Greek law recognizes two kinds of working periods: legal (nomimo) and conventional (simvatiko). Legal working periods are regulated by law.
Hours & Pay Regulations
The normal work week is 40 hours and five days, although a 6-day work week of up to 48 hours can be negotiated in an agreement. A conventional working period is one that is determined by contract.
A conventional working period may only contain provisions more favorable to the employee than the limits provided by law. Agreement on Working Hours, No. 3385 of 2005, arts. 1-2.
All employees who work in excess of the statutory working hours are entitled to receive compensation for their additional work. Greek labor law distinguishes between “overwork” and “overtime.”
Generally, consists of up to one additional hour per day or five additional hours per week. The reimbursement rate is the employee’s wage plus 20 percent.
- Five-Day Working Schedule: Overwork consists of up to one additional hour of work each day (for a total working day of nine hours) and up to five hours per week (41st–45th hours).
- Six-Day Working Schedule: Overwork consists of up to eight hours per week (41st–48th hours, distributed in increments of one hour and 20 minutes per day).
Consists of the time worked in excess of overwork, up to two hours per day and 120 hours per year. Hours worked in excess of overwork are designated as overtime and are compensated as follows:
- Up to two hours per day, and 120 days per year (legal overtime), the employee’s wage plus 40 percent;
- Overtime above 120 hours per year with special approval by the Minister of Labor (special overtime), the employee’s wage plus 60 percent.
Compensatory time off instead of overtime pay is not allowed.
E8 Form for Overwork/Overtime
The employee is required to fill an E8 Form, which is a form completed by employees for overwork and overtime. This form is required to be filled 24 hours prior to taking overtime or on the day the overtime has been taken. The Ministry of Labour, Social Security, and Welfare requires employers to submit these forms to its agency electronically or via SMS if the employer’s mobile phone number is registered with the agency. Agreement on Working Hours, No. 3385 of 2005, art. 1 (Greek); Presidential Decree No. 515 of 1970 on Working Limits, arts. 1-3.
Night work is defined as work between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Where night work is imposed under the work contract or is necessitated due to the nature of the work, employees are entitled to an increase of 25 percent above their regular wage.
Underage employees and some categories of females may not be required to work during these hours. Agreement on Working Hours, No. 3385 of 2005, arts. 1-2.
The law provides for mandatory breaks during working hours.
Lunch breaks, for those who work a full day, may not be less than one hour. When the working period is continuous, additional breaks may not be less than one half hour. Entitlement to breaks does not require a minimum number of daily work hours.
During any 24hour work period, a period of 11 hours of rest must be provided at a minimum. Agreement on Working Hours, No. 3385 of 2005, arts. 1-2.
Employees who work on Sundays are entitled to a 75 percent increase in their hourly wage. Agreement on Working Hours, No. 3385 of 2005, arts. 1-2.
Employees who have been with the same employer for at least 12 months are entitled to holiday leave.
Public holidays are announced each year by the government. The following are the public holidays observed in Greece:
- New Year’s Day – January 1
- Epiphany – January 6
- Kathari Deftera – February 19
- Independence Day – March 25
- Good Friday
- Holy Saturday
- Easter Sunday
- Easter Monday
- May Day – May 1
- Whit Sunday
- Whit Monday
- Assumption Day – August 15
- OXI Day – October 28
- Christmas Eve – December 24
- Christmas Day – December 25
- Boxing Day – December 26
- New Year’s Eve – December 31
Employees may be entitled to annual leave. The employee receives the leave during each year, not after the end of the year. The calculation of annual leave is based on the duration of employment. Pursuant to the 23/05/2000 National Collective Agreement, which covers almost all workers, those who work six days per week are entitled to 24 working days of leave, and those who work five days per week are entitled to 20 working days of leave. Employees are entitled to two days’ leave for each month employed in the first year. The duration of leave can be increased up to 30 days and 25 days, respectively. Annual Leave Law, No. 3302 of 2004, arts. 1-2.
