Greece

Currency CurrencyEuro (EUR) Working Time Work Week40 hours Employer Taxes Employer Taxes 22.54%

Hire in Greece

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Especially in sectors such as statistics, maths, science and engineering, Greece offers international employers a large pool of skilled workers. The country’s academic tradition still continues till today and enrolment rates in tertiary education are among the highest in Europe, with many young people leaving university with a master’s degree or a PhD in their pocket.

As an aftereffect of the financial crisis the country has been through in recent years, Greece’s unemployment rate is still over 20%. Given the poor local job perspectives, a large part of the country’s highly skilled workforce is available for employment by international companies which will usually find the costs of employment relatively cheap.

Basic Facts about Greece

  1. official state name Hellenic Republic
  2. capital Athens
  3. population 10.7 million
  4. language Greek
  5. currency Euro (EUR)
  6. time zone UTC +2
  1. Show public holidays
    01 Jan New Year
    06 Jan Epiphany
    15 Mar Shrove Monday
    25 Mar Independence Day
    30 Apr Orthodox Good Friday
    01 May Labour Day
    02 May Orthodox Easter Sunday
    03 May Orthodox Easter Monday
    20 Jun Orthodox Whit Sunday
    21 Jun Orthodox Whit Monday
    15 Aug Assumption Day
    28 Oct Ochi Day (National Day)
    25 Dec Christmas Day
    26 Dec Boxing Day

Employment Contract

As there is no legal requirement for companies to set up a proper employment contract, employers also have the option to simply provide their new employees with a written statement outlining the terms of the employment agreement which must include the following details:

  • Identification of both parties 
  • Date of commencement (and employment duration for temporary contracts) 
  • Place(s) of work
  • Job description such as group of profession 
  • Base salary as well as other compensation or benefits
  • Working hours 
  • Total number of holidays
  • Notice periods for employment termination
  • Reference to collective agreements

There are no rules and regulations regarding the form in which the above mentioned information is to be provided but it must be made available to the new employee within the first two months of employment. Greek labour law generally distinguishes between fixed-term and permanent employment contracts.

Probation Period

Under a permanent employment agreement, the initial probation period for a new employee can extend to up to twelve months. During probation, the employment may be terminated by either employee or employer without any prior notice and without any obligation for the employer to provide severance pay.

Working time

Working Hours and Breaks

A normal work week in Greece is 40 hours, i.e. a five-day week with eight daily hours. In some industries, a six-day work week may be possible as long as the employee’s weekly working time does not exceed the legal maximum of 48 hours.

Rest periods are regulated as follows:

  • at least twelve hours of consecutive rest for each 24-hour period
  • after six hours of consecutive work, the employee is entitled to a rest break of at least 15 minutes
  • employees must have a consecutive rest period of at least 24 hours per week which is usually on Sunday

Overtime

The first five hours exceeding the standard 40-hour week are not officially considered overtime. Instead, Greek labour law applies the notion of ‘extra work’ and rules that compensation for these extra hours must be 20% higher than the employee’s usual hourly wage. 

Any work performed beyond 45 hours in one week is officially recognised as overtime and requires special authorisation. The compensation rate depends on the exact number of hours worked in addition to the employee’s usual weekly working time: Employees who deliver up to 120 hours of authorised overtime work get paid at a rate of 140% of their usual wages. Beyond 120 hours, the compensation rate goes up to 160%.

Payroll

It is common practice to pay employees in Greece at least once a month. Payments are usually issued by the end of the month.

Minimum Wage

As of 2021, the minimum wage in Greece amounts to EUR 758.30 per month which equals an annual income of EUR 9,100.

Sick Pay

Sick leave entitlements and sick pay in Greece depend on the employee’s length of service: While employees in their first year only receive sick pay equal to a maximum of half a month’s wages, employees who have been working for the company for more than one year are entitled to up to a full month’s salary in case of sickness.

During the first three days of sickness-related absence from work, employees receive 50% of their usual wages which will be paid by the employer. From the fourth day onwards, they are compensated by the Greek Social Insurance Institute (IKA). 

