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Greece

Greece

Source: EURES The European Job Mobility Portal. For up-to-date information visit the Living and Working Conditions section about Greece on the EURES Portal.

How to find a job

The principal body for the promotion of employment is the Greek Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED). It has 117 employment promotion centres (EPC or EPC2) throughout Greece and staff to whom unemployed people can turn to find a job and receive guidance. They also organise active employment, self-employment and retraining programmes to improve the qualifications of unemployed people.

OAED also has Greek EURES advisers who speak foreign languages and are specially trained. Their task is to help people looking for work in an EU, EEA country and Switzerland and to fill the job vacancies available from employers. Furthermore, they provide support and guidance to nationals of EU and EEA countries and Switzerland who are looking for work in Greece, informing them about the job market and assisting them in their job search. They also provide information and act as an intermediary between job seekers and employers as part of the European Jobs Network.

Unemployed people can also find work through private employment agencies which are authorised by the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs and mediate in finding employment.

Mediation does not entail any financial burden for employees. The cost for is borne by employers on behalf of whom the private employment agencies act as an intermediary.

Newspapers are also an important source of information. Advertisements for managerial and specialist staff are usually published both in Greek and English. Small ads, papers and newspapers with employment pull-outs can be found at kiosks. Moreover, both on social media (in particular  FacebookLinkedin and Twitter) and on the internet in general there are numerous websites, both private and public, advertising jobs in various sectors in Greece. Surfing the internet and searching the ads are extremely popular ways of finding work in Greece. Both OAED and private employment agencies have web portals or job search engines to provide information and assistance to jobseekers, OAED in particular is aimed at employees who wish to move to an EU or EEA country or Switzerland to seek work. They may also submit their CVs electronically via the above portals to a register to which only employers have access. The EURES web portal is currently the most developed job search engine of its kind.

Moreover, the EURES National Coordination Office in Greece organises 1‑day workshops and career days in collaboration with National Coordination Offices in other EU/EEA countries and Switzerland for specific economic sectors or activities in each case to present jobs, collect CVs, and hold interviews either directly with employers or via the EURES advisers in those countries.

Substantial assistance to unemployed people seeking work in Greece, and in EU/EEA countries and Switzerland, in cooperation with EURES advisers, is provided by liaison offices or the social service departments of municipalities at local government level.

Certain universities, or other entities, often organise career fairs mainly for graduates and students in the last year of their studies, at which jobseekers can establish direct contact with interested employers.

Using social networks and asking friends and acquaintances whether they know of an employer who is looking for staff is often a good way of finding a job.

Searching specific companies’ websites for job vacancies corresponding to your interests and skills and then sending off your CV electronically is another good way of getting invited to an interview with an employer for a job that matches your qualifications.

 How to apply for a job

CV

When applying for a job you should attach a CV, which should be short (1-2 pages), and provide a clear description of your educational and professional experience.

The content of the CV should correspond to the job being applied for and to the specifications set out by the prospective employer.

The CV should include personal details such as your full name, address, telephone number, and email address. It should set out your education and training and give details of professional experience, with the titles of previous jobs, particulars of previous employers, the dates of employment and a description of the duties carried out.

Knowledge of foreign languages should also be mentioned, with information about the level of knowledge and the qualifications obtained.

The title, subject matter and duration of any seminars attended should be included, mentioning the organising body.

Knowledge of computers and other specialist knowledge or certificates can also be stated, as well as personal interests that are relevant to the application and say something about your personality. It is essential to mention any competences or skills acquired as a result of academic or professional experience.

Participation in working groups, associations or committees, or the writing of articles or books that bear a relation to the job applied for are valuable additions to a CV.

Two or three recommendations from individuals with recognised academic or professional status (e.g. former teachers, managers or employers) may be included at the end of the CV, together with their details, so that the employer may contact them to get further information on the applicant’s performance or professional conduct with regard to a particular job.

Cover letter

The CV should be accompanied by a typed letter of no more than one page linking the applicant’s professional and educational qualifications with the job. The letter should be signed. The contents of the cover letter should be adapted and linked to the job applied for, avoiding general terms and vague wording.

Each public or private employment service uses a different CV template. However, the most common one tends to be the CV that can be obtained from the OAED portal, or the European Europass template. Many Greek companies use application forms instead of CVs. These forms vary in length and level of detail.

Advice: Research the market and find companies you would like to work for. Visit their website, if they have one, to get an overview of their activities and find information you can use in the cover letter or a possible interview. Send them your CV, or deliver the CV in person and ask to see the person responsible in the company. State the reasons why you think that you are a suitable candidate. Email can be an easy way of making contact.

 Finding accommodation

Renting:

Both furnished and unfurnished accommodation is available. In town neighbourhoods you will find ‘ΕΝΟΙΚΙΑΖΕΤΑΙ’ [ Enikiazete – To Rent] wall stickers. Property to rent is advertised in national and local newspapers under the heading ‘Enikiasi Akiniton’ [Property for Rent]. Many of these have special web pages advertising accommodation for rent throughout Greece.

Rental agreements are by law for at least 3 years, even if the parties have agreed to terminate them earlier.

It is sometimes necessary to pay a deposit which serves as a guarantee that the tenant will look after the property. The rental agreement and the payment are arranged directly with the owner.

Buying apartments:

Based on data collected from credit institutions, there has been a marginal 4% increase in the average nominal prices for apartments in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same quarter of 2018, whereas apartment prices recorded a 1.6% increase over 2018 compared to a 1% reduction in 2017.

