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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Conditions of service for teachers working in early childhood and school education


9.Teachers and education staff

9.2Conditions of service for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Last update: 6 February 2024

Conditions of service of educators in public ECEC settings for children aged less than three years are regulated by the national labour contracts that can be integrated at local level through agreements with the relevant trade unions. Due to the variety of regulations, conditions of service in public ECEC settings cannot be described in detail in the following sections. 

Central legislation and the national labour contracts establish rights, duties and conditions of service of teachers working in State pre-primary, primary and secondary institutions. As a basic principle, teachers have teaching autonomy, in the respect of the principles of the Constitution.

Planning policy

The Ministry in charge of education, at present called Ministry of education and merit (Ministero dell'istruzione e del merito  - MIM), annually establishes the number of available places for the initial education of teachers of pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools. The overall number of the yearly available places is established considering the number of school staff decided at regional level and the teaching staff requirements in state schools based on the three-year plan for the education offer (Piano triennale dell’offerta formativa – PTOF).

Entry to the profession

Schools recruit teachers from rankings organised locally by each Region. Rankings are the result of regular open competitions held every two years, as well as of extraordinary open competitions. In any case, examinations are organised separately for pre-primary and primary teachers and for secondary teachers. Rankings remain valid for two years after their final approval or, earlier, when subsequent rankings are published.

Candidates for the competition must meet the requirements envisaged for accessing the competition for the respective school level at which they intend to teach. Preprimary and primary school teachers need to complete a qualifying university programme of five years in primary school sciences (ISCED 7). Secondary teachers, beside the master's degree in one subjects taught at secondary level, must obtain 60 ECTS in academic qualifying programmes aimed at the acquisition of specific cultural, pedagogical, linguistic, and technological competences. For further details on ITE of teachers in State schools, please refer to the relevant section.

Winners choose the school where to start the induction period of one year, based on their position in the ranking and the available posts in the relevant region, among the schools that have availability of posts. 

Permanent contract teachers do not cover all the posts available. Therefore, many posts are annually covered by teachers with annual contracts, that usually end on 30 June or 31 August. Schools call the temporary contract teachers directly from ad hoc lists.

Finally, for short-time assignments, for example to replace absent teachers, school managers directly call teachers from lists kept by the school itself.


After being assigned to a teaching position, teachers are required to pass a trial and training period (induction), to be confirmed in the teaching profession. The induction period is regulated at central level (DM 226/2022) and by the collective national labour contracts.

The training activities are carried out through specific and contextualized projects. The planning of these projects must take into consideration the need of personalisation of the pathways and of offering optional opportunities to improve ICT skills and foreign languages knowledge, also in view of attaining internationally recognised certifications.

The induction period must correspond to at least 180 days of actual job (exams and assessments included), of which 120 days spent in teaching activities (included all the activities preparatory to teaching), plus a minimum of 50 hours of training activities (see below for details).

The whole induction period (trial and training) aims at verifying the teacher’s competences, while the training activities, in particular strengthen the competences and professional standards required for the teaching profession.

Training activities are organised in 4 phases for an overall duration of 50 hours:

  1. Preparatory and final meetings organised by the local school administration (up to 6 hours);
  2. Four workshops of three hours each, chosen by the teacher among the options proposed by the local school administration taking into consideration the specific training needs of new teachers;
  3. Peer to peer activities (at least 12 hours) to improve teaching practice;
  4. On-line activities (20 hours) carried out on the ad hoc platform created by the National institute of documentation innovation and research in education (Indire).

During the training period each teacher creates his/her own digital professional portfolio that includes the teacher’s professional curriculum, the competences at the beginning of the training period, the documentation of the training-teaching period, the final balance of competences and expectations of professional development.

Teachers carry out their induction period with the guidance and support of a tutor appointed by the school manager among teachers with specific teaching and tutoring and counselling abilities.

At the end of the induction period, the school manager evaluates the teacher verifying that the teacher has reached the professional objectives and competences established at the beginning of the training period and considering the opinion of the Committee for the evaluation of teachers. The Committee expresses its opinion after interviewing the teacher, taking into consideration the tutor’s conclusions and the school manager’s report.

The Committee’s opinion is obligatory but not binding for the school manager who evaluates the teacher. In case of positive assessment, the school manager confirms the teacher in his/her position with the status of teacher with tenure.

In case of negative evaluation, the teacher will have the chance to undergo a second, not renewable, period of training.

