As a former student approaching the Italian job market, sooner or later you will realize that there are two different ways to work in Italy.

Following the Italian labor law, you can work as an employee within an organization, or, alternatively, you can choose to start your own activity as a self-employed person.

Of course, it is quite important to understand the difference between the two. Depending on the option you opt for, you will apply for a different residence permit (permesso per lavoro dipendente vs. permesso per lavoro autonomo).

However, for a person who is not familiar with the Italian labor law it is not so easy to catch the difference.

First of all, you have to look at the nature of the job, or, to be more precise, at the way the job is performed.

Empoyee or self-empoyed?

An Employee is someone who works under an employment contract. He/she is paid by an Employer with a wage or a salary. In this case, the Employer defines the work organization: this means the working schedule, the tools and the procedures that the employee is expected to follow.

At the opposite, a self- employed person is someone who works for himself as a freelance, or as the owner of a business. His or her work consists in offering his skills and competences for the benefit of a Client. The work is organized independently, responding to the client only for the achieved results.

At the same time, both kind of work can apply regardless to manual or intellectual jobs: an employee can be a Blue collar or a Manager, and, similarly, a self employed person can be a plumber or a Journalist.

From a fiscal point of view, if you are an employee, your income taxes are withheld by your employer each month. In this case, you will receive a net salary. Your payslip will include also the withholding of your social security and pension contribution, as far as it concerns the employee part.

As a self employed person, you have to take care about your income tax declaration, depending on which option can apply (Partita IVA, Cococo, etc..).