1. Rent prices for a three-room apartment

Athens (centre): Approx. EUR 730 per month

Athens (suburbs): Approx. EUR 650 per month

Piraeus (centre): Approx. EUR 800 per month

Piraeus (suburbs): Approx. EUR 500 per month

Thessaloniki (centre): Approx. EUR 580 per month

Thessaloniki (suburbs): Approx. EUR 470 per month

Larissa: Approx. EUR 460 per month

Heraklion (Crete): Approx. EUR 650 per month

Rhodes: Approx. EUR 600 per month

Patras: Approx. EUR 400 per month

2. Purchase prices:

Athens (centre): Approx. EUR 2 050 per m²

Athens (suburbs): Approx. EUR 1 930 per m²

Piraeus (centre): Approx. EUR 1 825 per m²

Piraeus (suburbs): Approx. EUR 1 325 per m²

Thessaloniki (centre): Approx. EUR 1 780 per m²

Thessaloniki (suburbs): Approx. EUR 1 300 per m²

Larissa: Approx. EUR 1 150 per m²

Heraklion (Crete): Approx. EUR 1 650 per m²

Rhodes: Approx. EUR 2 900 per m²

Patras: Approx. EUR 1 370 per m²

 Recognition of diplomas and qualifications

The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers

The possibility of obtaining recognition of one’s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in the decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in different Member States. Only such a system will ensure that a lack of recognition of professional qualifications will become an obstacle to workers’ mobility within the EU.

Main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU

As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to freely practice their profession in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements for access to certain professions in the host country.

For the purpose of overcoming these differences, the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. Within the terms of this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State.

Steps towards a transparency of qualifications in Europe

The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe:

  1. An increased co-operation in vocational education and training, with the intention to combine all instruments for transparency of certificates and diplomas, in one single, user-friendly tool. This includes, for example, the European CV or Europass Trainings.
  2. The development of concrete actions in the field of recognition and quality in vocational education and training.

Going beyond the differences in education and training systems throughout the EU

Education and training systems in the EU Member States still show substantial differences. The last enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences.

In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has put forward a series of instruments, aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes.

1.The European Qualifications Framework

The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee a smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas.

2.The National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARICs)

A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU.

3.The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus.

4.Europass

Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It is composed of five standardised documents

  • a CV (Curriculum Vitae),
  • a language passport,
  • certificate supplements,
  • diploma supplements, and
  • a Europass-Mobility document.

The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system.

Kinds of employment

Children under 15 years of age are not allowed to work in industrial facilities, unless only the employer’s family members work there and the working conditions do not pose a risk to the health and character of those working there. During apprenticeship training at vocational schools, trainees work for employers to gain work experience after reaching 16 years of age.

The most common form of employment contract is the full-time employment contract of indefinite duration. Employment contracts are of indefinite duration when their duration is not expressly set and when it cannot be inferred from the type and purpose of the contract. Part-time employment is somewhat limited compared with other EU countries. Seasonal employment is common in tourist areas and in occupations directly connected with tourism.

Labourers and technicians, especially in the construction and agriculture sectors, are paid a daily wage on a weekly basis.

A number of professionals, such as engineers, work for an employer on the basis of the issuing of receipts for the provision of services, rather than receiving a salary.

Fixed-term employment contracts are frequently also entered into when it is explicitly or tacitly agreed that the employment is to be for a certain duration (e.g. 6 months, 1 year, etc.) or until a specified event occurs, or when the duration of the employment is obvious due to the type and nature of the work for which the salaried person is being hired (contracts for seasonal work or for the performance of specific tasks). In other words, such contracts are entered into when a specific time at which the work will end is explicitly or tacitly agreed.

Atypical forms of work include the provision of services or work for a specified or indefinite period, especially in the case of piecework, teleworking, working from home, etc.

Seasonal work belongs to the flexible type of contracts, since it is provided only for a special period of time, thus providing crucial support either to businesses involved in certain sectors, mainly tourism and agriculture, or to all-season businesses for the cover of special needs. The significant increase in demand usually results in employing foreign employees as well.  

According to the European legislation, the seasonal vacancies are covered preferably by natives and EU citizens, who are entitled to job mobility within EU without restrictions. As far as the third-country citizens are concerned, the law 4332/2015 has modified the previous 4251/2014 (immigration code), for the adjustment of the Greek legislation to the Directive 2014/36/EE. 

According to it, seasonal work means that it is offered up to six months on an annual basis in certain financial sectors.  For the employment of the third – country citizens a complicated procedure is described, involving the Greek state, through the issue of a ministerial decision depicting the potential vacancies per season, as well as the employers, through the filing of a relevant application under special terms. 

The Greek legislation also provides for specific regulations aiming to protect the rights of the seasonal workers. 

In the tourism sector, the most important right concerns their re-employment during the following season provided that  they apply for it within due course of time. If the employer denies to renew the work contract or dismisses the employee, the latter is entitled to certain types of compensation depending on the circumstances. This right is based on the constitutional principle of equality and protection of work, as well as on the article 8 of the Law 1346/1983, as modified by Law 1545/1985 and specified by collective agreements. 

Moreover, depending on the total duration of their working contracts, seasonal workers are also entitled to certain financial allowances and benefits from the employer. During the so-called “dead period”, the seasonal workers are subject to special provisions concerning the unemployment benefit supplied by the Greek PES (OAED). 

Additionally, they are entitled to a special seasonal allowance by OAED, usually in the autumn, depending on their field of specialty and their insurance days during the previous period.

Employment contracts

Presidential Decree 156/1994, which applies both to employment contracts of indefinite duration and to fixed-term employment contracts or working relationships of a duration exceeding 1 month, provides that employers must expressly notify employees of the material terms of the contract or relationship, namely:

  • the details of the contracting parties (employer and employee);
  • the place at which the work is to be performed, the registered office of the company or the home address of the employer;
  • the employee’s post or specialisation, grade or employment category, and the subject-matter of the work;
  • the date of commencement of the employment contract, and, if it is a fixed term contract, its duration;
  • the duration of the paid leave to which the employee is entitled, and how and when it is to be granted;
  • the compensation payable and the notice which the employer and the employee must give, in accordance with legislation in force, in the event of termination of the contract;
  • all the forms of earnings to which the employee is entitled;
  • the employee’s daily and weekly working hours; and
  • the applicable collective agreement that lays down the employee’s minimum terms of remuneration and employment.

