Social Security of Researchers in Italy

 
Social Security of
Researchers in Italy
Acknowledgements:

This Guide has been prepared by Valentina Mayer and produced within the project EURAXESS T.O.P. II –
Network Call, managed by CRUI Foundation.

This Guide is purely for information purposes and provides information on practical and administrative
procedures in Italy. The information and indications that it contains do not replace official sources of
information and provide no bases for claims or legitimate expectations of any kind. The contents of this
Guide were last updated in September 2014.

Information in this Guide should be always double-checked with host institutions or relevant official
sources of information.

© 2014 Fondazione CRUI
Piazza Rondanini, 48, 00186 Roma
Info: segreteria@fondazionecrui.it

The book is published under Creative Commons - Attribution
Non commercial - No Derivative Works 3.0

Information about http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/
Content

Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1

1. The Italian Social Security System …………………………..…........................................................ 1

1.1 Compulsory contributions ……......................................................................................................................................... 2

1.2 Voluntary contributions ……………………………………................................................................................................. 3

2. Social Security of Researchers ..................................................................................................... 5

2.1 Researchers from EU/EEA Member States .............................................................................................................. 5

2.2 Researchers from extra EU/EEA with a bilateral agreement with Italy …................................................... 4

2.3 Researchers from extra EU/EEA without a bilateral agreement with Italy .............................................. 7

3. Health Care ......................................................................................................................................... 7

3.1 Benefits provided by the National Health Service ................................................................................................... 8

3.2 EU Researchers ...................................................................................................................................................................... 8

3.2 Non-EU Researchers …………………………………...………………………………………………………………….….…. . 11

4. Useful links ........................................................................................................................................15
Introduction

The purpose of this guide is to provide an overview of the Italian Social Security
System, including Healthcare, with specific reference to mobile researchers in Italy.
Please note that the information provided cannot substitute individual counselling
on specific situations and therefore we suggest to consult always the hosting
institution for that purpose.

An online version of this Guide will be available also on the website www.euraxess.it

   1. The Italian Social Security System

Italian law provides for a comprehensive system of social insurance covering the
following:
   •   Invalidity, old age/retirement and survivor’s pensions
   •   Sickness and maternity
   •   Unemployment and “mobility”
   •   Family allowances
   •   Health care
   •   Work injuries
   •   Professional diseases

The system is controlled by the government, with various sections administered by
separate public institutions, most notably, the National Institute for Social Security
(Istituto Nazionale Previdenza Sociale, or INPS).

INPS is the largest social security and welfare institute in Italy and one of the most
important on a European level. Both private sector employees and self-employed
workers are insured at INPS. All companies operating in Italy are registered with INPS.
Since 2012 two other Social Security institutions, Inpdap and Enpals, that insure civil

                                                                                        1
servant and workers in the field of entertainment and sport respectively, have been
included in INPS. INPS provides a large and articulated range of services, which
include services of a social security and welfare character. The former services are
determined on the basis of insurance relationships and are financed by contributions
of workers and businesses (the old-age pension, the retirement pension, survivor's
pension, the invalidity benefit, the inability pension and the pension in terms of
international conventions for work performed abroad).

The latter are services of the social state, which have been assigned to INPS (minimum
pension, social allowance, social increases, civil disabilities). The Institute also
manages all those non-pension related services aimed at protecting workers who find
themselves in special situations at particular times in their working lives
(unemployment benefits, the redundancy fund, sickness benefits, maternity benefits
and severance pay). In addition to the above, INPS provides to the payment of funds
set aside for persons who have low incomes and large families (family allowances,
maternity benefits and municipal allowances for the family).

   1.1 Compulsory contributions

For researchers employed in Italy, registration and contributions to the Italian Social
security system are mandatory (contribuzione obbligatoria). Employees’ contributions
are calculated as a percentage of pay. The schedule of rates is fixed by legislative
provision. The rate applicable in each case depends on the sector (industry, commerce,
craft industry, credit, insurance, etc.), the worker’s professional qualification, the
number of employees, the location of the business, etc.

