July 23, 2021

Measures that expand flexible work arrangements and increase the duration of paid paternity leave feature in labor law reforms that mostly took effect on 19 Jun 2021. The reforms aim to modernize Greece’s labor regulations and increase economic competitiveness, though they are strongly opposed by labor unions. 

Working time

  • Employees can request to work up to 10 hours per day and offset the additional hours worked against another working day. The maximum permitted weekly working time is unchanged at 40 hours, calculated over a five- or six-day work schedule.
  • The annual overtime cap has increased to 150 hours, up from 120 hours.
  • From 1 Jan 2022, employees’ working time will be recorded in real time on a Digital Work Card that allows authorities to monitor employers’ compliance with working-time laws. Ministerial decisions will provide more details about the digital card.
  • Employees may carry over some of their annual leave to the following calendar year, but must take half of their annual leave between 1 May and 1 September. 

Work-life balance

Different leave arrangements, some of which implement European Union legislation, are included in the law:

  • Fathers may take up to 14 days of employer-paid paternity leave — up from two days — upon the birth or adoption of a child.
  • Eligible employees who are caregivers, or who have children up to age 12, can request to work flexibly. This includes telework arrangements on a permanent or temporary basis and other flexible work patterns.
  • Employees with six months of service can take five days of caregivers’ leave annually to care for a relative or other person with serious medical conditions, if that person lives with the employee and requires significant care or support.
  • The amount of parental leave remains at four months for each parent but social security payments — equivalent to the minimum wage — will be paid for the first two months.
  • Working parents with children up to age 18 who are still in school may take up to four working days annually to check on their child’s progress at school. 

Remote working

Revised remote working arrangements allow employers to impose remote working if there is a public health emergency, or if remote working is required to protect an employee’s health and safety. Remote workers now have the right to disconnect outside of their normal working hours, and are protected from discrimination for exercising this right. Employers can restrict remote workers’ use of work equipment or the network, stipulate the applicable health and safety rules, and monitor remote workers’ performance (but are prohibited from using web cameras).  

Prevention of violence and harassment at work

Employers with 20 or more employees must consult with employee representatives about an internal policy aimed at preventing harassment and violence, establish a system for managing internal complaints about harassment and violence, and introduce an equal opportunities policy. A ministerial decision will publish templates for these policies.

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Theodosios Anagnostopoulos
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Senior Analyst, Marsh

Thanasis Antonopoulos
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Analyst, Mercer

Fiona Webster
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Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

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