An unprecedented campaign launched in July by the minister of public administration and innovation, Renato Brunetta, to increase the productivity of civil servants and reduce record-high absenteeism, has already seen the signs of success. Ministry statistics recently showed a 37 percent drop in public sector absenteeism in July 2008, and Brunetta claims this figure will increase to 50 percent within the next year.
For years, the threat of being dismissed from a civil service position in Italy has been virtually inexistent. Restrictive labour laws meant that those with civil servant jobs could expect to keep them for life. However, the new labour rules, officially passed in early August, have put an end to this practice.