For the purpose of determining the contribution base, “pay” is considered to cover
everything the worker receives from his or her employer, in cash or in kind, as a result
of their employment relationship, before deductions, with the exception of only those
items that are exempted by virtue of the applicable legislation. The unit pay (hourly,
daily, monthly, depending on the type of work) cannot be less than the threshold set
for the category the worker belongs to.

                                                                                       2
The employer is responsible for paying both his own and the employee’s contributions
to the competent social security institution. Contributions are generally paid on a
monthly basis.

Self-employed workers’ contributions are calculated on the total earned income
declared on the income tax return for the relevant year. Special provisions apply to
certain categories of self-employed workers. Self-employed workers need to register
personally.The so-called “parasubordinati” contracts are often used for holders of a
PhD fellowship or a fellowship within EU mobility programmes and grants for
research training. Researchers with a fellowship and/or an “assegno di ricerca”, as well
as parasubordinate workers, are generally registered by their employers with the so-
called “Gestione separate” of INPS, a fund managed separately from the funds of
subordinated workers. Holders of a fellowship of the Italian government are
registered with the INA (National Insurance Agency) for insurance against sickness
and work accidents but do not contribute to the other kinds of insurance. For other
fellowship types, the registration is done on a case-by-case basis. In general,
employees’ social security contributions range from approximately 9% to 10% of their
gross remuneration. Employers’ contributions may range from 30% to 35%.

   1.2 Voluntary contributions

Social security contributions can also be paid on a voluntary basis. The insured
persons who interrupt or cease their employment or self-employment can continue
paying contributions voluntarily in order to preserve or improve their pension rights;
these payments are treated as compulsory contributions. To qualify for this right the
person must have paid work contributions for at least five years over his or her
working life or three years out of the five preceding his or her application for the
voluntary or optional continued insurance. For certain categories of workers
(seasonal, part-time, “parasubordinati”), the payment of contributions for at least one
year in the five preceding the application is required.

                                                                                      3
The necessary contributions can be paid either as an employed or a self-employed
person or as a combination of the two. “Parasubordinati” may be allowed to continue
paying contributions voluntarily into their specific pension fund (“gestione separata”)
during periods when they are not performing any gainful activity.

Voluntary contributions to mature the insurance qualifying conditions can also be paid
in case of:

- Parental leave (parents who have stopped working to devote to raising their three to
eight year-old child);

- Periods of leave for parents needing to nurse a sick infant or child.

The amount of the contributions is based on the previous year’s average earnings prior
to authorisation; a minimum amount is set, which corresponds to 40% of the basic
pension as adjusted by law on 1st January, each year. Payments made for a lower class
than the beneficiary belongs to, entail a proportional reduction in the number of
weekly contributions that are actually matured. Contributions are paid quarterly.

                                                                                     4
2. Social Security of Researchers

    2.1 Researchers from EU/EEA Member States

According to Italian and EU social security principles and rules, workers from EU,
EEA and Switzerland:

> Are subject to the law of only one country at any one time.
> Are usually insured under the social security laws of the country they work in,
except when they are posted workers abroad.
> Receive the same benefits and rights as local workers, if they register with the
Italian social security system, by paying contributions.
> Have the right, in many cases, to sum up working periods carried out in different
countries where they pay contributions ("aggregation" of periods), in order to
receive work and unemployment benefits and state pensions.

According to EU regulations, the periods during which a worker has adhered to social
security systems in two different countries can be aggregated and this applies to the
benefits as well. As regards pensions, aggregation is allowed if the worker has
matured, in the country granting the pension, a minimum period of insurance
contributions (for EU and EEA countries the minimum period is 52 weeks).

    2.2 Researchers from extra EU/EEA with a bilateral agreement with Italy

Non EU/EEA nationals belonging to countries which have signed bilateral social
security agreements with Italy will get the same benefits as local workers provided
they register with the Italian social security system and pay the required
contributions.

