Greece to introduce six-day work week starting July 1
Greece to introduce six-day work week starting July 1
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Greece to introduce six-day work week starting July 1

From July 1, Greece will become the first EU country to implement a six-day work week, extending the standard work week to 41 hours.

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This new provision, part of the recent labour law overhaul, will apply to public sector entities, public utilities, banks, and private businesses currently operating on a five-day work schedule.

The initiative aims to resolve scheduling challenges faced by businesses with continuous or 24-hour operations. These businesses have struggled with productivity under the current system, leading many workers to resort to undeclared labour. Under the new regulations, employees working on the sixth day will receive 40% extra pay, with a 115% increase if the shift falls on a holiday.

The six-day work week will primarily affect industries and companies that operate continuously, such as those with uninterrupted production lines. According to the Capital.gr portal, "This measure was adopted to meet emergency staffing needs in sectors during periods of intensified production." Additionally, companies without continuous production but that could benefit from uninterrupted work—such as industrial-manufacturing enterprises and those in the tourism sector—can also implement the new law.

Government employees, including administrators, teachers, lecturers, and bank staff, will be exempt from the six-day work week. These roles do not fall under the category of continuously operating businesses.

Employers who opt for a six-day work week must inform employees of the change at least 24 hours before the next shift. To encourage workers, the government has stipulated increased pay rates: a Saturday shift will yield an additional 40% of the daily wage, while work on a holiday will earn a 75% bonus.

Businesses intending to adopt the six-day work week must declare their eligibility through the PS ERGANI II system. Employment on the additional day is capped at eight hours, with no overtime permitted. Employers must also log working hours in the work time organisation declaration before shifts commence.

Non-continuous businesses can utilise the sixth day during periods of unpredictably increased workload by declaring the situation to the PS ERGANI II system in advance. The Labour Inspectorate will oversee compliance with these regulations.

Despite this change, Greeks already work more hours than most Europeans. In 2022, the average weekly working hours in the EU were 37.5, compared to 41 hours in Greece. Poland (40.4), Romania, and Bulgaria (40.2) followed.

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