Table of Contents

Greece

Table of Contents

Currency

Euro (EUR)

Payroll Frequency

Monthly

Employer Taxes

23.33% - 24.74%

About Greece

Long considered the cradle of Western civilization, Greece is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. It is also recognized as the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy and literature, the Olympic games, as well as major scientific and mathematical principles. With Alexander the Great who conquered much of the ancient world, from the eastern Mediterranean to India, Greek language and culture, even under the Roman empire, dominated the world during the late B.C. and early A.D. years.

The modern nation of Greece is a unitary parliamentary republic with an advanced economy, a high quality of life and standard of living. As a member of the European Union, it is the largest economy in the Balkans. Its demographics comprise of a population of over 10 million people, but with a rapidly declining birth rate and increasing mortality rate.

It is one of the most mountainous countries in the area, although it is surrounded by the Aegean and Mediterranean seas along its peninsulas. It features a number of islands with Crete being the largest and most populous. Greece has a highly desirable climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers, attracting millions of global vacationers every year eager to experience its beautiful scenery and blue waters.

Employment Relationship

• Permanent Employment

Greece's labor law defines permanent employment as an open-ended contract that may be terminated only by legal procedures, resignation, dismissal, or retirement. In indefinite term contracts, the first 12 months can be considered trial period. Indefinite term contracts can be terminated at any time by either party by giving a notice. Employees who work with the same employer for more than 1 year are entitled to severance pay at the time of termination.

• Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

Greece's labor law defines a fixed-term employee as a worker whose employment contract has an end-date determined by an objective condition. Fixed-term contracts can be signed for a maximum duration of 3 years. There is no limit on the number of renewals, provided there is a justifiable reason. The contract does not lose its character as a fixed term even when its duration is not expressly defined, but it follows from its type and purpose regarding the execution of a certain project, in which case it is to last until the completion of the project and is terminated after that. It is not mandatory to conclude a fixed-term contract in writing. A fixed-term employee in Greece enjoys the same rights as an employee on an open-ended contract, except for severance benefits. If an employee continues working for the same establishment even after the termination of a fixed-term contract, the employment relationship would be considered to have been renewed and transformed into an open-ended contract. Fixed-term contracts terminate automatically upon the expiration of the agreed duration, without requiring any statement or other action from the parties.

• Temporary Employment Contratcs

According to Greece's labor law, employers can hire temporary workers through Temporary Employment Companies for a limited period of time for exceptional, temporary, or seasonal needs. Temporary Employment Companies in Greece have the same rights and obligations as those of employers. A contract of employment must be established between employees and the Temporary Employment Company. Temporary employees are entitled to the same rights as those who are considered permanent. Organizations are prohibited from hiring temporary workers to replace those who exercise their right to strike or to replace employees dismissed due to economic redundancy. Temporary staff must be informed of vacancies at their third-party employer so that they may be provided the same opportunities as other company employees to be employed in permanent jobs. A general announcement can make information on permanent job openings available in a visible and accessible place in the company workplace where the temporary employee provides their services (their third-party employer). 

Probationary Period

Greece's labor law provides that the probationary period established within the framework of an employment contract of indefinite duration cannot exceed 12 months. In case of fixed-term contracts, it must be proportionate to its expected duration and the nature of the work and it cannot exceed a quarter of the agreed total duration of employment and in any case may not exceed 6 months. Unless the employer and employee agree otherwise, employment contracts can be terminated without notice or severance during the probationary period. However, an employee may still have recourse if they are dismissed unfairly. 

Working Hours

Greece's legal weekly working hours were set at 45 hours on a 5-day work week and 48 hours on a 6-day working week system. The legal daily hours were set at 9 hours, while during the 6-day period, it remained at 8 hours. Employees working greater than this number of hours are eligible for overtime. Including overtime, an employee's working hours must not exceed 45 hours per week for employees on a 5-day workweek and 48 hours per week for employees on a 6-day workweek. The weekly working time of the employees may not exceed 48 hours on average over 4 months, including overtime. Minors below the age of 16 years, or minors who are still at school, cannot be employed for more than 6 hours per day or 30 hours a week. Persons between the ages of 16 and 17 cannot work for more than 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week. The minimum rest period in any 24-hour period must be at least 11 uninterrupted hours. Employees are, per each 7-day period, entitled to a minimum uninterrupted rest period of 24 hours. Telework must be agreed upon between employer and employee upon hiring or by amending the employment contract. Telework can also apply for reasons of public health protection or upon the employee's request in the event of a documented risk to their health.

