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Discover everything you need to know about Greece

Hire in Greece at a glance

Here ares some key facts regarding hiring in Greece

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Overview in Greece

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Greece, located at the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula, is known for its extensive coastline and mountainous terrain, with Mount Olympus as its highest peak. It has a Mediterranean climate and a rich history as the birthplace of democracy, philosophy, and Western literature. After periods of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman rule, Greece gained independence in 1821. The 20th century saw wars and political upheavals, including a military dictatorship.

With a population of about 10.7 million, Greece faces demographic challenges such as an aging population and a low birthrate. It is a developed country with a high-income economy, heavily reliant on tourism, shipping, and agriculture. Greece joined the EU in 1981 and adopted the euro in 2001 but faced a severe debt crisis recently.

Greek culture includes ancient mythology, traditional music and dances, and Greek Orthodox Christianity as the dominant religion. The cuisine features Mediterranean staples like seafood, feta cheese, and olive oil. The workforce is well-educated but faces issues like skill mismatch and high unemployment, particularly among the youth.

The economy is supported by the services sector, with tourism and shipping being significant. Agriculture remains vital in rural areas. Greece values work-life balance, with a strong emphasis on family and social life. Communication is direct, and business relationships are highly valued. The workplace culture respects seniority but is also adapting to global corporate practices.

Taxes in Greece

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In Greece, employers are required to contribute to social security for their employees, covering pension, health, and unemployment insurance, with specific contribution rates and ceilings. Employers must also withhold and remit these contributions along with employee shares to the e-National Social Security Fund (e-EFKA) monthly. Additionally, employers handle income tax withholding and must maintain accurate payroll records.

Employees contribute to the same social security areas, with slightly different rates. There are also additional taxes like the Solidarity Contribution for higher earners, and limited itemized deductions are available for tax returns.

VAT in Greece is generally 24%, with reduced rates for specific services and exemptions for others. Businesses exceeding a €10,000 annual turnover must register for VAT, charge it appropriately, and comply with invoicing and record-keeping requirements.

Greece also offers various tax incentives under its Investment Law, which includes benefits for digital transformation, environmental initiatives, and more, with significant support for investments in less developed areas. Other incentives include tax exemptions for reinvested profits and deductions for angel investors. Businesses are advised to consult with tax professionals to navigate these regulations and maximize potential benefits.

Leave in Greece

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In Greece, vacation leave entitlement varies based on the duration of employment with the current employer. Employees with less than one year of service accrue two days of paid vacation per month. After one year, the entitlement increases to 20 working days, or 24 days for those working a 6-day week. Employees with over 10 years at the same company receive 25 working days, or 30 days for a 6-day week. Unused vacation must be compensated by the employer upon termination of employment. These regulations are the minimum set by Greek labor laws and the National General Collective Labour Agreement, though some contracts may offer more generous terms. Additionally, Greece observes several public holidays, including New Year's Day, Epiphany, Clean Monday, Independence Day, Easter Monday, Labor Day, the Assumption of Mary, Ochi Day, Christmas Day, and the Second Day of Christmas, with some dates varying each year.

Benefits in Greece

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Labor Law Benefits in Greece

Greece's labor laws provide a robust framework of benefits for employees, ensuring their security and well-being. Here are the key components:

  • Paid Leave: Employees are entitled to 20 days of annual leave, paid public holidays, sick leave, 17 weeks of maternity leave, 14 days of paternity leave, and additional unpaid parental leave.
  • Social Security Contributions: Employers and employees contribute to social security, covering pensions, healthcare, unemployment, and disability benefits.
  • Additional Mandatory Benefits: These include notice periods, 13th and 14th-month salary bonuses, and severance pay in case of unjust termination.
  • Health and Wellness: Options like private health insurance and wellness programs are increasingly common.
  • Financial Security: Some employers offer pension plans and life insurance.
  • Work-Life Balance: Flexible work arrangements and childcare assistance are provided to help employees manage their responsibilities.
  • Additional Perks: Benefits such as meal vouchers, transportation allowances, and educational assistance enhance compensation packages.

EFKA: Mandatory Health Insurance

All employees contribute to EFKA, which provides comprehensive healthcare services. Contribution rates vary by sector, with employees and employers both contributing significant percentages of gross salaries.

