Last updated on: December 28th, 2023
The Labour Law in Greece is regulated mainly by Law 4808/2021 (last amended in 2023 by Law 5043/2023). The Law governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays and rest periods, wages, overtime, leaves, and other employment relationships.
Hours & Pay Regulations
Each employed person with a fixed-term or indefinite-term employment relationship is entitled to paid annual leave from the start of employment in a specific company, without the need to complete basic working time.
This leave is granted by the employer on a pro-rata basis (percentage) in proportion to the length of time the employee has been employed by that employer. The proportion of the granted leave is calculated on the basis of 20 working days of annual leave for a 5-day working week and 24 working days for a 6-day working week, which corresponds to 12 months of continuous employment. The employer is required after expiry of the first calendar year during which the employee was hired, to grant the annual regular paid leave gradually, corresponding to the time of employment in the respective company.
During the second calendar year, employees are entitled to regular annual paid leave in proportion to the length of their employment in the business, and it is calculated according to the above. The leave is increased by one (1) working day for each year of employment in addition to the first year, up to twenty-six (26) working days in the case of a 6-day working week or up to twenty-two (22) working days if the business applies a 5-day working week. During the third calendar year and after that, employees will be entitled to their full annual leave at any time in that year.
Employees who have completed 10 years of service with the same employer or 12 years of employment with any employer and under any employment relationship will be entitled to leave of 30 working days if a 6-day working week system is in place and 25 working days if a 5-day working week system is in place.
The period for granting the annual leave is arranged by agreement between the employee and the employer. In any event, the latter is required to grant the leave to the employee who applied for it within 2 months of the request.
Carryover of Leave – The regular leave should be granted by the employer in a manner so that it is exhausted by 31 December of each calendar year even if not requested by the employee. At the end of the calendar year, the claim for leave shall be converted into a monetary claim provided it is not permitted to carry the leave over to a subsequent year, even if this took place with the worker’s consent.
The employee is entitled by law to certain days of paid annual leave. In the first calendar year, during which the employee is hired, the employer must grant the employer, no later than 31 March of the following year, a number of leave days which should be pro rata to the total period he has worked from the time of his hiring until the 31st of December of that calendar year.
Employees shall use at least half of the total leave by May 1st until September 30. The entitled, per year, leave must be exhausted by the first quarter of the following calendar year.
Pay – A vacation bonus is also obligatory by statute. This equals 50 percent of the monthly salary or (if the employee is paid per diem) 13 times per diem. Sundays, public holidays and sick leave are not included in vacation leave.
With few exceptions, employees must use vacation days at the same time and cannot carry over unused leave. Employers cannot pay money in lieu of granting vacation. Art 7 of Law 4093/2012, Article 2(1) of Emergency Law No 539/1945, as amended by Article 13(1) of Law 3227/2004, Article 3 of NGCLA 2008/2009.
Female employees shall be entitled to 17 weeks or 119 calendar days in total for maternity leave of which 8 weeks must be allocated before the scheduled or anticipated date of birth. Leave is paid for 15 days if the young mother has not completed 1 year of employment with the employer, and for one month if the female employee has completed one year.
If the woman is not insured but her husband is, the payment goes to the husband. Employees are entitled to return to the same or an equivalent position following maternity leave.
The entitlement of maternity leave is available for adoptive parents up to the age of 8 years, and surrogate mothers also. Employees, who undergo medically assisted reproduction are entitled to paid leave of 7 working days with a salary, following a certificate from the medical practitioner.
Following maternity leave, mothers are entitled to a one-hour reduction in daily working time for 30 months. Alternatively, a two-hour reduction in daily working time can be taken for the first 12 months and a one-hour reduction for another six months. Law Promoting Employment, No. 2874 of 2000, § 11.
Prenatal examination leave – Pregnant employees are entitled to take paid leave during working hours in order to undergo prenatal examination if the tests are required to be performed during working hours.
Permission to submit to medically assisted reproduction methods -Employees, who undergo medically assisted reproduction methods are entitled to a leave of 7 working days with pay, after a certificate from the attending physician or the director of the medically assisted reproduction unit. Amended in accordance with Law 4808 of 2021, Art 40
Every working father shall be entitled to paternity leave.14 working days, which must be taken at the birth of the child. This leave may either be granted 2 days before the expected date of birth, in which case the remaining 12 are granted, in whole or in part, within 30 days from the date of birth or be administered after the date of birth.
Paternity leave must be granted by the employer and is not dependent on occupation or previous service or by the spouse or family’s current situation of the employee. In case of adoption or adoption of a child, age up to 8 years, paternity leave is granted by the integration of the child into the family. Law 4808 of 2021, Art 27.