A mother insured under any insurance organization is entitled to 17 weeks’ maternity leave. Maternity leave starts eight weeks before the expected date of confinement and ends nine weeks after delivery. In addition to maternity leave, a new mother is also entitled to reduced working hours as follows:
- Option 1: One hour less each day with no decrease in regular pay for a period of 30 months from the date of delivery;
- Option 2: Two hours less each day for a period of 12 months, and one hour less each day for the following six months with no decrease in regular pay, subject to manager’s approval; or
- Option 3: The abovementioned hourly entitlements taken as paid leave, subject to manager’s approval.
Law Promoting Employment, No. 2874 of 2000, § 11.
The father of a newborn is entitled to special paid leave of two days due to the birth of his child.
According to Law 4075/2012, working parents are entitled to receive a parental leave of at least four months, which is available until the completion of the sixth year of the child’s age. Parental leave is unpaid and is considered as a nontransferable individual right. In addition, full-time employees with children up to 16 years of age are entitled to receive an additional unpaid leave of six working days per the calendar year, in case of their child’s illness. This leave is increased to eight days in the case of the employee who has two children, and to 14 days in the case of the employee who has more than two children.
Working parents with children under 18 years who suffer from a disease that requires blood transfusion or dialysis, a neoplastic disease, or a disease that requires a transplant are entitled to receive special parental paid leave of 10 working days per year. Employees who have children with disabilities, and who work in enterprises employing at least 50 employees, are also entitled to reduced hours of one less hour per day and to receive a proportionally decreased salary. Employees with children up to 16 years of age who are students are entitled to be absent from their work for either a few hours or the whole working day, provided that the employer agrees, in order to visit their children’s school and talk to their children’s teachers. This leave entitlement amounts to a maximum of four working days per the calendar year and is paid by the employer.
Employees who marry are entitled to marriage leave in the amount of six working days for employees who work six days per week and five days for employees who work five days per week. During marriage leave, employees are entitled to the normal pay that they would have received if they were working. Employees are required to inform their employer of the fact of their forthcoming marriage in good time, in accordance with the principle of good faith.
Trade union officers are entitled to specific leave according to their capacity in the trade union and the number of the union’s members.
In case of death of a close relative i.e. husband/wife, child, parents, or brother/sister, the employee is entitled to a special paid leave of two days.
Employees who study at a public school or university are entitled a special leave of up 30 days per year in order to study for their exams. The employee is paid by OAED (Labor Force Employment Organization) during his or her study leave. The employee is obliged to verify participation in the exams by a certificate from the school or university. Due to the fact that study leave is granted for the preparation of the employee for his or her exams, it should be taken during the exam period. For postgraduate students, study leave amounts to 10 days per year and is considered as unpaid leave.
Employees who have to travel in order to exercise their electoral rights are entitled to leave days with pay, according to the distance of travel. The days are determined by Ministerial Decree. Upon returning to work, the employee must submit to proof of voting to his or her employer.
The grant of unpaid leave is always based on mutual agreement between the parties to the employment contract and serves either special needs on the part of the employee or an unforeseen temporary reduction in the employer’s business activities. During the leave period, the obligations of the parties, such as the respective obligations to pay remuneration and to perform work, are suspended.
Employees who cannot work due to disability are still entitled to compensation; the length of the entitlement is based on the length of employment. The insured must have at least 120 days of insurance contributions (100 if working in construction) in the calendar year before the incapacity began or 100 days of contributions in the last 15 months excluding the last quarter. The benefit is paid for 182 to 720 days, according to the insured’s contribution period. The employee is entitled to payment of 50 percent of daily earnings after a three-day waiting period. If the insured has worked for the same employer for at least a year, the employer must pay the difference between the cash benefit and the employee’s earnings for a month; if the employment period is less than a year, the employer pays the difference for two weeks. Emergency Law, No. 190 of 1967, art. 5.
Last updated on: November 28th, 2018