The information must be provided not later than 2 months after the employee has started work, in one of the following ways chosen by the employer:

  • in writing in an employment contract, or
  • in another document

Failure to provide the employee with one of the above documents does not invalidate the employment contract, but does result in a fine.

Related forms

There are other or parallel related forms of employment, in addition to the contract of indefinite duration and the fixed-term contract. These are:

  • work contracts: the contractor is bound to perform specific work and is paid when the work or a part of it is delivered. The contract ceases automatically when the work is done;
  • contracts for the provision of independent services: this sort of contract is used when the person providing the service or the work is not subject to the employer’s control;
  • association contracts: these are used when a joint benefit is pursued with joint contributions;
  • representation contracts: these are used when the representative acts on the basis of general instructions from the employer, without having to work under the employer’s supervision or being tied to regular working hours.

Termination of contract: Employers are free to dissolve an employment contract of indefinite duration at any time, subject to adherence to the legal formalities, by giving notice of termination in writing and paying compensation. Employers can dismiss an employee either without notice (extraordinary termination) or with notice (regular termination with notice), in which case the compensation due is reduced by 50%.

However, in the case of a fixed-term employment contract or work contract, there must be an important and justified reason for termination (Article 672 of the Civil Code).

An employee is entitled to terminate a contract of indefinite duration freely at any time and depart voluntarily from his/her employment. However, he/she must give the employer notice of termination within the time limits prescribed by law.

Collective redundancies are dismissals carried out by businesses or holdings employing more than 20 workers for reasons that do not concern the individuals being dismissed but solely the business.

Note that under the collective redundancy process, the law does not stipulate a limit to the number of dismissals. The final number of dismissals is exclusively the result of negotiations.

In any case, the employer must submit an electronic notification that the employment contract has been terminated through the ERGANI information system within 4 days of delivering the notice of dismissal, whether the contract is of indefinite or fixed duration. If the employee does not sign the document, a notice is served to him/her by a bailiff.  Failure to submit an electronic notification shall incur penalties

http://www.ypakp.gr/index.php?ID=NiXrM5HdeBBdm6IL

Working time

The normal statutory working week is 40 hours. Maximum daily working time is set at 10 hours. There is an overtime system in place and overtime remuneration is specified.

In businesses that apply the contractual working week of 40 hours, employees may work five additional hours a week at the employer’s discretion. Those hours (the 41st, 42nd, 43rd, 44th and 45th hours) are treated as extra work and are remunerated at a 20% higher rate than the normal hourly rate and are not counted as part of permissible overtime.

Work in excess of 45 hours a week is treated as overtime. Lawful overtime of up to 120 hours per year is remunerated at 40% above the standard rate and is subject to special authorisation. Lawful overtime in excess of 120 hours is remunerated at 60% above the standard rate. In addition, employees may work 2 hours more per day in busy periods and 2 hours fewer per day in other periods, or take the time cumulatively as a rest day (time off in lieu). Work provided on the sixth day of the week, in infringement of the 5-day working week and regardless of the stipulated sanctions, is remunerated at 30% above the daily wage.

Employees’ maximum weekly working time, including any overtime, may not exceed an average of 48 hours over a period of no more than 4 months. Working time arrangements on a 4-month and annual basis are laid down, in order of priority, by company-based collective labour agreements or agreements between the employer and the trade union or between the employer and the employee council. Periods of paid annual leave and periods of leave and sickness are not included in the calculation of the average or are neutral. A different system for the arrangement of working hours may be laid down by company-based and sectoral collective labour agreements, depending on the particularities of the sector or the company.

For each 24-hour period, the minimum rest period may not be less than 12 consecutive hours. Where the working day is longer than 6 hours, a break of at least 15 minutes must be granted, during which workers must be entitled to leave their workplace.

Employees are entitled to a minimum continuous period of rest of at least 24 hours per week, which in principle includes Sunday, depending on the labour law provisions in force for each category of employees.

Leave (annual leave, parental leave etc.)

The types of leave that employees may be entitled to are described below.

Normal annual leave: From when they start work in a business and until they have completed 12 months of continuous employment, employees are entitled to a percentage of the normal annual paid leave which is proportional to the time they have spent in the business. The percentage is calculated on the basis of annual leave of 24 working days or, if the business operates a 5-day working week system, of 20 working days without including in the calculation those days of the week on which the person does not work because of the system applied. The employer is obliged to grant the above-mentioned proportion of annual leave by the end of the calendar year in which the employee was recruited.

In the second calendar year, employees are entitled to normal annual paid leave in proportion to the length of their employment in the business. The leave is increased by one working day for each year of employment in addition to the first year, up to 26 working days, or up to 22 working days if the business operates a 5-day week. Exceptionally, leave may be divided into two periods during the calendar year if there is a particularly serious or urgent need on the part of the business or holding.

In each following calendar year, employees are entitled to receive their normal annual paid leave from 1 January of each year, as well as their leave allowance (an additional half salary for private sector employees).

Parental leave (for persons with children up to 16 years of age or family members who cannot look after themselves). Parents with infants of up to two-and-a-half years of age can take unpaid nursing leave of up to 3 months (see link below). Paid parental leave of 4 days a year is granted to parents with children under 16 years of age to enable them to visit their children’s teachers and find out how the children are getting on at school.

Convalescence leave (after sickness).

The duration of this leave depends on the employee’s length of service within the company.

Half a year’s leave is granted for various illnesses if the employee worked for 4 months during the previous year, a year’s leave is granted for the same illness if the employee worked for 12 months during the two previous years and 2 years’ leave is granted for the same illness if the employee worked 60 months during the previous years.

