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Social Security

This page is dedicated to the principles, services and benefits regarding the Italian social security system and the main information you may need to know. For additional information is also provided on totalization (portability) of contributions at an international level.

social security guide

The Italian Social Security system provides a wide range of benefits delivered by different institutions

  • INPS - Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale (the National Social Security Institute) operates an ordinary fund for employed workers and a special fund (the so called “gestione separata”) for “parasubordinate” workers, self-employed workers and holders of a fellowship. This is often the case for mobile researchers spending a period in Italy. For more information:
  •  INAIL - Istituto nazionale per l’assicurazione contro gli infortuni sul lavoro (Italian Workers' Compensation Authority) deals with accidents at work and occupational illnesses. For more information:
  • Various institutes deal with various categories of self-employed workers (such as the INARCASSA for engineers and architects, the ENPAB for biologists, the ENPAM for medical doctors, etc.). For a complete list of State welfare and social security organisations in Italy click here.


Registration and contributions to the Italian Social security system are mandatory (contribuzione obbligatoria). Registration is made by the employer (only self-employed workers need to register personally). Contributions are calculated on the basis of the salary received, according to contribution rates fixed by law. Moreover, the worker can contribute with an additional voluntary amount (contribuzione volontaria) in order to increase his/her pension benefits.
Please note that contributions are recognised also during certain periods of absence from work (e.g. while receiving unemployment benefits or during compulsory maternity leave).
In general, employment contracts (fixed term or permanent) contribute to the ordinary INPS fund while “Parasubordinate” contracts, often used for holders of a PhD fellowship or a fellowship within EU mobility programmes, and grants for research training (i.e. Assegno di ricerca research grant), are generally registered with the so-called Gestione separata of INPS. It foresees that two-thirds of these contributions are paid by the employer and one third by the worker. The employer is obliged to transfer the entire amount (including that paid by the worker) directly to INPS.
Please note that international fellowships and grants are generally “gross amounts”, i.e. they include contributions, etc. therefore the net amounts received by researchers may be different from the total amount of the fellowship.
 In case of international organisations, the contribution terms can be different from the national system in force in Italy.


  • Maternity and parental benefits. Specific information on maternity leave can be found in the Family Support section and INPS webpage. (available only in Italian) For general information visit the European Commission webpage.
  • Family benefits. Specific information on family benefits can be found in the Family Support section. General information is also available on the European Commission webpage.
  • Sickness benefits. In case of illness, workers (with employment contract and “parasubordinate”) are entitled to receive a sickness benefit (indennità di malattia). A General practitioner must issue two certificates for sick leave based on an evaluation of the patient: one is the certificato di diagnosi to be sent to INPS’s local office within 48 hours, while the certificate attestato di malattia must be sent to the employer, in order to notify him the number of days off work prescribed by the doctor. In addition to these documents, the “parasubordinate” workers must apply for a specific form to request the payment of the sickness benefits. For all workers, in case of hospitalization, terms and documents required are different. Please note that during sick leave, the worker must be available at home for check visits (visita fiscale) of his/her status. The amount of sickness benefits depends on the work contract. For general information, visit the INPS webpage (available only in Italian) and the European Commission webpage.
  • Pensions. Foreign workers who have worked in Italy and contributed to INPS or INPDAP pension schemes can benefit from the same pension as Italian workers. There are two types of pension: state pensions and seniority or length-of-service pensions. Additionally, some workers may be entitled to ordinary or invalidity pensions. For further information visit the INPS webpage (available only in Italian) and the European Commission webpage.

 For other benefits provided by the Italian Social Security System (such as accidents at work and occupational diseases, death grants, invalidity etc ) you can visit the relevant webpages for “Italy” of the European Commission "Employment and Social Affairs"



Foreign citizens who have contributed to the payment of Italian social security, belonging to EU/EEA Member States, Switzerland or to countries which have signed a Bilateral agreement with Italy (available only in Italian), can apply for the “totalization” (totalizzazione) of their contributions. As regards pensions, “totalization” is allowed only when the worker has collected, in the country granting the pension, a minimum period of pension contributions.
For more information visit INPS webpage (available only in Italian).

Professional and qualified assistance for family reunion applications, household income (ISEE), family benefits, taxation and tax returns, etc. is provided by authorised offices called CAF (Centro Assistenza Fiscale - Centre for Fiscal Assistance) and PATRONATI which can give you professional support. Ask your host organisation about CAF and PATRONATI with multilingual staff that may be available in the city you live in.
For more information: INPS website (available only in Italian)

Brochure “Your social security rights in Italy”, Guide 2013

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Last update : 2 Feb 2015 - 13:09