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Board-level Representation

There is no right to employee board level representation in Italy, and although new legislation proposes this could be introduced, in practice change seems unlikely.

Since 2003 Italian companies have been able to choose between three forms of corporate governance.1 These are the two systems found elsewhere in Europe, a single board (one tier) and a management board and a supervisory board (two-tier), and the specific Italian system where there is both a management and a supervisory board, but both are chosen by the shareholders and the supervisory board has an auditing rather than monitoring function. Employees have no right to board level representation, and the 2003 legislation specifically stated that those in an employment relationship with the company cannot be elected to the supervisory board.



Legislation introduced by the government of Mario Monti in 2012 potentially alters this situation.2 It states that detailed legislation is to be introduced, which will allow share-based companies with a two-tier structure and with more than 300 employees to permit employees to participate as members of the supervisory board with the same rights as all other members. There is no requirement on companies to have a supervisory board of this type, and at present, only a small number of Italian companies have this structure.



In addition, implementation of the measure depends on further legislation which has not been introduced. Board level representation is also not included in the proposed “Jobs Act”, being introduced by the government of Matteo Renzi. At present, therefore, change seems unlikely.

L. Fulton (2015) Worker representation in Europe. Labour Research Department and ETUI. Produced with the assistance of the SEEurope Network, online publication available at http://www.worker-participation.eu/National-Industrial-Relations.