Greek to follow six-day workweek; unions unhappy

The Parliament voted in favour of the new labour law amidst protests from trade unions and opposition


Workers in Greek will soon be working for six days a week with flexible working hours. The Parliament of the country has given its nod to the new labour law that introduces the same.

The majority, that is, 158 out of the 300 legislators voted for the law, while the rest voted against this reform.

The law, it is hoped will give a push to employment, in general, and will help tackle undeclared work and also offer flexibility. It will permit full-time workers to even take up a part-time side hustle if they so wish, for only up to five hours a day, over and above the regular eight hours of work with the present employer. If workers choose to, they can even work up to 13 hours a day. That is, 65 hours in a week, equivalent to five-day workweek, or 78 hours a week, equivalent to a six-day week. This increases the fear of the six-day workweek becoming common. More so, because the country does not have any rules for labour inspection or monitoring.

It is now possible for employers to put new entrants on probation for up to six months and let them go in the first year without any compensation or notice, unless the work agreement says otherwise.

Those who keep workers from working will face punishment as per Greek labour law. That means, those who do not allow workers to fulfil their duties or go to work during strikes or protests will be fined or required to pay a penalty. The fine could go up to $5,349. This leads to a fear of union activities / strikes being considered criminal.

Workers can be made to work on a Saturday or Sunday against payment of an additional forty per cent of the daily wage for the sixth work day.

Employers can now call employees 24 hours in advance and request them to show up to work. This, according to unions is nothing but a diluted form of the eight-hour work day and five-day work week as it does not encourage breaks or weekends in any way.

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