Italy has signed bilateral agreements with certain countries in order to ensure that
citizens of these countries who have worked in both countries and have made equal
contributions enjoy equal social security benefits.

                                                                                      5
Workers from non-EU/EEA countries that have signed a bilateral agreement with Italy
can ask for an aggregation of the periods of insurance in Italy and abroad, provided
the worker has matured at least the minimum period of contributions in the country
granting the pension. This minimum period may differ according to the country in
question.

Italy has entered into bilateral agreement for on social security with the following
countries:

 Argentina                                Republic of Cabo Verde

 Australia                                Republic of Korea

 Bosnia Herzegovina                       Republic of Croatia

 Brazil                                   Republic of San Marino

 Canada and Quebec                        Holy See

 Former Yugoslavia                        Tunisia

 Israel                                   Turkey

 Jersey, Isle of Man and Channel U.S.A
 Islands

 Republic of Macedonia                    Uruguay

 Mexico                                   Venezuela

 Principality of Monaco

                                                                                   6
2.3 Researchers from extra EU/EEA without a bilateral agreement with Italy

In case of work performed in Italy by nationals of countries that have not entered into
bilateral agreements on social security with Italy, there is a possibility in favour of non-
EU workers returning in their country of origin to qualify for a pension benefit at the
age of 66 years of age, regardless the requirement of minimum contribution provided
by Italian legislation.

Moreover, researchers that have been employed in states that are not tied to Italy by
social security conventions and want to benefit from the pension contributions paid
in Italy, have the option to require redemption of the work done abroad, in return for
payment, in accordance with the applicable Italian legislation.

     3. Health Care

The National Health System is also part of the social security system. Health care
benefits in kind are granted by the National Health Service (Servizio Sanitario
Nazionale - SSN), funded through general taxation and managed at a regional level. In
Italy, public health service is based on residence. Healthcare is provided to all those
registered with the local health centres (Azienda sanitaria locale - ASL) and all those
who are eligible under the applicable national and Community legislation. Each Italian
national resident in Italy and everyone affiliated to the health insurance system of
another Member State of the European Union working in Italy and their dependants
are covered for medical assistance. Extra- UE citizens with regular stay permit and
their regularly staying dependent family members are entitled to the same treatment,
rights and responsibilities as Italian citizens with reference to contributory burden
and the health care provided in Italy by the SSN. This right has the same validity in
time of the stay permit. In order to obtain health assistance, registration with the SSN
is required.

                                                                                          7
3.1 Benefits provided by the National Health Service

Registration with the Italian National Health Service (SSN) guarantees:
- services provided by a general practitioner outside a hospital (at the patient’s home
or at the medical center);
- paediatric specialists, obstetric and gynaecological care;
- any specialized care (including dental care) in public and private structures that
have contracts with the National Health Service;
- hospitalization (including childbirth) in public hospitals, clinics, and private
institutions subsidized by the SSN;
- medicine and pharmaceutical products prescribed by a general practitioner or a
specialist who is employed in or accredited by the SSN.

      3.2 EU Researchers

  -    Staying less than 3 months

Researchers from EU countries, from European Economic Area countries and from
Switzerland, who stay temporary in Italy (less than 3 months) don’t have to be
registered to the Italian National Health Service (SSN).       If they are covered by a
national social security scheme and they need "unforseen medical treatments", they
can get all the sanitary services provided by Italian law, presenting the European
Health Insurance Card - EHIC (Italian acronym: “TEAM") or a substitutive temporary
Certificate issued from the national healthcare authority in their home country.

If they do not have one, they should go to the competent Health Institution in their
country to ask for an extension of their health insurance coverage to Italy. They can
get the benefits for free, except for the payment of a fee ("Ticket"). A patient
contribution is required for prescriptions, medical examinations, oral and dental care.
If they need medical assistance, they can contact the local health authorities Azienda
Sanitaria Locale - ASL and SSN hospitals. Please note that they will be asked to show
their EHIC.

