless otherwise noted — include:

  • Pensions: For employees under the age of 35 who enroll in the industry-wide defined contribution fund (Fondo Cometa), the mandatory employer contribution will be equal to 2.2% of the minimum wage under the NCBA (up from 2.0%), effective June 1, 2022. Fondo Cometa is the largest Italian fund, with over 400,000 members and total assets of 11 billion euros.
  • Health care: Supplementary health care coverage from the industry-wide medical fund (Mètasalute) will also be accessible to retiring and already retired employees, if they have contributed to the fund for at least two years in a row while active employees. The cost of the plan will be fully borne by the employee. The contribution, payment method and benefit provisions will be determined by Mètasalute at a later stage.
  • Flexible benefits: The agreement confirms the mandatory annual employer contribution of €200 until June 30, 2024, to each employee’s flexible benefits budget, which employees can use for tax-favored purchase of services such as gym memberships, to reimburse employee medical or education expenses incurred on behalf of employees or their family members, or other goods and services as provided by law.
  • New employee classification system: Employees will be classified according to nine levels in total, based on four categories of roles (D-operational; C-technical; B-specialist/managerial; A-change/innovation management) and some subdivisions within role categories. The current classification system has 10 levels in total, and the two lowest (levels one and two) will together make up the lowest level (D1) in the new system.
  • Salary increases: Minimum salary increases have been defined for each of the new classes of employees as of June 1, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Over the four-year period, the total minimum salary increase, depending on employee class, will be between €90 and €147, with the increase in each year of the contract ranging from €22 to €36, depending on employee class.
  • Training and development: The agreement maintains the subjective right of all employees (permanent and fixed-term employees with a contract of at least nine months) to at least 24 hours of training over a three-year period. The main training areas are soft skills, digital skills, foreign languages, technical and management skills.

Employer implications

Employers in the metal industry will have to reclassify their employees in accordance with the new categories defined in the NCBA and will have to budget for the increased contribution to the Fondo Cometa for new hires under the age of 35.

The NCBA is often seen as a trendsetter, so employers in other industries are advised to assess to what extent their current policies conform to the provisions of the NCBA for the metal industry and closely monitor the collective bargaining developments in their own industry.


Andrea Scaffidi

Beatrice Elena Stroppa

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