Italy follows the recommendations provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) regarding infant vaccinations, and advises that they should be inoculated against various diseases.
Some of the vaccinations are compulsory:
All the vaccinations are recorded in a book, the libretto individuale, of the baby. This book, provided by the hospital at the birth of the child, gives information about the time of the birth, the weight of the baby and holds other important records.
The vaccination book is very important in Italy and must be kept safely as it will be needed by the doctor, hospital, emergency services and schools.
According to the Financial Law 2006 (Legge Finanziaria 2006), parents may benefit from a baby bonus (bonus bebe) which is an amount of money paid by cheque to any baby born or adopted in 2005 or 2006.
The local fiscal office (Anagrafe Tributaria) allocates the cheque.
Mothers are entitled to 80 percent of their average daily wage during maternity leave. The compulsory maternity leave in Italy covers a period of five months maximum; usually the mother leaves work two months before the birth of her child and returns within three months after the birth. It is also possible to leave work one month before the birth and then take up to four months once the baby is born.
Maternity leave can be extended up to 11 months between the two parents, to be taken within the first eight years of the child's life. This indemnity also applies to parents adopting a child (for three months as from the date of adoption for children under six years) and also applies to the father.
During the first year after birth, the law protects the rights of the mother at work, who may be reinstated in her previous job any time within that period.
To claim Italian maternity benefits an application must be made at the local INPS (Instituto Nazionale Previdenza Sociale) office. A medical certificate confirming the pregnancy is required and a statement from the employer stating that the woman has stopped work due to pregnancy.
After the birth it is necessary to provide the INPS with the child's birth certificate and a certificate of family status (certificato di stato di famiglia) available from the registry office (ufficio anagrafe).
Within the first eight years of the child's life, either of the parents may take parental leave, up to a maximum of 11 months altogether for both parents. In the case of adoption, the parents also have the right to take parental leave (the conditions then depend on the age of the child adopted). The salary paid for parental leave corresponds to 30 percent of the average daily wage.
In the first year after the birth of the child, the mother is entitled to take two hours rest a day, for a working day of six hours or more, and one hour's rest a day for a working day of less than six hours. This facility also applies in the case of an adoption.
On presentation of a medical certificate, the parents have the right to take leave from work to attend to their sick child. The parents may take:
Parents of a severely handicapped child may benefit from an extension of the parental leave or, alternatively, may take one or two paid hours off work per day, until the child is three years old. For children above three years of age, they are entitled to three days per month off work.
From January 2001, the law states that parents who need to look after their handicapped child can take up to a maximum of two years leave. This can be taken at various times.
The Ministry of Work and Social Affairs (Ministero del Lavoro e delle Politiche Sociali) may provide financial help (Assegno di Maternità) to families in financial difficulties, jobless parents, and families with more than three children aged under 18 years, provided that the annual income of the family doesn't exceed a certain amount.
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