                                                                                       8
EU nationals staying in Italy less than 3 months are not entitled to register with the
Italian National Health Service. They are to opt for a private health insurance if they
want to cover all risks.

   -   Staying more than 3 months

European Union citizens, staying in Italy more than 3 months are granted the
possibility to register to the National Health Service (SSN) under certain
circumstances. The registration to the SSN gives them the right to receive, free or
with "ticket" payment, the same services as the Italian citizens. Mandatory registration
or by-right registration to SSN is guaranteed if:

   •   you are a worker (subordinate work or self-employment);

   •   you are a worker's relative;

   •   you are enrolled to the unemployment listing or are attending a training
       course;

   •   you have a permanent permit of stay;

   •   you are holder of one of the following forms: E33 E37, E120, or E106, E109,
       E121 (now all issued as portable document S1).

Therefore, EU researchers staying in Italy longer than 3 months and having a work
contract subject to IRPEF tax (Imposta Reddito Persone Fisiche) are entitled to register
with the SSN by submitting an application at ASL. In order to register with the SSN,
they need first to be registered at the Ufficio Anagrafe (Registry of citizens temporarily
present or permanent resident) in their place of residence.

                                                                                        9
In order to be entitled to public healthcare services, the following documents must be
submitted:
- passport or valid ID;

- tax identification number (Codice Fiscale);

- temporary Anagrafe registration receipt or Certificate of permanent residence (or
the request thereof submitted to the municipal Anagrafe office), self-certification is
also accepted;

- work contract.

The national health insurance card (tessera sanitaria) will be issued immediately and
free of charge. It will cover the same period of the work contract (in case if a short
term contract). Being registered with the SSN entitles to the same benefits as Italian
citizens. Also family members of the worker (spouse, children, etc. - EU nationals)
may benefit from the SSN services by registering with ASL. The researcher should
provide either the work contract (which provides the details of the family member
he/she wants to register as it indicates the family allowances he/she benefits from)
or a statement by the employer providing the details of the dependent family
members.

EU researchers staying in Italy longer than 3 months and enrolled in a public health
insurance institution in their country of origin, such as visiting professors or holders
of a tax free research fellowship or grant can ask their health insurance authority to
fill out form E 106 or S1, which then can be used to register with the Italian health
service. This allows the researcher to take advantage of all services just like normal
health insurance members in Italy. In this case, the Italian health insurance service will
bill the health insurance company in the researcher’s home country.

If the EU researcher has health insurance in Italy and his/her family members remain
in the home country, they can ask their Italian health insurance service to fill out forms
E109 or S1. With this form the family members abroad can take advantage of the
Italian health insurance coverage at no additional fees.

                                                                                         10
In this case, medical bills abroad will be sent to the Italian health insurance company.

EU researchers staying in Italy longer than 3 months with a fellowship or grant (IRPEF
tax free) can also have health insurance coverage through their European Health
Insurance Card for “necessary medical treatment”. According to EC COM (2009)313
final (2 July 2009), the EHIC remains valid for the length of the stay in Italy only if the
researcher does not move his/her permanent residency to Italy and covers
emergencies and medical care by a general practitioner (family doctor).

EU researchers not holding a valid EHIC and not enrolled to the Italian SSN should
enter into a private health insurance agreement either in their country of origin or in
Italy covering all risks (maternity included). In this way the insurance company will
cover their medical fees. The insurance policy should meet the following
requirements:

- it should include Italy in its territorial scope;

- it should provide full coverage for healthcare risks;

- it should have a one-year duration with a clear expiry date;

- it should cover also dependant family members;

- it should specify the formalities for reimbursement.

       3.2 Non-EU Researchers

Non-EU researchers living, studying and/or working in Italy must have health care
insurance which protects them in case of sickness, accident or pregnancy.

