Italy has an extensive social security system covering the vast majority of population. Social insurance provides benefits for unemployment, sickness, maternity, accidents at work and occupational diseases as well as old age, invalidity, pensions and family allowances.
The system is run by a number of state agencies which have been brought together under the umbrella of the National Institute for Social Security. All resident-employees and self-employed workers pay social security contributions. If you are an employee, your employer completes all the necessary formalities for registering with social security.
Employee’s contributions are deducted at source from their gross salary by their employer, who pays around two-thirds of pension contributions. The standard total social security contribution made by employees is around 10 per cent of their gross salary while the employer’s contribution is around 35 per cent of an employee’s salary.
Contribution rates vary according to different industries and for workers, office staff and managers. For managers in industry, an income ceiling applies certain types of social security contributions like disability, old age, pension and survivor’s benefits.
The self-employed must register and make contributions to a separate organization called ‘cassa’ which is a social security fund. Self-employed people who make contributions to ‘cassa’ include architects, accountants, lawyers, engineers, surveyors, medical specialists and other freelance professions, who each have different rates of contributions. In certain circumstances where contributions aren’t made, they’re credited by the state and are known as accredited contributions.
If you have payed regular social security contributions in another EU country for two full years before coming to Italy, then you are entitled to social security cover for a limited period from the date of the last contribution made in your home country. You will also be eligible to be covered by the National Health Service.