Retirement Systems in Greece

  • Mandatory State Pension (EFKA): Both parties contribute, with full pension eligibility at 67 years old and 40 years of contributions.
  • The New Individual Defined Contribution (DC) System (TEKA): For new labor market entrants under 35, this system involves contributions to a personal account, with retirement benefits depending on the account balance and total contributions.
  • Supplemental Pension Plans: Employers may offer these plans voluntarily to help employees enhance their retirement savings.

These systems collectively ensure that employees in Greece have access to essential benefits and a degree of financial security in retirement.

Workers Rights in Greece

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Employment Termination in Greece: Legal Framework and Employee Protections

  • Legal Basis: Employment termination in Greece is primarily governed by Law 3198/1955, which balances employer flexibility and employee protection.
  • Lawful Grounds for Dismissal: Employers can dismiss employees for misconduct, incapacity to perform duties, or operational needs like economic cuts.
  • Notice Requirements: Written notice is mandatory, with the duration varying by the employee's tenure and position, ranging from a few days to one year.
  • Severance Pay: Employees terminated for operational reasons are entitled to severance, calculated based on service length and salary.
  • Anti-Discrimination Laws: Law 4443/2016 protects against workplace discrimination on various grounds, including race, age, and sexual orientation.
  • Redress Mechanisms: Victims of discrimination can seek mediation through the Ombudsman, action from the Labor Inspectorate, or pursue civil lawsuits.
  • Employer Responsibilities: Employers must enforce anti-discrimination policies, educate staff, and ensure a culture of inclusion and respect.
  • Work Conditions: Regulations cover standard work hours, rest periods, and ergonomic practices to ensure employee well-being and productivity.
  • Health and Safety Regulations: Law 3818/2010 mandates employers to provide a safe working environment, conduct risk assessments, and offer necessary training and equipment.
  • Enforcement: The Labor Inspectorate oversees compliance with work condition standards and health and safety regulations.

This framework ensures both the protection of employees from unfair dismissal and discrimination, and the support for their health and safety in the workplace.

Agreements in Greece

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In Greece, employment law recognizes various types of employment agreements, each governed by specific regulations:

  • Fixed-Term Contracts: These contracts have a predetermined end date and require written documentation. Renewals are limited and must be justified if they exceed a certain number.

  • Indefinite Contracts: Also known as permanent contracts, these do not have a set end date and offer greater job security.

  • Part-Time Agreements: These involve fewer working hours than full-time positions and can be either fixed-term or indefinite, but must be documented in writing.

  • Collective Bargaining Agreements: Negotiated between trade unions and employer associations, these set terms for employees within a specific industry or company.

Greek employment agreements typically include clauses on basic information, compensation and benefits, terms of employment, and termination details. They also cover confidentiality and intellectual property, emphasizing adherence to Greek labor laws.

  • Probationary Periods: Indefinite-term contracts include a default 12-month probationary period during which either party can terminate the contract without notice. This period can be adjusted by agreement.

  • Confidentiality and Non-Compete Clauses: These clauses protect an employer's sensitive information and competitive interests. Non-compete clauses, which restrict an employee's future employment opportunities, must be reasonable in scope and often require compensation.

Overall, Greek employment contracts are designed to balance the needs and protections of both employer and employee while ensuring compliance with national labor laws.

Remote Work in Greece

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Overview of Remote Work Legislation in Greece

Greece has developed a legal framework for remote work, primarily through Law 4808/2021 (New Labour Law), which details telework arrangements, employer obligations, and employee rights. As an EU member, Greece also adheres to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which impacts how employee data is managed in remote settings.

Key Legal Provisions and Employer Responsibilities

  • Law 4808/2021: Specifies the structure of telework including the necessity for a written agreement, outlines employer responsibilities for data security, and recognizes the employee's right to disconnect.
  • GDPR: Enforces data protection standards, requiring employers to handle employee data securely, especially in remote work contexts.
  • Ministerial Resolution 98490/03-12-2021: Addresses compensation for teleworkers' expenses like internet and equipment maintenance.

Technological and Infrastructure Requirements

  • Employers must ensure secure remote access, reliable internet connectivity, and provide necessary communication tools.
  • Although not mandated by law, some employers may provide or reimburse for necessary equipment.

Flexible Work Arrangements

  • Part-Time Work: Defined hours and compensation in employment contracts, with rights protected under the Greek Labour Code.
  • Flexitime: Offers flexibility within set core hours, governed by the Working Time Act.
  • Job Sharing: Allows multiple employees to share one full-time position, with contract law principles applicable.