Professional status

Teachers in State schools are public employees, not civil servants, and work under a private-law contract. The national collective labour contracts and the integrative contracts signed at school level regulate teachers’ conditions of service. These contracts are defined in full autonomy and under private law; they are only bound to respect the financial limits established by the State balance as far as remuneration is concerned.

Contracts can be either temporary or permanent. Under permanent contracts, teachers become part of the permanent teaching staff of the State, while temporary contracts can last maximum until the end of the school year (31st August).

Teachers in primary schools are qualified to teach all the disciplines foreseen at this school level.

Teachers at secondary level have a subject-based preparation and teach one or more subjects according to the group pf disciplines for which they participated in the open competition (for example, mathematics and physics).

Replacements measures

In case of absence of teachers, the following replacements measures apply:

  • In case of absence beyond the end of teaching activities, the annual replacement applies and the head of the local Offices at provincial level entrusts the substitute teacher until the end of the school year (the 31st of August);
  • In case of absence within the end of the teaching activities, the fixed-term replacement applies and the head of the local Offices at provincial level entrusts the substitute teacher until the end of the teaching activities (the 30th of June);
  • In case of short absence, the school head provides for short fixed-term replacements through the appointment of teachers included in school candidate lists.

The replacement measure is automatically extended if the absent teacher does not interrupt his/her absence. Substitute teachers with a fixed-term contract cannot accept a longer contract, unless the new proposal is for a replacement until the end of the teaching activities.

Supporting measures

Central regulations do not foresee support measures for teachers’ personal matters.

Support teachers can avail themselves of pedagogical mediators, ICT equipment, specific software and teaching aids to teach pupils with disabilities.


The teacher’s salary consists of two items:

  • the basic salary, based on 13 months, that includes an integrative sum calculated on the cost-of-living adjustment and possible family allowances,
  • the ancillary remuneration, that is variable because it includes payments for additional workload (hours and activities), and possible benefits.

All teachers upon appointment receive the salary at the initial level. At present, salary rises are based on length of service and the average number of years required to reach the top of the salary scale is 35.

Minimum and maximum annual gross salaries, together with various types of salary allowances, for teachers from pre-primary to upper secondary school level are available on the national data sheet (Italy) in Teacher’s and School Head’s Salaries and Allowances, 2021/2022.

Finally, under certain circumstances and according to what established in the integrative contracts signed a school level, teachers can receive financial rewards in the frame of appraisal procedures addressed to both the teaching and the non-teaching staff.

Working time and holidays

The compulsory work schedule of teaching staff includes teaching activities and functional teaching activities.

Teaching activities cover, within the annual school calendar established at regional level, not less than 5 days a week with a weekly timetable that varies according to the level of education: 25 hours in pre-primary school, 22 hours in primary school, plus 2 hours devoted to programming didactic activities, and 18 hours in secondary school.

Functional teaching activities, partly quantified and partly unquantified, are divided into:

  • individual duties, i.e. preparation of lessons and exercises, correction of papers, individual relations with families, 
  • collegial activities (up to 40 hours per year), i.e. participation in meetings of the Teachers' assembly, planning and verification at the beginning and end of the year, information to families on the results of the assessments (in pre-schools, the information concerns the progress of educational activities),
  • collegial activities (up to 40 hours per year), i.e. participation in the activities of the collegial bodies of the school,
  • assessments and examinations, including the drawing up of documents relating to the evaluation processes.

In addition, teachers can carry out paid (ancillary compensation) additional activities such as:

  • a maximum of 6 teaching hours per week can be added for increasing the educational offer, or to start pupils to sports, etc.,
  • activities functional to teaching and exceeding the compulsory yearly hours (for example: planning, research, documentation, updating activities),
  • activities connected to the implementation of the Plan for the educational offer of the school (POF),
  • projects in schools in high-risk and migration areas,
  • activities on curricular subjects destined to other subjects than pupils, e.g. to adults.

Every school year, teachers with a permanent contract have the right to:

  • 30 working days of holidays, 6 of which during periods of teaching activities, for the first 3 years and 32 from the fourth year on; teachers who do not benefit from these holidays totally or partially, can do it within the following school year during suspension of teaching activities,
  • 8 days leave to participate in competitions or examinations, 3 days for mourning, 3 days for documented special personal or family reasons, 15 days for marriage, 5 days to participate in CPD initiatives,
  • short leave of up to 2 hours a day (for a maximum corresponding to the weekly teaching hours) per month,
  • sick leave for a period of 18 months, with full retribution for the first 9 months, equal to 90% for the subsequent 3 months and 50% for further 6 months,
  • maternity leave, with full retribution for compulsory 5-months maternity leave (either two months prior to birth and three months after the birth, or one month before the delivery and four after the child’s birth). During the child’s first three years, mother and father have 30 days maternity/paternity leave for every year of the child. Furthermore, mother and father are entitled to 5 days each to attend to children of 3-8 years of age who are ill,
  • leaves of absence to hold an elective office.

