Over the last decades, the Italian welfare state faced several challenges: budgetary consolidation and financial austerity, changes in the structure of social risks and needs, the effects of the 2008 financial crisis, and the Great Recession. In this context, welfare state «recalibration» is taking place mainly outside the public sector; this calls for greater attention on what is going on in the market, and at the civil society level. Private companies - through so-called «occupational welfare» initiatives - are one of the main actors of the «recalibration» process. By means of company-based social protection measures, companies can indeed mobilize additional resources to respond to emerging, unmet social needs. In Italy, the spread of this phenomenon need to face with the distinctive traits of the Italian productive system, largely composed by small and medium-sized enterprises. One of the most interesting way to exceed the limits of SMEs in implementing company-based welfare measures is related to the creation of network and local-level agreements. Considering theirs increasing role, the following article aim to identify the fundamental features that could contribute to analyse these experiences. In support of his theoretical vision, the author has chosen to examine four recent agreements.
Keywords: Occupational welfare, company-based welfare, business network, local welfare agreements