Data Protection and Security

  • Employers must ensure lawful data processing and implement strong security measures like encryption and multi-factor authentication.
  • Employees have rights to access and request corrections or deletions of their personal data under GDPR.

Best Practices for Data Security

  • Employers and employees should limit data sharing, use encrypted communication tools, and be educated on phishing and data handling best practices.
  • Regular data backups and clear reporting channels for data breaches are recommended.

This framework and these practices aim to facilitate a secure and efficient remote work environment in Greece.

Working Hours in Greece

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Greek labor laws define a standard workweek as 40 hours across five days, with a maximum of 8 hours per day. Exceptions and variations are possible through industry-specific collective bargaining agreements or part-time contracts. Overtime is regulated, allowing up to 3 extra hours per day and a cap of 150 hours annually. Overtime pay must be at least 120% of the regular rate, or 125% for nighttime hours, with possible adjustments in urgent cases or through collective agreements.

Employees are entitled to breaks, including a 15-minute break after four hours and a 30-minute break for workdays longer than six hours. These breaks are unpaid and must not be scheduled at the beginning or end of the workday. Night work commands a 25% wage premium, and while weekend work doesn't automatically include extra pay, specific agreements may require it. Night and weekend work conditions are monitored by labor authorities.

Salary in Greece

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Determining a competitive salary in Greece involves considering various factors such as industry, experience, location, and company size. The average annual salary is approximately €15,335, with significant variations across different sectors and regions. Higher wages are generally found in finance, engineering, and technology, and in major cities like Athens and Thessaloniki. Multinational and larger companies typically offer better compensation packages than smaller businesses.

To research market rates, one can utilize salary surveys, job postings, industry associations, and recruitment agencies. It's important to also consider the total compensation package, which includes benefits like health insurance, paid time off, and training opportunities.

The national minimum wage is set at €780 per month before tax as of April 1, 2024, with specific provisions for different types of workers and exemptions for certain categories such as seasonal workers or trainees. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, along with the Greek labor inspectorate, oversees the enforcement of these wage regulations.

Additionally, Greek employment law mandates bonuses equivalent to two extra monthly salaries per year, divided into payments for Christmas, Easter, and vacation. Other potential allowances include leave, meal, travel, and family allowances, though these depend on the employer's policies.

Salaries are paid monthly, with strict regulations on payment timing and tax withholding. Employers must issue payslips detailing salary breakdowns after each payroll run, with both paper and electronic formats being valid.

Termination in Greece

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In Greece, the termination of indefinite-term employment contracts is governed by specific laws that outline notice periods, employer and employee obligations, and severance pay entitlements.

Notice Periods

Notice periods vary based on the employee's length of service:

  • 1-2 Years: One month
  • 2-5 Years: Two months
  • 5-10 Years: Three months
  • 10+ Years: Four months

Exceptions include serious misconduct (no notice required), mutual agreement, and fixed-term contracts which end on the agreed date unless terminated early.

Employer and Employee Obligations During Notice

Employers must continue paying regular salaries and may place employees on garden leave. Employees should remain available for work and maintain loyalty to their employer.

Severance Pay

Severance pay, calculated based on the most recent salary and length of service, is generally due unless the employee resigns or is dismissed for serious misconduct. Additional severance may be awarded if the termination is deemed unfair.

Termination Procedures

Terminations must be communicated through written notice, with reasons and effective date clearly stated. Employers should also inform relevant employment authorities. Fair hearing rights must be respected, especially for dismissals related to employee conduct or performance.

Contesting Unfair Termination

Employees can challenge unfair dismissals through the Labor Inspectorate or by filing a lawsuit. Remedies may include reinstatement or compensation.

Overall, both employers and employees must adhere to the stipulated legal frameworks to ensure lawful and fair employment termination practices.

Freelancing in Greece

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In Greece, distinguishing between employees and independent contractors is crucial due to its implications on rights, benefits, and obligations. Greek courts often use the control test to determine this, assessing how much control an employer has over a worker's method and manner of work. Employees are tightly integrated into the business and provided with necessary equipment, while independent contractors enjoy more autonomy, focusing on delivering results rather than adhering to specific processes.

Additional factors like economic dependence, investment in tools, and the potential for profit or loss also play a role in classification. Misclassification can lead to significant liabilities for employers and restrict contractors from benefits like tax advantages and operational control.