Education and study leave is granted to persons who are due to sit examinations, provided that they have completed 1 year of employment.

Maternity and confinement leave for women nearing childbirth and in confinement: Under the national collective labour agreement, a female employee is entitled to seventeen (17) weeks paid maternity leave: eight (8) weeks before the birth and nine (9) weeks after the birth. If the woman does not use up all her leave entitlement for the period before the birth, she can use the remainder after the birth.

Breast-feeding leave and special maternity protection leave: For thirty (30) months after childbirth, nursing mothers may arrive at work one hour later or leave one hour earlier or take a one-hour break from work. Alternatively, upon arrangement with the employer, the working day can be reduced by two (2) hours for twelve (12) months, and thereafter by one (1) hour for a further six (6) months. Under certain conditions, following the postpartum period leave and the equivalent leave time in terms of reduced hours of work, working mothers are entitled to apply for 6-month maternity-protection leave, which is provided for by OAED.

Official holidays:

New Year’s Day

6 January, Epiphany

Shrove Monday

25 March, Feast of the Annunciation/National Day

Good Friday, Orthodox Easter

Easter Monday

1 May, Labour Day

15 August, Assumption

28 October, National Day

Christmas Day

Boxing Day

Employers may not ask their employees to accept remuneration instead of leave (except where the employee has been dismissed or has resigned).

 Remuneration

As of February 2019, the statutory minimum wage and the statutory minimum daily wage for full employment for all employees and workers throughout the country, without age discrimination, is as follows:

  • For employees, the minimum salary is six hundred and fifty euros (EUR 650.00).
  • For workers, the minimum daily wage is twenty-nine euros and four cents (EUR 29.04).  Employees are usually paid on a monthly, weekly or daily basis. Employers deduct the employees’ compulsory payments (social security contributions and income tax) before paying the remuneration. Employers pay the employees’ social security contributions to the social insurance bodies, together with their own employer’s contribution. They also pay any payroll taxes deducted to the tax office.

Employers keep a detailed record of payroll payments. Employees can obtain a written monthly analysis of their earnings, showing the wage or salary amount and the allowances and deductions.

The usual practice is for remuneration to be fixed by collective agreement. Employers frequently pay their workers a higher remuneration than that required by the collective agreement, particularly in the case of skilled workers when there is high labour market demand for a specific specialisation.

The collective agreements are negotiated by employers and trade unions. The Ministry of Employment may assist the negotiations.

Collective labour agreements lay down minimum levels of remuneration for most occupations every year. Family allowances, allowances for length of service and experience and unsanitary work (where this is considered justified), as well as other allowances relating to the specific requirements of the work, are added to the basic remuneration of the collective agreement, which depends on the employee’s specialisation and level of education. The collective agreements also set payment levels for work in excess of normal working hours (overtime) and for work on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. A number of organisations provide payment in the form of gratuities or other earnings based on results, mainly to managers and people in sales.

In cases where there is a risk of a company declaring bankruptcy as a result of the economic crisis, it is possible to enter into works agreements involving lower employee salaries.

Private companies pay a thirteenth monthly salary at Christmas, half a monthly salary at Easter and half a monthly salary in the summer. In the event of sickness, remuneration is protected through the social insurance system or through collective agreements or both.

Employees usually receive their monthly salary at the end of the month. In some organisations the monthly salary is paid in two instalments, on the fifteenth day of the month and at the end of the month. Day wage workers are paid at the end of the week. Remuneration is paid compulsorily by deposit into a bank account.

End of employment 

Termination of a fixed-term contract 

An employer may terminate a fixed-term employment contract before it expires only for ‘compelling reasons’, such as inadequate performance of duties in the workplace, professional inadequacy, bankruptcy or restriction of the activities of the business, worker absenteeism, etc.

In any event, termination of an employment contract requires prior notice, unless the contract period has already run out. Even in that case, however, the employer must inform the employee that the contract will not be continued.

If the notice of termination of the contract is for ‘compelling reasons’, the employer is not obliged to pay compensation. 

However, the concept of ‘compelling reasons’ is a legal one, and consequently it has to be scrutinised by the courts If the ‘compelling reasons’ were not genuine, the notice of termination of the contract is invalid and all compensation must be paid.

Termination of an employment contract of indefinite duration 

The termination of the employment relationship is also considered valid, only if based on valid reasons, pursuant to Article 24 of the revised version of the European Social Charter.

   1.Regular notice of termination: Notice of termination of the employment contract and prior written notification of the person being dismissed are the features of this type of termination.

The written notification must be signed by the employer or by a person legally authorised by him/her and must be delivered to the employee at least 1 month and not earlier than 4 months before the termination of the contract (depending on the total period of employment of the person being dismissed). Oral notification is not lawful and is invalid. 

In the case of a regular notice of termination of an employment contract, all employment relationships end after the above period of from one to 4 months within which the notification must be delivered.

   2.Irregular notice of termination:

In this case the lay-off period starts on the day of delivery of the notice of termination of the employment contract or on a date stated in the notice.

In any case, the employer must submit an electronic notification that the employment contract has been terminated through the ERGANI information system on the same day, irrespective of whether the contract is of fixed or indefinite duration and whether it is terminated regularly or irregularly.

The employer has to pay the dismissed person compensation corresponding to the duration of employment and the salary or wage of the last month, unless the reasons for the dismissal are or have been legally shown to be ‘compelling’.

In the case of a regular notice of termination of an employment contract in due form (i.e. timely written notification), the employer pays only half of the established compensation.

If the dismissed person has worked for an employer for between 2 months and 1 year, the employer can dismiss them immediately and pay one month’s salary in compensation or can give one month’s notice and pay half a month’s salary in compensation.

A proportionate rate applies to longer periods of work. When compensation due to termination of the employment contract exceeds two (2) months’ earnings, the employer must pay part of the compensation corresponding to the two (2) months’ earnings at the time of termination. The remaining amount is paid in bi-monthly instalments.

