New Italian law brings mixed consequences to NYU profs

Jonathan Tan/WSN

A recent legislation in Italy created new contracts for NYU Florence professors.

The law is in response to complaints from foreign-born, Italy based professors who were previously required to work for an undetermined amount of time. They were also typically paid less and had a shorter contract than native Italian professors because they were considered temporary workers.

The legislation, which took effect in July, requires all professors to be hired under a contract that sets a certain number of hours for them to work. However, this number varies among institutions.

“Nothing is really well-defined at the moment for us here in Villa La Pietra,” said Lily Prigioniero, a writing professor at NYU Florence.

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The new law also requires institutions to pay higher insurance contributions, which include social security payments to the Italian government and state pension contributions. As a result, the universities will be cutting employee salaries by 20 to 50 percent or reduce staff members.

At NYU Florence, all professors will be able to retain their positions with a 20 percent
decrease in salary.

One NYU Florence professor, who wished to remain anonymous due to the precariousness of the teachers’ current positions, said the law was the worst possible outcome for their situation.

“It is both a drop in salary and a potentially even less secure position … the worst of both worlds,” the professor said.

Many professors in Italy said they are apprehensive to discover how these changes will affect them.

Marcella Delitala, a teacher in Italy and a former NYU Italian professor, said she does not know what to expect next.

“It is still too early to know [if the law will be worthwhile],” Delitala said. “We should see in a semester what happens.”

Regardless of these changes, university spokesman John Beckman said studies of NYU Florence students should not be affected.

“I don’t think that students this semester or in the future will see anything much different than in the past because of this development,”  Beckman said. “We will have the same high standards for faculty appointments and academic rigor.”

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Sept. 19 print edition. Alexandra Connolly and Brittany Yu are contributing writers. Email them at [email protected] 

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