For independent contractors, understanding and negotiating contract structures is vital. Common types include fixed-price, time-based, and performance-based contracts, each with its own benefits and risks. Effective negotiation practices are essential, focusing on clear deliverables, fair fees, and secure payment terms.

Independent contracting is prevalent in various sectors such as IT, creative industries, consulting, and tourism. The gig economy's rise offers numerous opportunities, but it's important for freelancers to protect their intellectual property rights. Greek copyright law generally favors the creator, but contractual agreements can alter default ownership, making legal advice crucial.

Freelancers must manage their own tax and insurance obligations. They handle income tax, can voluntarily contribute to social security for benefits, and choose between public and private insurance options for health and pension plans. Proper registration with tax authorities is required for earning above certain thresholds.

Health & Safety in Greece

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Health and safety laws in Greece, governed by various legislations such as the Civil Code - Article 662 and Law 3850/2010, mandate employers to ensure workplace safety through systematic risk assessments, appointment of safety personnel, and adherence to specific safety protocols. Employers are responsible for the safe design and maintenance of workstations, providing personal protective equipment (PPE), and implementing emergency procedures. Employees have rights to a safe workplace and training on safety practices, and they must cooperate with safety measures.

The enforcement of these laws is managed by the Labour Inspectorate (S.EP.E.), which conducts inspections, issues notices, and can impose fines or initiate criminal proceedings for non-compliance. Greek law covers specific topics such as chemical safety, ergonomics, and construction safety, and emphasizes continuous improvement in workplace safety standards.

Inspections by S.EP.E. are thorough, covering risk assessments, workplace conditions, and emergency preparedness, among other criteria. The frequency of inspections depends on the risk level and specific complaints. Following inspections, actions such as improvement notices and fines can be enforced, and employers have the right to appeal against these actions.

In the event of workplace accidents, employers must report to relevant authorities promptly and conduct internal investigations. Workers are entitled to compensation for injuries, and employers must maintain an accident register and ensure first aid readiness. The overarching goal of Greek health and safety laws is accident prevention and the promotion of a safe working environment.

Dispute Resolution in Greece

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Labor courts in Greece, structured into three levels (Courts of First Instance, Labor Courts of Appeal, and the Supreme Court), handle a broad range of employment disputes including wrongful dismissal and discrimination claims. The legal framework for these proceedings is supported by the Code of Civil Procedure and specific employment laws.

Arbitration serves as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, facilitated by institutions like OMED, and offers benefits such as speed and confidentiality. Arbitrators deliver binding decisions, enforceable in Greek courts.

Regulatory compliance is enforced through frequent inspections by various governmental agencies like SEPE and IAPR, focusing on industries like construction and manufacturing. The inspection process involves several steps from notification to corrective actions, aiming to ensure adherence to laws and regulations.

Non-compliance can lead to severe penalties including fines, suspension of operations, or criminal charges. Greece also provides mechanisms for reporting misconduct through internal and external channels, although whistleblower protections are currently limited and primarily focused on public sector corruption.

Greece aligns its labor laws with international standards, reflecting its commitment to ILO conventions and EU directives, covering fundamental labor rights and ensuring enforcement through agencies like the Labor Inspectorate and the Ombudsman.

Cultural Considerations in Greece

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Understanding communication and negotiation styles in Greek business culture is essential for effective interaction and success. Greek communication is characterized by directness and expressiveness, where passionate discussions and animated gestures are common. Respect and formality vary with context but maintaining a respectful tone is crucial. Non-verbal cues such as strong eye contact and physical proximity are significant in conveying sincerity and building relationships.

Negotiations in Greece are relationship-driven, often beginning with social interactions to build trust. Patience is vital as negotiations can be slow and involve multiple discussions. Greek negotiators may use high initial offers and strategic non-verbal cues like silence to influence proceedings.

Greek business structures are typically hierarchical, influencing decision-making and team dynamics. Respect for authority is significant, and decision-making usually flows from the top down. Leadership styles may be paternalistic, though there is a shift towards more collaborative approaches among younger leaders.

Additionally, understanding the impact of national and regional holidays on business operations is crucial for planning. Major holidays often result in complete business closures, affecting scheduling and communication.

Overall, success in Greek business settings requires an understanding of these cultural nuances, from communication styles to hierarchical structures and holiday observances.

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