   3.Collective redundancies

Collective redundancies are dismissals carried out by businesses or holdings employing more than 20 workers for reasons that do not concern the individuals being dismissed but rather any other financial or technical shortcoming of the business. The provisions applicable to the calculation of compensation also apply to collective redundancies, but the procedure in place to bring them about is different. In order for the legislation on collective redundancies to apply, the following limits for each calendar month must be exceeded:

  • 6 employees for businesses with 20 to 150 employees
  • A percentage of 5% of staff and up to 30 persons for businesses employing more than 150 employees. This rate is set on a calendar semester basis.

The number of staff includes the total number of workers at the headquarters and any branch offices of a business. The level of dismissals is set by taking into account the personnel employed at the beginning of the month. Moreover, the number of collective redundancies does not include dismissals for reasons concerning the individuals being dismissed (conduct contrary to contractual obligations, shortcomings, etc.) or voluntary redundancies.

Once the procedure of collective redundancies is underway, the final number of dismissals results from negotiations, with the exception of collective redundancies prompted by the termination of company or holding’s activity following a court decision, in which case the negotiation procedure follows to set out the number of dismissals.

Termination of an employment contract by the employee

Employees may submit a notification of termination either in written form or orally.

They must inform their employers 3 months before termination at the latest.

Employers are not obliged to pay compensation when the contract is terminated by an employee, and the employee is not entitled to unemployment allowance from the OAED (Manpower Employment Organisation), since there is no prior notice of termination of the contract from the employer, which is a prerequisite for the payment of unemployment benefits.

Types of pension

Full old-age pension: This is paid when the person has 4 500 working days of insurance and has reached the age of 67.

A reduced pension may be given at the age of 62 with the same number of days of insurance. Insured persons are entitled to national and contributory pension.

Pension on account of the death of an insured person: The surviving spouse and his/her children are entitled to this pension.

Invalidity pension: This is payable to insured persons who are deemed by the health committees of the Disability Certification Center (KEPA) to have a pensionable percentage of disability (50% or more). The person must also have been insured with IKA-ETAM for the minimum required time, depending on age.

Health system

THE NATIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM

The Greek National Health System (ESY) was established in 1983. It aims to provide medical and hospital care to all living in Greece. Its main pillars are local health centres (TOMY, primary health care units for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation) and the general regional hospitals (secondary and tertiary health care facilities for in-patient care).

The National Centre for Emergency Assistance (EKAB) is an emergency unit providing direct on-site first aid and evacuation services of patients to the nearest medical facility (Tel.: 166)
Healthcare services are also provided by social insurance funds to their members. EOPPY [National Organisation for Healthcare Provision] is the body responsible for providing such services.

Social insurance contributions are paid via the social security system. Social insurance is compulsory for all citizens who receive an income from employment or self-employment in Greece. The social security system is funded from three sources: contributions from workers, employers and the State. The contributions from private-sector workers are paid both by the workers and by their employers. The self-employed and those working in free professions pay these contributions themselves. Some insurance funds receive additional state assistance and social contributions. Healthcare under the social security system (insurance funds) is provided from the higher share of the contributions paid by the employer compared to the share paid by the worker. The level of contributions depends on the social insurance body and the insured person’s profession.

All medical care is free except for prescribed medicines, for which a personal contribution of up to 25% of the cost of the medicine can be charged, depending on the case.
Key information

  • Issuing the healthcare booklet remains the responsibility of the local insurance funds, except for those insured in the public sector.
  • You must obtain an AMKA (social security) number before you can be insured. AMKA numbers can be issued by the Citizens’ Service Centres (KEP).
  • EOPPY [National Organisation for Healthcare Provision] makes available a list of affiliated doctors providing primary healthcare services. Insured persons can choose whether or not to select a doctor from this list.

Free emergency treatment is provided for EU visitors/employment seekers, who should bring with them the European Health Insurance Card from their country of origin.

The final phase of reorganisation of the social security system in Greece started on 1 January 2017, when all old social security providers and, in particular, their social security sectors, were consolidated into a Single Social Security Provider (EFKA). The health insurance sectors of the social security providers had already been consolidated into EOPPY by 2012.

EOPPY operates exclusively under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and provides healthcare cover for insured persons and pensioners throughout their life.

Those with EOPPY insurance are entitled to benefits in kind, i.e. medical, pharmaceutical, hospital and dental care, additional health care and preventive medicine, and to cash benefits in the form of a maternity grant, the pregnancy and confinement allowance, sickness and accident benefits, a death grant and pensions.

Medical doctors

All medical examinations carried out by affiliated doctors in surgeries, medical centres or in the home are free of charge for insured persons and their families. Certain general and specific tests in affiliated laboratories are also free of charge, as is dental treatment. As appropriate, the insured persons may be required to pay 25% of the value of the relevant test.

A portion of the fee for a visit to a private doctor and of the cost of medicines in an emergency is reimbursed in accordance with the rates in force.

The cost of prosthetics and major appliances, such as pacemakers, hearing aids, wheelchairs and contact lenses, is covered by EOPPY on receipt of a medical report from the attending physician.

Non-prescription medicines can be obtained from day and night pharmacies in each area.

Income and taxation

The income of a natural or legal person from employment, a pension, an agricultural or business activity, properties, dividends, interest, royalties and appreciation of capital transfer is subject to tax in Greece. It is necessary to be issued with a tax registration number (AFM).

