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Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Greece


In Greece, the termination of employment is governed by a well-defined legal framework, primarily Law 3198/1955. This framework aims to balance the flexibility of employers with the protection of employees.

Lawful Grounds for Dismissal

Employers in Greece can lawfully terminate an employee's employment for several reasons. These include serious misconduct by the employee, such as breach of contract, insubordination, or negligence. Termination can also occur due to the incapacity of the employee to perform their work duties adequately, even after reasonable support from the employer. Lastly, operational requirements such as economic, technological, or organizational reasons that necessitate job cuts can also be grounds for dismissal.

Notice Requirements

Greek law requires employers to provide written notice prior to termination. The required notice period varies based on factors such as the employee's position and tenure. For manual workers, notice periods can range from a few days to several months, depending on tenure. Salaried employees typically have longer notice periods, ranging from one month to one year, depending on seniority and compensation. Employees also have the option to receive compensation in lieu of notice.

Severance Pay

Employees who are dismissed due to operational requirements, also known as redundancy, are entitled to severance pay. The calculation of severance pay is based on factors such as the employee's length of service and salary level.

Additional Considerations

Employers must establish that dismissals are based on valid, well-documented justifications, to ensure fair termination. In cases of unfair dismissal, employees may be entitled to compensation, reinstatement, or both, as determined by the courts.


Greece has a comprehensive legal framework that prohibits discrimination in the workplace. This framework is based on the Greek Constitution and European Union directives that have been incorporated into Greek legislation.

Protected Characteristics

Greece's primary anti-discrimination law, Law 4443/2016, protects individuals from discrimination based on several characteristics. These include race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and characteristics, and family or social status.

Redress Mechanisms

If an individual experiences workplace discrimination in Greece, they have several legal avenues for redress. They can approach the Ombudsman, an independent authority that promotes human rights and resolves discrimination complaints through mediation. They can also turn to the Labor Inspectorate, which investigates discrimination complaints and can impose sanctions on employers for violations. Additionally, individuals can pursue legal action for discrimination, including filing civil lawsuits for compensation and damages.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers have a crucial role in preventing workplace discrimination. Their responsibilities include developing and enforcing a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy that outlines the company's commitment to zero tolerance. They should also educate employees on anti-discrimination laws and foster a workplace culture of inclusion and respect. Employers must establish clear procedures for employees to report discrimination allegations, with prompt investigation and corrective actions taken where necessary. Furthermore, they should collaborate with government agencies and relevant organizations to combat discrimination and promote equality initiatives.

Working conditions

In Greece, specific regulations are in place to ensure employee well-being and productivity in terms of working conditions. These standards cover work hours, rest periods, and ergonomic requirements.

Work Hours

The standard workweek in Greece is 40 hours, typically divided into five eight-hour days, Monday through Friday. Overtime work is permitted under specific circumstances, with limitations. Daily overtime cannot exceed two hours, and yearly overtime is capped at 120 hours. Overtime compensation is mandated, with increased pay rates for work on Sundays and public holidays. Part-time work arrangements are also becoming increasingly common, involving shorter daily or weekly schedules compared to the standard full-time workweek.

Rest Periods

Greek legislation mandates a minimum of 11 consecutive hours of rest between working days. Employees are entitled to a minimum of 24 uninterrupted hours of rest per week, typically on Sundays. Greek workers are legally entitled to a minimum of 20 calendar days of paid vacation leave per year, not including national holidays.

Ergonomic Requirements

While Greek legislation doesn't have a single law solely dedicated to ergonomics, Law 3818/2010 on Health and Safety at Work places a general duty on employers to ensure the safety and health of employees. This can extend to ergonomic considerations in the workplace. The Hellenic Institute for Occupational Health and Safety publishes guidelines on ergonomics, offering recommendations for workstation design, work practices, and proper use of equipment to minimize musculoskeletal risks. These guidelines, although not legally binding, serve as valuable resources for employers aiming to create ergonomically sound workplaces.


The Labor Inspectorate under the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is responsible for enforcing work condition standards. They conduct inspections to ensure employer compliance and address any identified violations.

Health and safety

Greece prioritizes worker well-being through a comprehensive health and safety framework. This guide explores key aspects of this framework, including employer obligations, employee rights, and enforcement agencies.

Employer Obligations

Greek Law 3818/2010 on Health and Safety at Work serves as the cornerstone of health and safety regulations. Here are some crucial employer obligations outlined in the Law:

  • Risk Assessment: Employers must conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential hazards in the workplace and implement control measures to mitigate them.
  • Safety Measures: Employers have a responsibility to provide and maintain a safe work environment. This includes measures like proper ventilation, machine safeguarding, and hazardous material handling protocols.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Employers must provide appropriate PPE to employees exposed to specific workplace hazards.
  • Information and Training: Employees have the right to receive information and training on workplace health and safety risks.
  • Health Surveillance: In certain high-risk occupations, employers may be required to facilitate medical examinations for employees.

Employee Rights

Greek employees enjoy extensive health and safety rights:

  • Safe Work Environment: Employees have the right to work in a safe environment free from foreseeable health and safety risks.
  • Refusal of Unsafe Work: Employees can refuse to perform tasks they believe pose a serious threat to their health and safety.
  • Accident Reporting: Employees are entitled to report workplace accidents and injuries without fear of retaliation.
  • Worker Participation: Employee representatives have the right to participate in shaping workplace safety measures through health and safety committees.

Enforcement Agencies

The primary enforcement agency for workplace health and safety regulations in Greece is the Labor Inspectorate. They conduct inspections, investigate accidents, and ensure employer compliance with health and safety regulations.

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