NewsNew six-day workweek in Greece sparks controversy and debate

New six‑day workweek in Greece sparks controversy and debate

They started working six days a week. Revolution in Greece
They started working six days a week. Revolution in Greece
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Jakub Artych

7 July 2024 19:03

The Greek authorities have introduced a mandatory six-day workweek starting on 1 July. This initiative aims to support the struggling economy. Extending working hours will impact the public sector, public utilities, banks, and the private sector.

In recent years, authorities in many countries have begun considering a four-day workweek. In Belgium, a law allowing such a schedule was adopted back in 2022. Similar experimental programmes have been launched in the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, South Africa, and other countries.

Therefore, the Greek authorities' decision to introduce a six-day workweek from 1 July has caused disagreements among labour unions and labour experts. Some have already called the extension of workdays "exploitation" of workers.

Greek politicians assured that the reform would benefit both employees and employers, but most importantly, it would allow the Greek economy to catch up with advanced European countries.

They started working six days a week. What are the changes?

The six-day law in Greece covers private companies, industrial enterprises, and manufacturing plants that provide services 24 hours a day.

According to the new law, employees, at the employer's request, will have to either work two additional hours daily from Monday to Friday, or go to work on Saturday or Sunday.

By working on Saturday, Greek workers will receive a 40 percent premium on their daily wage. If such a shift falls on a Sunday or public holiday, the bonus will be 115 percent.

Employees who have worked six days are also entitled to an additional day off in the following week. According to Greek Minister of Internal Affairs Niki Kerameos, the changes will allow employers to meet "urgent needs" more effectively, and employees to receive guaranteed overtime pay.

It is worth noting that the average working time in Greece in 2023 was 40 hours per week, one of the highest among all EU countries.

Regulations introducing the six-day workweek were adopted in autumn 2023. The Greek government argued at the time that this would reduce under-the-table work. It also pointed out that this measure aims to combat the shortage of skilled workers, which is a problem in both the industry and tourism sectors.

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