There is a single tax scale applicable to income earned from 01/01/2021 to 31/12/2021 from employment, a pension, business and agricultural activities. The tax rates range from 9% to 44% as follows: (a) 9% for income of up to EUR 10 000, (b) 22% for income from EUR 10 001 to EUR 20 000, (c) 28% for income from EUR 20 001 to EUR 30 000, (d) 36% for income above EUR 30 001 to EUR 40 000 and e) 44% for income above EUR 40 001. Income from agricultural activities and income from property is subject to a separate tax, while all other income is aggregated and taxed based on a single scale. The tax rates applicable to income from real estate range from 15% to 45%. Finally, a business tax of EUR 400 to 1,000 is levied on individuals with a business activity. Moreover, a special solidarity contribution is levied on natural persons’ income above EUR 12 000 on the basis of a scale ranging from 2.2% to 10%. In addition to the actual income, a tax may, under conditions, be levied on the imputed income, namely income that arises from application of the presumptions on maintenance costs and acquisition of assets. Natural and legal persons engaged in an agricultural or business activity are subject to a single tax rate of 24% and to advance tax payment of 100%. Advance tax payment means an amount equal to 100% of the tax arising only from business and agricultural activities, as well as from any difference of presumptions, after deducing any withheld and prepaid taxes. Exceptionally those who submit a tax return with income from business activities for the first time such advance tax payment is equal to 50% in the first five years.

A tax reduction ranging from EUR 33 to EUR 360, calculated according to the number of dependent children, applies to the income tax levied on wage earners, pensioners and farmers. Moreover, there is a tax reduction for the same taxpayer categories, provided that during 2019 they have paid, using electronic payment methods (credit or debit cards, or e-banking), for purchases of goods or provision of services amounts that account for a specific percentage of their annual income, namely 30%. If the taxpayer does not cover the necessary amount, a 22% tax will be levied on the remaining amount. An exception from the obligation to earn the tax reduction through electronic payments for goods and services is granted to wage earners, pensioners and farmers over 70 years of age, those with at least 80% disability, those under judicial support on account of incapacity, as well as EU residents who are obliged to file tax returns in Greece and are subject to the tax scale applicable to wage earners and pensioners. Those categories of taxpayers must have made payments in cash equal to the percentage required and make the relevant receipts available to the tax office in order to benefit from the reduction in tax. Vulnerable social groups and special categories of taxpayers are fully exempted from that obligation. Note that the reduction in tax that resulted from expenses for medical visits, hospital care and medicines was repealed from 2018, which is expected to increase the tax burden on the taxpayers of these categories. In light of the above, the tax-free income allowance (salaries and pensions) is EUR 8 633 with no dependent children, EUR 9 000 with one dependent children and EUR 10 000 with two dependent children and 11 000 with three or more dependent children .

Generally, tax reductions of EUR 200 are provided for persons with at least 67% disability and special categories of taxpayers, such as victims of terrorist actions or war, or pensioners who took part in the National Resistance or the civil war. Moreover, donations give rise to a reduction in income tax of up to 10% provided that they exceed EUR 100 during the tax year and that the total donation amount does not exceed 5% of taxable income.

Taxable persons who are not resident for tax purposes in Greece do not qualify for tax allowance, save where their residence for tax purposes is in another EU or EEA Member State and (a) at least 90% of their income is earned in Greece and (b) they prove that their taxable income is so low that they qualify for tax exemption under the tax arrangements of their country of residence.

On the contrary, under the provisions of the Income Tax Code, natural persons who transfer their tax residence to Greece and will be employed in new jobs or start a business as a self-employed person are entitled to an income tax break and exemption from the special solidarity levy, of 50% of the income they acquire in Greece for 7 years. According to the decision issued by the Independent Authority for Public Revenue, those persons must submit the relevant application by 30 September 2021.

According to that decision, all persons who move to Greece for tax purposes will have a 50% discount on income tax, as well as an exemption from the presumption of possession and use of a car.

Any interested party may apply for inclusion in this framework where:

  • he/she was not tax resident in Greece in 5 of years prior to transfer of his/her tax residence to Greece;
  • he/she transfers his/her tax residence from a Member State of the EU or EEA or from a state with which an administrative cooperation agreement in the field of taxation with Greece is in effect;
  • he/she provides services in Greece in the context of an employment relationship at either a Greek legal person or legal entity or at a permanent establishment of a foreign undertaking in Greece. The same privileges apply by analogy to natural persons who transfer their tax residence to Greece for the purpose of carrying on individual business activity in Greece;
  • he/she declares that he/she will remain in Greece for at least 2 years.

Natural persons who have already transferred their tax residence to Greece and have concluded employment contracts or have commenced business within the 2020 tax year may submit an application for inclusion in the special method of taxation from salaried work and business activity which arises in Greece, if they were not tax residents of Greece in the years 2015 to 2019 inclusive.

In addition to the taxes levied based on the annual tax returns, citizens must also pay other, direct or indirect, general or local taxes. More specifically, property owners are subject to a single property ownership rate (ENFIA). Also, a value added tax (VAT) of 24% is included in the price of most goods and services provided. However, certain goods and services, such as medicines and hotel accommodation, are subject to reduced rates of 13% and 6%. Excise duty is levied on heating oil and car owners pay a circulation tax that varies with the age and engine capacity of their vehicle. Taxpayers pay local taxes in the form of charges levied by municipalities for the cleaning of communal areas, lighting, waste collection and disposal.

The annual earnings of salaried persons in the private sector (which are made up of 12 monthly salaries, a Christmas bonus, an Easter bonus and a summer leave allowance, are also subject to other deductions on top of income tax, namely deductions relating to health insurance, old-age pension and insurance against unemployment.

As of February 2019, a statutory minimum wage and statutory minimum daily wage for full employment has been laid down for all employees and workers throughout the country, without age discrimination

Indicatively, net remuneration of commonly known professions are the following:

  • Professionals EUR 1 128.15
  • Technicians and other related professionals EUR 706.74
  • Office workers EUR 646.37
  • Service providers and salespersons EUR 696.29
  • Hotel employees EUR 699
  • Cleaners EUR 667.59
  • Unskilled workers EUR 558.22

Under EU regulations, people who have worked in two or more EU countries are able to add together contributions paid in each state in order to qualify for a state pension. It is advisable to contact the social security ministry and the insurance provider in the country where you live and in the country where you last worked for more information.

