Global Compliance Desk – Greece

Greece: Amendment to Greek Employment Law

Greek Law 4808/2021, published in the Government Gazette on 19.06.21, introduced significant changes to the employment law, Directive 2019/1158 & Law 3655/2008 (Special Leaves) in view of the new economic, social, and technological challenges. Below are the main changes introduced with regard to individual employment relationships.

Work Schedule

Standard work schedule shall be 40 hours per week allocated in 5 or 6 days work week; in case of 5 days’ work week. Previously, the daily working hours for both 5 days and 6 day work week was 8 hours a day.

As per the amendment, the daily working hours for 6 day work week are changed to 6 hours and 40 minutes/day.

Overtime

Previously, the daily overtime limit was 2 hours per day, and the annual limit was 120 hours per year. 

As per the amendment, the daily maximum limit of overtime is increased to 3 hours per day, while the annual limit is increased to 150 hours of overtime work.

Break

Previously, the employee was required to complete 6 hours of continuous service, to be entitled to at least a 15-minute break. 

As per the amendment –

  • If the time of daily work exceeds 4 continuous hours, the employee shall be entitled to a break of 15-30 minutes, during which the employee has the right to leave the employment position. Such breaks shall be provided in the middle of the day (they shall not coincide with the start or end of the day).
  • Full-time employees who are employed with a daily split schedule for all or some days of the week shall be entitled to a rest of at least 3 hours between the two parts of their daily work schedule.

Public Holiday

Previously, employees did not have properly defined statutory public holidays, except for March 25th, Easter Monday, The Feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary (August 15th). The Feast of the Nativity of Christ (December 25th) and May 1st was an optional holiday.  

The amendment has clarified the list of statutory public holidays as follows – 

  • January 1st;
  • January 6th;
  • March 25th;
  • Easter Monday (date varies);
  • May 1st;
  • August 15th;
  • October 28th;
  • December 25th;
  • December 26th. 

Annual Leave

Earlier there was no restriction on the usage of the annual leave. According to the amendment, employees shall use at least half of the total leave from May 1st until September 30. The entitled, per year, leave must be exhausted by the first quarter of the following calendar year.

Special Leaves

The Greek Law 4808/2021, has introduced several new special leaves for employees and also made certain amendments to the use and accrual of the existing leaves available to employees. They are as follows – 

  • Paternity Leave: Previously, fathers of newborn children were entitled to 2 days’ paid leave upon the birth of a child and may work reduced hours without a reduction in pay to care for the child.

As per the amendment,  Paternity leave for fathers of newly-born children shall be equal to 14 working days and shall be used as follows: a) the first 2 days are taken before the expected date of birth and the remaining days within 30 days from the date of birth or b) all days are taken after the date of birth. In case of adoption of a child up to 8 years old, paternity leave shall be provided from the date of the integration of the child into the family.

  • Parental Leave: The amendment, provides a new paid parental leave which may be used by any parent having completed 1 year of employment with the employer and shall be equal to 4 months(continuously or intermittently, according to the employee’s application and relevant consultation with the employer) until the child reaches 8 years of age. Such leave shall also apply to parents of adopted children of up to 8 years old, from the date of the integration of the child in the family.
  • Caretaker Leave: Each employee who has completed 6 months of employment with the employer shall be entitled to paid “caretaker leave” equal to 5 working days in a calendar year.
  • Leave for reasons of Force Majeure: Every parent or caretaker shall be entitled, twice a year to a paid leave of 1 working day each time, for reasons of force majeure related to urgent family matters in case of sickness or accident, requiring the presence of the employee. Every employee/ parent of children up to 12 years old or caretaker having completed at least six (6) months of employment with the employer shall be entitled to flexible employment rules (especially, remote working, flexible work schedule, or part-time employment), upon request addressed to the employer.
  • Maternity Leave: Weeks of maternity leave after childbirth (i.e. 9 weeks), as well as all relevant remuneration and allowances, shall also be granted to women in case of adoption of a child up to 8 years old, as well as to women who have a child through the procedure of surrogacy.
  • Leave for submission to medically assisted reproduction methods: Working women who have submitted to medically assisted reproduction methods shall be entitled to paid leave of 7 working days by submitting a relevant medical certificate to the employer.
  • Special Maternity Leave: Special maternity leave shall also be granted to women in case of adoption of a child of up to 8 years old, as well as to women who have a child through the procedure of surrogacy.
  • Childcare Leave: Working parents & adoptive parents may, either the one or the other, use the paid childcare leave, in the following alternative ways: 1) Begin work one hour later or leave work one hour earlier for 30 months after the end of maternity leave, 2) Work two hours less every day for the first 12 months and one hour less for the 6 following months, 3) Convert such hours into days of leave which are allocated on a weekly basis.  Take such leave as a whole continuously or intermittently i.e. be absent from work for a continuous period, converting the aforementioned hours into days.
  • School Leave: For every child up to 18 years of age that attends school, both parents (full time or part-time employees) may take paid leave for some hours or for a full day and up to 4 working days per year.
  • Wedding Leave: Paid leaves of 5 working days in case of 5-days’ employment schedule and of 6 working days in case of 6-days employment schedule.
  • Leave for Prenatal Examinations: Pregnant employees may take paid leaves for the purposes of prenatal examinations if such examinations are required to be performed during their work schedule.
  • Leave for Child with Disability: Parents being employed with an employer that have at least 50 employees in their workplace, may request for reduction of their daily employment schedule by 1 hour per day, with the respective reduction of their remuneration.
  • Leave in case of sickness of dependent family members: maximum 6 days’ unpaid leave per annum (used continuously or intermittently) where a child or other dependent member of their family is sick. The duration for leave is increased to 8 in case that the employee has two children and to 14 days in case the employee has three children or more.
  • Leave in case of a serious health issue of a child: Paid leaves of 10 working days per year upon employee’s request (adoptive & surrogate parents are also eligible). The same applies to parents of children of up to 18 years old with a serious mental disease, Down’s syndrome, or autism.
  • Leave in case of hospitalization of a child: After Parental Leave is exhausted, employees must be provided with unpaid leave for as long as the hospitalization lasts and, in any case, for no more than 30 working days per year.
  • Single parents’ leave: Widowed employees and unmarried/divorced employees who have the custody of a child of up to 12 years old are entitled to additional paid leave of 6 working days per year or 8 working days for parents of 3 children or more.
Shreya Bhattacharya
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shreya Bhattacharya
A labor and employment lawyer at Replicon who specializes in global compliance. Replicon provides award-winning products that make it easy to manage your workforce. Replicon is an industry leader in global compliance and has a dedicated team which pro-actively monitors international labor regulations for ensuring proper adherence with specific country rule requirements.
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