In terms of labor law, expats often have enormous advantages

Updated 2012-03-22 06:59

Many expats move to Italy for work reasons. Among them, many managers and executives of multinational companies who started their careers abroad and are, at one stage or another in their professional experience, sent to Italy.

In this period of crisis, many companies they work for want to renegotiate the labor conditions of those executives or managers or, in the worst case, to terminate the employment contract.

These managers and executives naturally tend to trust the human resources department of the company they work for, and almost always end up accepting the "generous" proposals offered to them. They think that a more "aggressive" stance would be damaging them. They are wrong.

Indeed, more often due to the ignorance of the law rather than an intent to harm, HR departments are unaware that European law provides a huge protection to expat employees.

Take for example the case of a manager of a Belgian, French or English multinational company who is sent to Italy to manage all or part of the activities of the Italian subsidiaries of the group.

Suppose that the expatriate is working under a French, Belgian, Luxembourg, Dutch or otherwise agreement, which explicitly provides that the applicable law is French, Belgian, Luxembourg, the Dutch or another law.

If he worked initially under French contracts, he will be called for example at the Paris headquarters for an 'interview prior to termination', after which the HRD will make him a "generous offer" he will be very tempted to accept . He will often consult a lawyer of his home country, which will confirm the "generous" character of the offer. The problem is that these 'foreign' lawyers do not know the Italian labor law.

What this executive or manager (and his foreign lawyer) does not know is that he most likely meets the conditions to qualify for the total or partial application of the Italian labor law (even though his contract designated another law ) and that, therefore, if he reacts adequately, he can often get a compensation which will be twice or thrice the one he had be offered with.

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