 Educational system

‘Education is the second sun for people’ Plato (427-347 BC)

The educational system is subject to the general supervision of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. At regional and local level, the regional directorates for education and the directorates for primary and secondary education respectively implement the national education policy and are also responsible for the supervision of school units. Under Article 16 of the Constitution, education is a fundamental duty of the State and is provided free of charge to all citizens in public educational facilities irrespective of their level of education.

The Greek education system is divided into three levels:

1. Primary education

For preschool education, there are nurseries and day care centres, which are subject to the supervision of the municipalities. Children are enrolled from the age of 6 months (or from the age of 2 months under specific conditions) until they reach the age of enrolment in compulsory education. Primary education (ISCED 1) includes nursery schools and primary schools. Children attend nursery school for two years. They are enrolled at the age of 5 years (compulsory attendance) and infants at the age of 4 years (gradually compulsory attendance within 3 years based on the newLaw 4521/2018). Then they must attend primary school for 6 years, from the age of 6 to 12.

From 6 years of age, students are taught English and from 11 they choose also either French or German.

2. Secondary education

Secondary education comprises two levels of study. The first level (ISCED 2) is compulsory and lasts 3 years. It corresponds to the Gymnasio (Lower Secondary School) and covers the ages from 12 to 15, as well as the Evening Gymnasio from 14 for those who work. The second level (ISCED 3) is not compulsory and comprises the General Lykeio (Upper Secondary School), the Evening Lykeio and Vocational Education. Vocational Education is divided into Vocational Lykeio (EPAL) and Vocational Apprenticeship Schools (EPAS) of the Greek Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) for graduates who have completed at least the first class of Lykeio. EPAS follow the dual educational system. Attendance is for 3 years at all the Lykeia and for 2 years at EPAS.

The Secondary Education system also operates specialised Gymnasia and Lykeia, such as the Model-Experimental, Music, Art, Sports, Ecclesiastical, Cross-cultural and Minority schools. 

Alongside public schools, there are also private schools with the same curriculum, but the percentage of pupils attending such schools is quite low compared to the average of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, amounting to around 7% in the 2017-2018 school year. Fees vary between EUR 1 200 for nursery schools and may reach EUR 13 000 for the higher grades.

NEETs – Not in Employment, Education or Training

The percentage of young people between the ages of 15-24 who leave school early without being in education, training or employment is high compared with the average in OECD countries (15.5% compared with 10.7% for 2018).

Non-formal education/training:

Prior to Higher Education is the Post-Secondary Education, which is ungraded and is divided into:

›Public and private Vocational Training Institutes (IEK) (ISCED) 4), which are formal ungraded educational establishments providing training in individual specialties in two-year cycles.

›Private colleges which provide specialised curricula and training and

›Lifelong Learning Centres (KDBM), which provide continuous vocational training and general education for adults. Lifelong learning centres are designed for adults, the employed and unemployed, and in cooperation with the Organisation for Employment of the Workforce (OAED), aim to facilitate personal development as well as entry or re-entry into the job market. Most of the programmes are funded by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the European Social Fund (ESF).

Special Education

So as to ensure equal access of opportunities and information to all children in the Greek Education System, organised Integration Classes are provided as well as educational services giving parallel support to pupils with disabilities and/or special educational needs.

For the higher levels, there are Single Special Vocational Gymnasia and Lykeia as well as Special Vocational Education Workshops.

3. Higher education

Higher (Tertiary)Educationis the third level in the formal education system (ISCED 6). ISCED 5 is not provided in Greece). It is to be noted that the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens was established in 1837, and that there are many university faculties and academies in Greece that date back more than 100 years.

Admission is based on annual written examinations. Higher education includes the University Faculties, Polytechnics, School of Fine Arts, School of Pedagogical and Technological Education (ASPETE), the Military Academies, the Police and Security Forces’ Academies and Ecclesiastical Schools. The Hellenic Open University, a distance education establishment offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses, does not require any examinations, but the payment of fees.

As regards those entering tertiary education, Greece ranks 4th among OECD countries (2017) for the ages 19-22, with women accounting for 52% of those entering university. Also according to OECD data for 2018, the percentage of those between 25-34 years old graduating from Tertiary Education comes to 42.8%, which is close to the OECD average of 44.48%.

Post-graduate courses are also offered at the International Hellenic University.

DOATAP (Hellenic National Academic Recognition Information Centre) is the competent body for the recognition of degrees from foreign universities and technological institutes and for the provision of information relating to higher studies abroad and in Greece.

Greece has an important cultural and historical heritage, with a large number of historic sites, artefacts, festivals and exhibitions which integrate the past into the present. There are archaeological sites and interesting museums throughout Greece.

Greece is a real paradise for cultural tourism, and the ideal place for taking a long journey into history and art. Educational tours, theatrical performances, pilgrimages, visits to archaeological sites, monuments and museums, excursions to study the natural environment, folk culture and art are just some of the things Greece has to offer in the field of cultural tourism.

Greek culture is the result of the fermentation of elements and influences from the east, west, north and south over a very long period of time. The paths of the great civilisations of the Mediterranean basin intersected in Greece and left their indelible mark. However, the final result was much greater than the sum of its separate parts. The course of history and the crossing of the Hellenic spirit with influences from other cultures produced the rich mosaic of traditions, artistic achievement and outlook that make Greek civilisation unique.

The Greeks, as a people, have always been open to influences and experimentation. Eagerness to preserve elements of the past alternates with an appetite for novelty and innovation in all areas of life – that is what makes Greek culture unique, a uniqueness and a quality that are recognised throughout the modern world, with specific points of reference that are unsurpassed even today in the entire history of human civilisation.