Teachers can also – without retribution – take the unpaid leave of absence for family reasons or reasons of study and research, to hold office, to make use of grants, to carry out one-year work experience in another sector of the public administration or to pass an induction period.

Provisions regarding holidays, leaves and absences established for the personnel employed on a permanent basis apply also to teachers with a fixed-term contract with the following limitations:

  • holidays are proportional to length of service,
  • in case of contract for the entire school year, or until the end of teaching activities, the teacher keeps his/her job in case of illness for a period not longer than 9 months in three years, with full retribution for the first month and retribution reduced to 50% for the second and third months.

Promotion, advancement

Teachers do not have a career progression unless they leave the teaching profession and become school managers or inspectors.


The teacher may ask to change to a different type of teaching in the same type of school, or to move to another type of school for the same subject, or to another level of school (for example, from primary to secondary school). 

Teacher mobility may also be due to reasons different from teachers’ will, e.g. a re-organisation of schools in the territory, changes in the population and number of students, to the reorganisation of teaching positions, proved environmental incompatibility. If the proved environmental incompatibility has also an urgent nature, the school manager can order the mobility of the teacher during the school year and, if the urgency is due to a detriment of the relationships between the school and pupils’ families, can order the suspension without hearing the teachers' assembly opinion.

Transfers to non-State school, both paritarie and private, and vice versa are not possible.


Dismissal is possible:

  • upon request of the teacher, through resignation that starts from the 1st of September of the year following the resignation date and with no need to notice, 
  • at the request of the school administration, through dismissal for disciplinary reasons, for unpardonable behaviour in contrast with the duties of a teacher; decay, motivated by unjustified absences for more than 15 days; exemption from service due to teaching or physical inadequacy or constantly insufficient performance.

None of these measures implies the loss of the right to pension.

Retirement and pensions

According to the most recent legislation, starting from 1st January 2012 retirement and pension are regulated as follows:

  • official retirement age is 66 years + 3 months both for men and women (compulsory retirement),
  • men will retire at 66 years of age or after having worked for at least 42 years + 1 month (extended to 6 months from 1st January 2014),
  • women will retire at 66 years of age or after having worked for at least 41 years + 1 month (extended to 6 months from 1st January 2014),
  • women may apply for an early retirement at 57 years and 3 months of age and after 35 years of contributory seniority,
  • those who met the requirements at 31 December 2011 will retire following the previous system.

Finally, in 2013 age limits following the lengthening of life expectation have been introduced. New age limits are established upon checking the effective demographic trends.

Teachers' pension calculation includes also:

  • attendance of university courses for the attainment of a higher education degree if redeemed and not coincident with periods of service,
  • service with and without tenure in State schools in Italy and abroad,
  • work as a university professor or assistant professor,
  • military service prior to tenure; work outside of school in the employment of the State or local authorities.

In the school sector, for didactical reasons, retirement starts from the 1st of September of each year.

Teachers who have retired cannot continue their teaching activity. However, they can participate in the examination boards for upper secondary leaving examinations and in the examination boards for competitive exams for teaching. They can collaborate, without remuneration, with schools for carrying out extra-curricular activities (make-up courses, management of school libraries, guided visits, seminars, etc.). In addition to their pensions, employees recruited before 1 January 2001 are entitled to a retirement gratuity managed by National Social Security and Welfare Institute for State Employees (Istituto Nazionale di Previdenza e di Assistenza dei Dipendenti Statali – INPDAP). The retirement gratuity is an amount paid at the end of the career and generally corresponds to one month's pay for each year of service.

Staff recruited after 1 January 2001 fall within the new system of retirement allowance.

In the event of the pensioner's death, the pension may pass to:

  • the surviving spouse,
  • surviving children who are minors or enrolled in university courses,
  • majority-age children who are handicapped and already dependants of the pensioner,
  • parents (the father or, in his absence, the mother),
  • brothers and sisters who are minors, if already dependants of the pensioner.

Dispositions on retirement and pension are included in Law 214/2011.


Contents revised: February 2024