                                                                                        11
There are 3 options for health insurance coverage of extra-EU researchers living in
Italy:

    a. compulsory, i.e. free registration with the SSN in case where the type of
         employment contract is subject to income tax obligations;

b. voluntary registration with SSN in the event that the engagement of the researcher
is not subject to income tax obligations, as in some cases of research grants;

c. purchasing of a private health insurance policy valid in Italy (it is compulsory, before
leaving, to have a copy of the policy endorsed by an Italian embassy or consulate) or a
private health insurance issued in Italy by a national insurance company.

Please note that the application for a visa and permit of stay requires evidence of the
ability to cover health risks.

Pursuant to Legislative Decree no. 286/98 and subsequent amendments, health care
is delivered to foreign nationals of countries outside the European Union through the
SSN depending on the possession of a residence permit, the type of permit issued and
the region of residence.

In particular, foreigners legally residing or who have applied for the renewal of visa
for employment, self-employment, for family reasons, for political asylum, for
humanitarian asylum, for request of asylum, for adoption, foster care, request of
citizenship, must register with the SSN (compulsory registration) and have equal
treatment and full equality of rights and obligations with respect to Italian citizens,
including obligation to pay any affiliation fee, expenses (ticket). The registration is
valid for the entire duration of the residence permit. Upon expiration of the permit,
either the new application must be documented, or the renewed permit must be
shown.

                                                                                        12
Health care is also provided to dependents members of the family of the extra-EU
citizen legally residing in Italy.

Children under 26 years attending an undergraduate course or other type of school
legally recognized are registered with the SSN within the limits of the legal duration of
the course.

In case of parents older than 65 years, it is required health coverage or registration of
the parent with the SSN, subject to payment of a fee (fixed by the interministerial
decree every two years).

Any third-country national holding a residence permit valid for more than 3 months,
who does not fall into the above categories (i.e. foreigners holding a residence permit
for reasons such as study and/or research), can register on a voluntary basis by paying
a voluntary lump-sum contribution, which extends health-care coverage to dependent
family members. Non-EU citizens can apply for voluntary registration if they are:

• Students;

• Au pairs;

• Religious staff;

• Holders of a stay permit for elective residence;

• Over-65 reunified parents;

• Employees of international organisations working in Italy, except for the cases
regulated by international agreements;

• Accredited staff of diplomatic and consular missions;

• Workers who are not obliged to pay the income tax of physical persons to Italy;

• Foreign citizens who take part in volunteer programmes;

• Researchers staying in Italy for scientific research purposes;

• Other categories non entitled to mandatory registration.

                                                                                      13
Voluntary registration with the SSN occurs following a yearly income-based payment
that can be extended to dependent family members. It refers to the calendar year
(January 1 – December 31) and cannot be split up.

This contribution is calculated according to:

      the rate of 7.50% to the share of income of € 20,658.28;
      the rate of 4% on amounts in excess of € 20,658.28 and up to a limit of €
       51.645,69. In any case, the amount cannot be less than € 387.34.

Foreign citizens staying in Italy for a period exceeding three months, with no right to
compulsory registration are required to insure against the risk of sickness, accident
and maternity, by entering into a private insurance policy. Please note that the
application for a visa and permit of stay requires evidence of the ability to cover health
risks. In case of purchasing of a private health insurance policy in the country of origin
valid in Italy it is compulsory, before leaving, to have a copy of the policy endorsed by
an Italian embassy or consulate.

                                                                                       14
4. Useful links
For further information about social security in Italy:

National Institute for Social Security – International Area (Italian)
http://www.inps.it/portale/default.aspx?sID=%3b0%3b4763%3b&lastMenu=4763
&iMenu=1

TEAM – European Health Insurance Card in Italy (Italian)
http://www.salute.gov.it/portale/temi/p2_6.jsp?lingua=italiano&id=624&area=Assi
stenza%20sanitaria&menu=vuoto

European Health Insurance Card (English)
http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=559

Your social security rights in Italy (English)
http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/empl_portal/SSRinEU/Your%20social%20s
ecurity%20rights%20in%20Italy_en.pdf

                                                                             15
You can also read