A voucher payment system for occasional workers will be experimented in ten Italian cities, starting in the new year. The vouchers will bring many people, who currently work illegally with no social security contributions, into a more secure system and will enable members of the public to employ someone to do a few hours of work without breaking the law.

Each voucher will cost 10 for one hour of work and workers will be permitted to earn up to 1.000 vouchers per year. These vouchers are expected to be available and exchangeable at the post office, tobacconists and state lottery agencies. For each voucher the worker will receive 7.50 in cash and the remaining 2.50 will go to INPS the state social security system (1.30), INAIL who insure against injury at work (0.70) and to the company running the voucher system (0.50).

Those who may accept payment with vouchers will be the unemployed, students, housewives and pensioners who will have to register with a regional labour office to take part in the scheme; they will receive a magnetic card onto which their contributions will be registered.

The numbers of people working illegally in Italy is increasing, many of them being young people looking for a first job, and immigrants, the majority of whom work as domestic servants , baby sitters, agricultural workers and builders.

The Italian trades unions are not happy about the new voucher system on the grounds that small and medium businesses could well use it to substitute their normally legally employed workers with temporary employees who will cost less.

The cities which will take part in the year-long voucher experiment are, Verbania, Milan, Varese, Treviso, Bolzano, Venice, Lucca, Latina, Bari and Catania.