Quadro & Dirigente

Employees in Italy are classified in to 4 different groups:

  • Executives (“Dirigente”);
  • Middle managers (“Quadro”);
  • White collar employees (“Impiegati”);
  • Blue collar employees (“Operai”)


What are these classifications, what do they mean and what you should be aware of when employing each of the types?

The most common groups are Dirigente and Quadro and they will be discussed in this article. 

Status Meanings

Quadro means manager, and these employees are usually subject to Dirigente level employees. It is a status which was ruled by article 2095 of the Italian civil code. Examples for Quadro positions are: Junior managers, Account managers, supervisors.

Dirigente means high level executive (though sometimes employees are classified as Dirigente regardless of their job role) and are considered as “top level” employees, usually subject to CEO’s. It is not a status which was ruled by law, but it was defined by national collective labor agreements and case law. Examples for Dirigente positions are directors, area managers, attorneys, head of branch/department.

The difference between the two is the level of autonomy each has: while Quadro employees cannot dismiss or hire employees, they carry out tasks that make an important contribution to the growth and success of their company. Dirigente has more power when giving instructions and directions to employees. Dirigente is defined as the alter ego of the employer, i.e. the individuals who receive from the employer only very general instructions and have very wide autonomy in making all the decisions on behalf of the employer itself. In this connection, Dirigente have been considered a special category of employees whose “subordination” to the employer is less strict in comparison with the one of other employees. This role is characterized by a high level of independence and discretion in decision-making and by the absence of a real and strict hierarchical subordination to somebody else within the company. The Dirigente is granted wide decision-making power in order to influence the management and running of the entire company or a branch of it.

Work Conditions

The minimum salary of Dirigente employees is of course higher than Quadro, and they are entitled to supplementary pension and insurance funds provided by the applicable NCBA. The probation period for both is 6 months. Dirigente and Quadro are not protected by the usual provisions on dismissals, rest days or maximum working hours. They can be dismissed and can be hired for a specified period (fixed-term or temporary employment) without any restrictions. On the other hand, they enjoy much more favorable treatment than other categories as regards salaries and fringe benefits, terms and conditions of employment and social security. Dirigente have different protections and national collective bargaining agreements.

Dirigente do not get paid for overtime as it is expected from them to work as much as required by their position and are entitled for a holiday equal to 30 working days. Quadro are not entitled to overtime but they are entitled to higher rates for overtime performed on holidays and overnight and 26 working days as holiday.

Termination & Notice

Different rules apply for Dirigente in case of dismissal (less restrictive rules for dismissal and different protection in case of unlawful dismissal compared to other employees).

Dismissals must be notified in writing in both cases. Notice periods are depended on seniority and are longer for Dirigente, also when it comes to resignations. The notice period, in any case, begins from the 1st day or 16th day of the relevant month.

The Italian Law provides two different kinds of dismissal in the case of open-ended contract: with a just cause (art. 2119 civil code) or with notice period (art. 2118 civil code). The contract terminates immediately in case of just cause, or at the end of the notice period. In lack of notice, the withdrawing party is required to pay the other party an indemnity equivalent to the amount of remuneration to which it would have been entitled during the notice period. An agreement between employer and employee is necessary to convert the notice period from time into indemnity.

 It may be confusing to distinguish and determine the classification of the employees. It is important to use the experience of local experts in order to make the right decisions.  


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