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Country Introduction – Greece
Capital – Athens
Currency – Euro
GDP – $222.008 billion (nominal, 2022 est.)
People/Nationality – Greek
Language – Greek
Major Religion – Greek Orthodox Church
Population – 10,384,971 (2022)
As of 2021, Greece is the sixteenth-largest economy in the European Union. According to the International Monetary Fund’s figures for 2022, Greece’s GDP per capita is $20,876 at nominal value and $36,466 at purchasing power parity. $222.008 billion (nominal, 2022 est.)
Greece’s main industries are tourism, shipping, industrial products, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products, mining and petroleum. Greece’s GDP growth has also an average, since the early 1990s been higher than the EU average.
The job market is a difficult hurdle to overcome for expats in Greece since there are not many multinational corporations operating in English. Having said that, the Greek government still encourages foreigners to work in the country, particularly in international corporations or the tourism industry. Greece seems to be on a growth path and prospects are good for anyone looking to live in it, and although it may be challenging, it is not impossible to get a steady job in Greece.
Whether you are up for a job opportunity, a tourist on vacation or a foreigner seeking to live in Greece, life in Greece brings something for everyone, including affordable lodging, friendly inhabitants, a beautiful climate all-year-round, amazing food, and rich history. With the warm embrace of the Aegean Sea, this country is full of surprises – such as being the world’s earliest democracy, dating back to the 5th century BC.
Contract of Employment
Under the Labor Code (Presidential Decree 156/1994), employers must notify their employers of the material terms of the contract in writing. Presidential Decree 156/1994 (Government Gazette, Series I, No.102), provides for the employer’s obligation to inform the worker about the terms governing the employment contract or relationship and applies for every worker connected with his employer with a dependant employment contract or relationship.
The provisions of the Presidential Decree do not apply to workers whose total duration of employment does not exceed one month and to workers in non-systematic agricultural employment.
The maximum probationary period is 12 months. During that time, the employer may terminate the employment agreement without severance.
For the first 12 months, an open-ended employment contract can be terminated without notice or severance pay. Thereafter, the employer is entitled to decide whether the employee will be dismissed with or without notice. If termination is carried out by the employer without notice, the employee will be entitled to full indemnity compensation.
Should the employer choose to terminate the employment contract with a notice period, the following guidelines must be followed:
|0 to 12 months (Probation)
|No notice required
|12 months to 2 years
|2 to 5 years
|5 to 10 years
|More than 10 years
The normal statutory working week is 40 hours which may be broken down into five-day or six-day weekly work, in accordance with the provisions in force, the collective agreements, or arbitral awards. When the daily working time exceeds four consecutive hours, a break of 15 minutes and a maximum of 30 minutes is granted
Overtime should not exceed 3 hours per day and 150 hours per year. If the lawful overtime is till the 150 hours per year, a premium overtime rate of 40% is paid other than the of the normal wage rate.
Any hour of overtime performed over the permissible legal overtime is declared to be illegal overtime and the employee gets compensation equal to the hourly wage increased by 120%.
In cases of urgent nature of work, which is deemed absolutely necessary and cannot be postponed, employees are entitled to a premium of 60% on the regular rate of pay.
13th Month Pay
There is no statutory requirement to pay the 13th or 14th month salary. However, it is customary for Christmas, Easter and vacation leave allowance to be paid.
During the first year of employment, annual leave is granted by the employer on a pro-rata basis in proportion to the length of time the employee has been employed by that employee based on 20 working days. Employees with more years of service with the same employer get more annual leave days.
Full-time employees get 20 days of annual leave a year. This extends to 21 days after 1 year of employment and 22 days after 2 years of employment. Long-serving employees can boost their entitlement to up to 26 days a year.
Unpaid leave must be requested by the employee and is received after the employer’s consent. It is not possible to unilaterally put the employee on unpaid leave.
Sickness absence within set limits depends on the length of service. It is considered to be short-term and cannot be regarded as voluntary employee withdrawal. Sickness should be evidenced by a doctor’s certificate.
|Years of service
|Sick leave duration
|Up to 4 years
|Up to 1 month
|4 to 10 years
|More than 10 years
Maternity and Paternity Leave
Basic leave: 17 weeks. Eight weeks must be taken before birth and nine weeks after birth. It is obligatory to take the full amount of leave.
Special leave: six months, granted after basic Maternity leave and before the beginning of the use of flexible working (reduced hours of daily work).
Mothers have the right to reduce working hours (by one hour per day for 2.5 years, or by two hours for one year and one hour for six months, or the equivalent).
The employer pays full earnings for 15 days (if the employee has been attached to the employer for at least 10 days to one year) or earnings up to one month (if employed for more than a year). The Social Security Fund pays 50% of the standard wage corresponding to the insurance contribution class of the insured person plus the child benefit at a rate of 10% of the above amount for each child for the rest of the maternity leave.
Every working father is entitled to 14 working days of paternity leave with remuneration, which must be taken in relation to childbirth.
This leave may either be granted two days before the expected date of birth, in which case the remaining 12 are granted, in whole or in part, within 30 days from the date of birth. Paternity leave may also be granted after the date of birth. During paternity leave, the employee receives a full wage from the employer.
VAT / GST:
The standard VAT rate is 24% (applicable to all goods and services that are not subject to the reduced or super-reduced VAT rate, which are explicitly enumerated in the law).
As of 2022, a Greek individual is taxed at a rate of 9%-44%. Exemptions are granted to taxpayers with specific types of income.
Employer/ Employee Contributions
Social security contributions are to be granted on an employee’s salary, and with-held to be paid by the employer every month. As of 2021, typical social contributions rates are 36.66% – 14.12% is the employee’s contribution, and 22.54% is the employer’s contribution.
Public holidays in Greece comprise of a mixture of religious, national and regional or provincial observances. The following national holidays are celebrated:
January 1 – New Year’s Day
January 6 – Epiphany
February – Orthodox Ash Monday
March 25 – Independence Day
April – Orthodox Good Friday
April – Orthodox Easter Sunday
April – Orthodox Easter Monday
May 1 – Labor Day
June – Orthodox Whit Sunday
June – Orthodox Whit Monday
August 15 – Assumption Day
October 28 – Ochi Day
December 25 – Christmas Day
December 26 – 2nd Day of Christmas
In addition to these national holidays, there are also various provincial holidays which employees enjoy depending on where they reside.
The holiday cannot be carried forward to the next year, the days should be taken by the employee or reimbursed at the end of the year.
From 1 year to 4 years’ severance pay of 1 month is due if the employer complies with the statutory period of notice. A severance pay of 2 months is due, If the employer does not comply with the period of notice.
Work and Residence Permits (Expatriates)
Greece has two overarching categories of work visas. Short stay “C” visas and long stay “D” visas. Short stay visas allow people to go through or stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days uninterrupted or 90 days counted in stages over 180 days.
Long stay or D visa allows to enter Greece and apply for a residence permit. Work visas in this category have a maximum validity of a year. Anyone with a D visa must apply for a residence permit immediately after entering the country.