(ANSA) - Rome, September 3 - Italians must work harder to close the productivity gap with other European nations, such as Germany, Economic Ministry Undersecretary Gianfranco Polillo said Monday. "Think of an Italy that is productive and that collectively works measurably more," Polillo said in an interview. "We can not overlook the fact that there is divide between Italy and other countries regarding number of days worked compared to allowed absences in the workplaces". The ministry undersecretary specified the amount of "paid holidays and leave". Employers' organizations and labour unions must work together to improve productivity, but can't expect government funding for these initiatives, he said. Premier Mario Monti's emergency government successfully passed a labor-market reform this year that aims to spur new hires and makes it easier for employers to lay off workers.