As for sick leave entitlements, the following rules apply:

Length of service Length of sick leave
< 4 years 1 month
4 – 10 years 3 months
10 – 15 years 4 months
> 15 years 6 months

It is worth noting that employees are not protected from dismissal in case of long-term sickness, i.e. sickness periods exceeding the above stated maximum sick leave days.

Bonuses

Bonus payments in Greece inlcude a 13th and 14th salary. Greek employees are officially entitled to an extra month of pay at Easter, half a month’s pay at Christmas and another half a month’s salary paid on the occasion of their annual vacation.

Taxes and Social Security Contribution

Employees and employers in Greece are subject to the following tax and social security contribution rates (as of 2021):

taxes
employers

24% corporate tax rate

24% VAT (standard rate)

employees

individual income tax rates range from 9% to 44% *

solidarity surcharge between 2% and 10% on income exceeding EUR 30,000 *

social security
employers

22.54% of employee’s gross salary including:

13.33% pension fund

4.55% health insurance

contributions to various additional social security funds

employees

14.12% of employee’s gross salary including:

6.67% pension fund

2.55% health insurance

the rest goes to various additional social security funds

Read more

Individual income tax rates: 

– up to EUR 10,000: 9%

EUR 10,001 – EUR 20,000: 22%

– EUR 20,001 – EUR 30,000: 28%

– EUR 30,001 – EUR 40,000: 36%

– over EUR 40,001: 44%

Solidarity surcharge:

– Up to EUR 30,000: 0%

– EUR 30,001 – EUR 40,000: 2%

– EUR 40,001 – EUR 65,000: 5%

– EUR 65,001 – EUR 220,000: 9%

– over EUR 220,001: 10%

Employee Benefits

Annual Leave

Employees in Greece who work a normal five-day week are entitled to 20 days of paid annual leave – 24 days for those with a six-day week. With an increasing length of service, employees also receive more vacation days:

  • second year of service: +1 day
  • third year of service: +1 day
  • after ten years of service: 25 days of annual leave – i.e. 30 for those working a six-day week

In addition, the country observes a total of fourteen public holidays – including Easter Sunday and Whit Sunday. Employees who have to work on a public holiday are to be paid at a rate of 175%. 

Maternity Leave and Paternity Leave

Female employees who are expecting a baby are allowed to take 17 weeks of paid maternity leave – eight weeks before and nine weeks after birth. While the employer is obligated to pay the employee during the first month, the rest of maternity leave is covered by EFKA, the Unified Social Security Fund, at a rate of 50% of the employee’s usual salary.

Thereafter, mothers can claim six additional months of maternity leave during which they receive the statutory minimum wage paid by Greece’s Labour Employment Office. Alternatively, the employee can demand to reduce daily working time by one hour for 30 months after her child’s birth in order to nurse her baby. 

Fathers may take two days of paid leave on their child’s birth.

Parental Leave

Mothers and fathers can go on unpaid parental leave until their children are three and a half years old. Furthermore, parents have the right to claim four days of paid leave per child each year to check on their offsprings’ school performance.

Additional Leave and Benefits

Further employee benefits in Greece include five days of paid marriage leave and two days of leave in case of the death of a close friend or family member. 

During elections, employers have to grant one to three days of leave to employees who have to undertake a longer journey in order to reach the closest polling station. Those employees who have completed at least one year of service are further entitled to education and study leave when they have to prepare for an exam.

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Employment termination

Employers who are planning on dismissing an employee only have to respect a notice period if the employment is based on an indefinite contract. Fixed-term employment may be terminated at any moment without prior notice on presentation of a justified reason including a proven violation of the labour agreement, the employee’s constant underperformance and others. In this case, the employee has no right to any severance pay

When terminating an employee hired under a permanent contract, employers need to observe the following minimum notice periods:

Length of Service Minimum Notice Period
1 – 2 years 1 month
2 – 5 years 2 months
5 – 10 years 3 months
> 10 years 4 months

For dismissed employees who are subject to an indefinite employment agreement and who are not dismissed because of misconduct or for similar personal reasons, the amount of severance pay depends on their years of service: While employees who are dismissed during their first year at the company do not receive any severance pay, long-term employees can claim up to twelve months of their normal salary as severance.

Hiring in Greece?

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