Holidays / PTO

• Statutory Holidays

New Year Day – January 1; Epiphany Day – January 6; Shrove Monday – Date variable; Annunciation Day – March 25; Good Friday – Date variable; Easter Sunday and Monday – Dates variable; Labor Day – May 1; Assumption Day – August 15; National Day – October 28; Christmas Day – December 25; Boxing Day – December 26.

• Paid Annual Leave

In Greece, every employee on a fixed-term or a permanent contract is entitled to annual paid leave from the beginning of their employment. This leave is to be granted by the employer on a pro-rata basis, depending on how long that employer has employed the employee. The proportion is calculated based on 20 working days’ leave for a 5-working-day week or 24 working days’ leave for a 6-working-day week, corresponding to 12 months’ continuous employment. The employer must grant the employee the correct proportion of the above regular leave by the end of the first calendar year in which the employee was hired. During the second calendar year, the employee is entitled to take regular paid annual leave in portions, according to the length of service. During leave, the employee is entitled to their normal pay and benefits. Leave is increased by 1 working day for each year of employment, beyond the first year, up to 26 working days or up to 22 days if the employee operates on a 5-working-day week basis. During the third and subsequent calendar years, the employee is entitled to take all their annual leave at any time during the year.

• Sick Leave

Greece's labor law grants employees monthly, long-term sick leave for a maximum of six months, as follows: 1 month for employees who have worked for up to 4 years 3 months for employees who have worked for more than 4 years, but less than 10 years 4 months for employees who have worked for more than 10 years, but less than 15 years 6 months for employees who have worked for more than 15 years In addition to this, employees are also entitled to short-term unpaid sick leave for up to 8 days per year. A medical certificate is required for an employee to take more than 2 continuous leave days. The sickness benefit is 50% of the salary of the employees. The employer must pay at least half of the wages for the first three days of sick leave. The Social Security Institute of Greece is responsible for paying the rest of the benefits.

• Maternity Leave

According to Greek labor law, the duration of maternity leave is set at 17 weeks for private-sector employees. Of this 17 week period, 8 weeks must be granted to the worker before confinement and 9 weeks after confinement. If the worker gives birth prematurely, the remaining maternity leave is to be granted after confinement, so that the maternity leave amounts to a total of 17 weeks. During maternity leave, employees are paid 100% of earnings by the state social insurance fund, up to a cap set by the social insurance fund. To receive full maternity benefits, the mother must have worked 200 working days during the previous 2 years. After the basic maternity leave, mothers are entitled to another special leave of 6 months, during which time the state will provide a benefit equal to the statutory minimum wage.

• Paternity Leave

Greek labor law grants male employees a paid paternity leave of 14 days upon their child's birth. This leave is granted in whole or in part according to the employee's request as follows: either a) the employee receives 2 days leave before the expected date of delivery, in order to meet the needs associated with pregnancy and childbirth, in which case in this case, the remaining 12 days are granted, in whole or in part, directly due to the birth of the child, within 30 days from the date of birth, or b) all the days of leave after the date of birth are granted. Every working father is entitled to leave, without any conditions and regardless of his marital status.

Termination of Employment

• Notice Period

According to Greek labor law, the first 12 months of an indefinite employment agreement, counted from the date on which the agreement comes into force, are considered to be a probationary period. During this period, either party may terminate the employment relationship without notice and without severance pay, unless otherwise agreed by the parties. After the first 12 months, the employer must give the following notice period before the termination of the employment contract: One month's notice period to employees paid monthly with one year to two years of service Two months' notice period to those with two to five years of service Three months' notice period to those with five to ten years of service Four months' notice period to those with more than ten years of service An employer who gives an employee written notice according to the above pays only half of the statutory severance pay due to the dismissed employee. A notice period is not required for fixed-term contracts.

• Severance Benefits

According to Greek labor law, an employer can terminate an indefinite employment agreement of more than 12 months by giving the employee prior written notice. Specific periods of notice between 1 and 4 months are required, depending on the employee's length of service with the employer (see the "Notice of Dismissal" section for more information). In the case of indefinite employment agreements terminated by the employer, the severance pay is calculated depending on the length of service with the employer. For employees who complete 17 years in service with the same employer, an additional compensation is paid that increases by 1 monthly salary for each additional year of service up to 12 monthly salaries, provided the monthly salary does not exceed EUR 2,000.  In case of dismissal (for any reason, including redundancies) of a blue-collar worker, severance pay varies according to the length of service, from five days to 165 days' wages, regardless of whether the employer complies with the statutory period of notice.