Greece is officially known as the Hellenic Republic and is located in south-eastern Europe. The official language is Greek, although several other languages are spoken throughout the country. Significant Greek industries include tourism and shipping. Recent demand for international maritime transportation between south-eastern Europe and Asia has resulted in significant investment in the Greek shipping industry.
There is no requirement for employment contracts in Greece to be in writing except for certain specific cases, such as contracts for part-time work. However, even if there is no written contract, the employer must provide a document which identifies the employer and employee, employee’s place of work, employee’s position and duties, the date employment will commence, paid leaves, severance, wages, time of payment and working hours. The document must state whether the employee is working on a fixed-term or an indefinite term and identify any collective labor agreement which defines working conditions. Employers may perform background checks on job candidates regarding information that is necessary to evaluate the candidate’s skills and suitability for the job.
The standard workweek is 40 hours across five days. Employers and employees may agree on a six-day workweek of up to 48 hours. Employers may ask adult employees to work one hour of overtime per day, with the employee being paid an overtime rate of 120% of their basic rate for the additional hour. The workweek may not exceed an average of 48 hours, including overtime, over a four-month period. Special rules may apply in certain sectors. Evening work is between 10 pm and 6 am. It is paid at 125% of the basic rate and capped at eight hours per day.
Employees who have worked for their employer for up to four years are entitled to one month of sick leave. Employees with four to 10 years of service are entitled to three months of sick leave, those with 10 to 15 years of service receive four months, and employees who have worked for their employer for more than 15 years receive six months of sick leave. An employee who is on sick leave for up to three days is paid at 50% of their salary by the employer. For longer sick leaves, the employee can collect full pay for 15 days in the first year of working for an employer, or for 30 days if the employee has worked for the employer for more than one year. The employee may become eligible for a government payment beginning on the fourth day, in which case the amount the employer pays is reduced by the amount of the government benefit.
Female employees receive 17 weeks of paid maternity leave, eight weeks before the expected date of birth and nine weeks after the birth. The mother receives full pay for 15 days if she has worked for her employer for less than one year and for one month if she has been employed for more than one year. Fathers receive two days of paternity leave and may take additional leave if the mother works and does not use the leave she is entitled to. Employees may not be terminated while on maternity leave or for 18 months after the birth unless the employer demonstrates a compelling reason and satisfies increased formal requirements. Parents are also entitled to unpaid parental leave of at least four months, beginning when maternity leave ends, until the child turns six years old. In addition, they may take up to six unpaid days per year to care for a sick child under the age of 16. An additional 10 days of paid leave is available for parents with children who have certain diseases or neurological disorders and parents may take up to 30 days of unpaid leave if a child is hospitalized.
Employees in Greece are entitled to a monthly minimum wage. Bonuses are very common. Normally a month’s wages are paid at Christmas, half a month’s wages at Easter and a vacation bonus of two weeks’ wages, often paid as summer begins.
Employees become eligible for vacation when they have worked for an employer for one year. Employees who work five days per week receive 20 days of leave, employees who work six days per week receive 24 days. Beginning with the second year working for an employer, employees also accrue one additional day of leave per year of service, up to 22 days for employees who work five days per week or 26 days for employees who work six days per week. Employees who have worked for the same employer for 10 years receive 25 days, and employees who have been employed for 12 years (whether with one employer or multiple employers) are entitled to 30 days.
Employees in Greece are eligible to receive healthcare through the National Health System. They must obtain an identification number from the government social insurance agency (AKMA) and then register with the Greek National Organization for Healthcare Services Provision (EOPYY). Many people in Greece also purchase private health insurance to cover medical care through private doctors, clinics and hospitals.
To terminate an employee on an indefinite contract, an employer must provide a written notice of termination, and the employee must have been registered with the Unified Social Security Fund (EFKA). The employer is not required to provide a reason. The first year of an indefinite contract is a probation period, during which the employee may be terminated at any time without advance notice. Employees on indefinite contracts with more than one year’s service are entitled to notice of one to four months depending on length of service. Fixed-term employment contracts may only be terminated before expiration for a significant reason, such as serious employee misconduct or abusive conduct by the employer. Either the employer or the employee may terminate the contract immediately if there is a significant reason, and the employer is not required to pay any compensation. The employer is not required to pay severance if an employee’s fixed-term contract is terminated before expiration for a significant reason. For employees on an indefinite contract, severance is paid to employees with at least one year of service. The amount of severance is based on the length of the employee’s service and ranges from one to six months of wages. The severance payment is doubled if the employer does not provide the required notice.
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