Any working parent or person exercising parental responsibility as an individual and non-transferable burning of parental leave for the upbringing of the child, for a period of 4 months, which may be used continuously or partially, until the child reaches the age of 8 years, in order to fulfillment of the minimum parenting obligations to this.
In case of adoption or adoption of a child aged up to 8 years, parental leave is granted by the integration of the child in the family. For the granting of parental leave, the employee and the parent must have completed 1 consecutive year or with successive employment contracts of a certain time to the same employer.
The parental leave is posted on the “ERGANI” information system.
Pay – For the first 2 months of parental leave, the O.A.E.D. is required to pay a parental leave allowance to each parent, monthly, in an amount equal to the statutory minimum wage, as determined from time to time, as well as a proportion of holiday gifts and leave allowance based on the aforementioned amount. If there are more children, the parents’ right to parental leave and allowance is independent for each of them, as long as 1 year of actual employment with the same employer has elapsed since the end of the leave granted for the previous child, unless otherwise specified more favorable than a specific provision of law, decrees, regulations, collective labor agreements, arbitration awards or employer-employee agreements.
Exceptionally, parents of twins, triplets, or more multiple children are entitled to obtain parental leave for each child separately, cut or even continuously and are entitled to receive the allowance hereof for an additional 2 months, regardless of the number of children born even together. Parents alone, due to the death of the other parent or due to total deprivation of parental responsibility or non-recognition of the child by the other parent, are entitled to parental leave and duplicate allowance.
Parental leave is granted continuously, in parts or in another flexible way, upon request of the parent, which is submitted to the employer with any convenient means in writing or electronically and in which it determines its beginning and end.
Flexible Working Arrangements – Every working parent of children up to 12 years of age or carer is entitled to request flexible work arrangements for care reasons, such as in particular, teleworking, flexible working hours, or part-time work.
For the right to grant flexible work arrangements, the working parent must have completed 6 months of continuous or consecutive fixed-term employment contracts with the same employer, unless it is more favorably defined by a special provision of laws, decrees, regulations, collective labor agreements, arbitration awards or employer-employee agreements.
The employer examines and processes within 1 calendar month each request for flexible work arrangements, taking into account the needs of the business and the employee. The employer shall document any rejection of a relevant application or any postponement of granting flexible work arrangements. When flexible working arrangements have a limited duration, the employee returns to the original form of employment when the agreed period expires. The employee has the right to return to the original form of employment before the end of the agreed period, upon his request and if this is justified by a specific change in circumstances. The employer examines and processes each such request for early return in accordance with the provisions of the first and second paragraphs. Law 4808 of 2021, Art 28.
Working parents, even if the other parent is not working, are entitled, as an alternative to each other, to child care leave. The leave is granted for a period of time 30 months from the expiration of maternity leave or parental leave. During the above period, the parent who makes use of this right, is entitled to either arrive 1 hour later or takes place 1 hour earlier each day from work or interrupt it for one hour a day, according to his request.
Alternatively, by agreement of the parties, the part-time may be granted in other ways, such as:
- Reduced working hours by 2 hours for the first 12 months and against 1 hour per day for the next 6 months.
- Full leave days, which are divided into weekly basis, corresponding to the total number of hours, within the time period during which the employee is entitled to part-time work for child care.
- Equivalent continuous leave, granted once or in part, within the time period during which the employee is entitled to part-time for the care of the child.
- In any other way, the parties agree.
Adoptive and foster parents are entitled to receive the child care leave from the integration of the child in the family and if the child has not completed at the age of 8 years. In the event of divorce, separation, or birth without the marriage of his parents, the leave of care child is received by the working parent, who has custody of the child, unless the parents agree differently.
The leave is granted after joint declarations by the parents to their employer or employers as to which parent will use the leave or, in case they agree to share it, with notification of the specific time periods that each of them will use part of the license. Employers are required to provide employees with relevant certificates. The carer’s leave is paid and is considered working time.
In the case of part-time employment, care leave is granted, in proportion to the daily working time. Law 4808 of 2021, Art 37.
All employees who have completed 6 months of continuous service or 6 months of the fixed-term employment contract are entitled to take carer leaves to care for another person. Such leave can last up to 5 unpaid working days in a calendar year.
Employee who is a working parent or carer is entitled to be absent from work for up to 2 times a year and up to 1 working day day at a time, for reasons of force majeure associated with urgent family matters in the event of illness, or accident which necessitates immediate action in the presence of the employee. The illness or accident of the child or person, is confirmed by a medical opinion from a hospital or attending physician.
