Fixed-term employment contracts: max. duration and limits of use by collective bargaining agreements




The change introduced by Article 41 bis of the Legislative Decree 73/2021 (the so-called Sostegni - bis decree), as converted by law 106/2021, has further relaunched the role of collective bargaining agreements in drawing up the rules for employment (and work supply) contracts of a limited duration. This is in particular after the authoritative interpretative endorsement of the National Labor Inspectorate with note No. 1363 dated 14 September 2021.


Given that the 12-month term contracts do not require specific reasons, collective bargaining agreements - at any grade, i.e., national, local and shop level – can now provide for other reasons in addition to those set forth by the law (i.e., temporary and objective reasons, unrelated to ordinary activities; reasons consisting of replacement of other employees; reasons related to temporary increases, significant and not programmable, of ordinary activities). In other words, collective bargaining agreements are now allowed to identify further reasons in the presence of which it will be possible to enter into a fixed term contract of a duration higher than 12 months. Employers and unions, within the context of any collective bargaining agreements, will therefore identify the hypotheses for which it will be possible to enter into fixed-term contracts, but strictly by 30 September 2022.

In any case, the additional reasons provided for in the collective bargaining agreements must be concrete so that it is not possible use a generic wording (such as, by way of example, technical, productive, organizational reasons) that require further clarification within the collective bargaining agreement itself.

Currently, under the law, the aggregate duration of fixed term contracts cannot exceed 24 months. However, due to the entering into force of the Sostegni - bis decree collective bargaining agreements, at each level, may establish a different, even higher, maximum duration limit.

National, local and shop level collective bargaining agreements can also:

  • provide for cases of exemption from the obligation to comply with the 10 or 20 day-break between one contract and another (stop & go);

  • increase the maximum percentage of fixed-term contracts beyond the current threshold of 20%;

  • increase the duration of the work performance (beyond 6 months) necessary to accrue the right of precedence in permanent with regard to permanent hirings, i.e., not having a fixed term duration.


Avv. Guido Brocchieri


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