Greece’s cultural heritage includes all those monuments which are distinguished by their originality, authenticity and historical significance, and by the quality of the message that they pass on from one era to the next. The historical, Christian and archaeological monuments of great artistic interest, and all the material and spiritual elements of traditional culture, such as customs and traditions, are all part of this heritage.

Most areas of Greece have important museums containing a wealth of archaeological exhibits. The new Acropolis Museum, opposite the sacred rock and with a view of the Parthenon, was opened in June 2009.

During your stay in Greece you will discover many different things you can do to enjoy your free time (there is something to satisfy all appetites and tastes) whether on an island or in the city. For shopping seek out traditional markets or well-known fashion houses; for those seeking luxury there are relaxation and care centres; sample traditional taverns next to the sea or mountain, or visit cinemas and theatres which offer a diverse range of remarkable performances.

Greece is primarily renowned for its particularly intense, multi-faceted night-life, which is not limited to weekends alone, and unlike the rest of Europe, entertainment continues until the morning.

Visitors can enjoy a pleasant stay and also savour unforgettable experiences. That will happen if, in addition to getting to know the country’s culture, idyllic countryside, and Greek culinary tradition, visitors experience the unique Greek way of life.

Touring the Greece of Dionysus and savouring the country’s select wines is one trend which is winning over people’s hearts. Fans of the country’s fine wines and spirits follow wine routes, allowing them to get to know more about the Greek countryside while tracking down wonderful, liquid treasures.

As they explore these charming routes, they also get to know local culture. The small villages dotted around the vineyards, traditional guest houses and venues serving authentic Greek cuisine are a world full of pleasures and emotions.

The Greeks love song, folk and popular dancing and like enjoying those things at entertainment venues.

In the summer, there are many song and music festivals and theatre performances of classical comedies and tragedies, as well as contemporary works held in various cities and towns, particularly ancient theatres, most notably at ancient Epidavros.

There are also touring theatre companies which present performances of Greek and European works in different cities in Greece.

In the 2019-2020 season in Athens, 95 theatres and 138 cinemas were in operation.

Greece also has a lot of music halls, restaurants and night clubs and offers, in general, a vibrant night life. The relatively good weather enables the Greeks to get out and about and mix socially.

Throughout Greece, and especially in the large cities, there is a great variety of theatres, cinemas, local cultural centres, art and modern sculpture exhibitions, as well as music schools, which entertain while at the same time showcasing habits, modes of thought and behaviour from which will spring a new culture and Weltanschauung as way of life.

There are many ways of making the best possible use of one’s free time in Greece. Opening hours for shops vary from place to place and are set by the trade association in each city. However, usually shops are open every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 09:00 until 15:00 and every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00-14:00 and from 17:30-21:00. In tourist areas shops stay open all day. In addition to going to traditional markets and supermarkets, having an outdoor meal in a traditional taverna or a coffee on the beach or mountain spot is always a great pleasure.

Water activities: Nearly all Greek waters are suitable for diving. Ideal spots are Monastiri (Paros), Palaiokastritsa (Corfu) and all beaches on Kastelorizo. There are diving schools on Corfu, Evia, Leros, Santorini, Milos, Paros, Rhodes and in Glyfada (near Athens).

Windsurfing or water-skiing lessons are available on most beaches. The price for renting equipment ranges from EUR 15 to EUR 90.

Climbing: Greece is a mountainous country and therefore ideal for mountaineering and rock climbing. Local mountaineering associations can be found in many countries and their activities are available to all those who express an interest.

Cycling: Cycling has become very popular in recent years. This is probably due to the fact that there are over 4 000 km of coastal roads in Greece. Bicycles can be hired by the day. Moreover, a number of people like to use their bicycle as a basic means of transport. Bicycles can be transported by train and by boat. Some travel agencies specialise in offering cycling tours.

Greece is a colourful land packed with amazing countryside, culture and beauty. It has an endless network of cycle routes on mountains, islands, plains and coastlines, making cycling an exciting experience. However, it also has certified destinations, certified hotels, travel agencies and cycling companies focused on serving cyclists.

The “Bike Friendly” certification mark, a scheme run by the Ministry of Tourism, means fans of cycling will enjoy a unique level of service. A network of certified destinations and businesses marked “Bike Friendly” is available to visitors who want to learn more about Greece’s countryside, culture and architecture from the wheels of a bike!

Skiing: Greece is one of Europe’s most affordable skiing destinations. There are 16 ski resorts in Greece. The most famous are the ski resorts of Parnassos, located 195 km north-west of Athens, and Vermio, 110 km from Thessaloniki. The ski season in Greece lasts from January to April.

Rafting: For those who enjoy adventure, rafting has become very popular in recent years, and many rivers in Greece, such as Acheron, Voidomatis, Acheloos and Arachthos, are suited for such a pursuit.

Mountain climbing/trekking: Mainland Greece is crossed by the European path E4 (- GR) which, starting from the Pyrenees, arrives in Greece via Northern Macedonia at the Nikis border post in Florina. The E4 passes through the Peloponnese and ends at Gythio but then continues on Crete. This gives mountaineers the chance to get to know the diversity of the Greek landscape and the wealth of the Greek countryside in its entirety.

The highest altitude on the overall route is Skolio peak on Mt. Olympus (2,911 m). The ideal period for trekking on the E4 path in Greece is 15 May to early October. Frequently, new openings of forest roads can result in mountaineers becoming confused. Some villages along the route are uninhabited in winter, meaning that places for overnight stays are limited. The climate is Mediterranean and tends to be very dry in the summer and there is a major difference in temperature between day and night. The period one can encounter snow along the length of the route is November to June. The route along the southern section of the Path (Peloponnese and Crete) is much easier than the one in the north and can be accessed all year round because the climate there is milder.

Other activities include cruises, sky-diving, excursions, visits to museums and monasteries, etc.

 Text last edited on: 07/2021

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