In the event of marriage or entering into a cohabitation agreement, a paid leave of 6 working days is granted, if the employee is employed with a 6-day weekly work system and 5 working days if employed with a 5-day weekly work system. This leave does not count towards the employee’s normal annual leave. Law 4808 of 2021, Art 39.
Working parents, full-time or part-time, of a child, up to 18 years of age attending elementary school or secondary education, as well as parents of a child with special needs, regardless of the age of the child attending a special education structure are entitled to unpaid absence for certain hours or the whole day, from their work, up to the completion of 4 working days, each calendar year, on purpose to attend their children’s school.
The leave is granted after joint declarations of the parents responsible for the content to their employer or employers, about which of the two parents will make use of the leave or, if they agree to share it, for the disclosure of the specific periods of time that each of them will use part of the license. Employers are required to provide employees with relevant certificates. Law 4808 of 2021, Art 38.
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 to 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 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. Law Promoting Employment, No. 2874 of 2000.
A full-time or part-time employee may, by personally written agreement with the employer, take unpaid leave for a period not exceeding one (1) year, which may be extended by a newer agreement of the parties. Law 4808 of 2021, Art 62.
To be eligible for sickness benefit employee must be insured: Sickness Benefit amount is claimed via insurance:
- for at least 120 days in the year preceding the illness (100 days for those working in the construction industry) or for the first 12 months of the 15 preceding illnesses, or
- for at least 300 days during the 2 years or 27 months of the 30 years preceding the illness, or
- for at least 1,500 days, 600 of which during the last 5 years prior to disability due to the same illness, or
- for 4,500 days before the declaration of illness.
One working day corresponds to one insurance day. The days of paid annual leave are the business days.
Amount of allowance: the amount of the allowance you pay depends on your earnings during the last 30 days of the previous year.
In particular, during the first 15 days of each year’s subsidy, you are only entitled to 50% of the daily sickness benefit of your insurance category/class, which is based on your earnings during the last days of the previous year, plus a 10% for each protected member. After the 15 days have elapsed you will receive the full amount. The exceptions are craftsmen-builders, who receive 50% of the proven wage of their insurance class.
Medical Certificate – The certificate should state the nature of the illness or injury, the expected duration of the illness, and the recommended period of absence from work. The employee should inform their employer of their illness and provide the medical certificate within three days of the onset of their illness. Emergency Law, No. 190 of 1967, art. 5. Emergency Law, No. 190 of 1967, art. 5.
Reduced working hours for parents of children with a disability
Working parents in a workplace with at least 50 employees who have children with a mental, emotional, or physical disability, which are certified with a medical opinion, have the independent right for every child to ask for a reduction of their working hours by 1 hour per day, with a corresponding reduction in their salaries. Law 4808 of 2021, Art 41.
Leave due to a child’s illness or another dependent member
Working parents have an individual and non-transferable right, at their request, to leave without pay not exceeding 6 working days every calendar year, in case of illness-dependent children or other family members. This leave may be taken as a single or partial amount of 8 working days if the beneficiary protects 2 children and 14 working days if it protects more than two.
The meaning of the terms “dependent children or other family members” in need of care or support includes:
- Children up to 16 years of age, natural or adopted, as long as the parents have custody of them.
- Children over 16 years of age who have a proven need for special care, for reasons of serious or chronic illness, or disability, as long as the parents have custody of them.
- The spouse, if for reasons of acute, serious, or chronic illness or disability the employee cannot take care of themselves.
- Parents and unmarried brothers and sisters who, for reasons of acute, serious or chronic illness or disability or age, cannot support themselves, provided that the employee has their care and their annual income is not greater than the annual income of daily wage of an unskilled worker who is paid at the general lower limit of daily wages in force each time, calculated at 25 daily wages per month.
Law 4808 of 2021, Art 42.
Leave due to serious illnesses of children
Working parents are entitled to a special parental leave, lasting 10 working days per year, with pay, for addressing the needs of children up to 18 years of age, with a rare disease requiring blood transfusions or its derivatives or dialysis, with neoplastic disease or requiring transplantation or children, regardless of their age, with a heavy mental deprivation or DOWN syndrome or autism. Law 4808 of 2021, Art 43.
Leave due to hospitalization of children
Working parents are entitled to a special parental leave without pay, in case of hospitalization of the child, regardless of his age, due to illness or accident which necessitates the immediate presence of an employee, for as long as the treatment lasts and in any case not more than 30 working days per year. Law 4808 of 2021, Art 44.
Leave for single-parent families
Working parents, who have been widowed and unmarried parent who has the sole custody of a child, are entitled to paid leave of 6 working days per year. An employee with 3 children or more, is entitled to paid leave 8 working days per year. Law 4808 of 2021, Art 45.