I am employed in Greece. What are my rights?
Being informed about your rights and obligations as a worker is very important. You will avoid making mistakes, and you can protect yourself if needed.
The Employment Contract
An employment contract is a written form used in labor law to ensure rights and responsibilities between parties. The contract is between an "employee" and an "employer". The contract is the only way to claim your employment rights (including your salary, working hours and other benefits).
There are 2 types of contracts depending on the duration: The fixed term contract (duration is specified and agreed in advance) and the open-ended contract (with no time limit). There is also full-time employment (8 or 6 hours per day /40 hours per week) and part-time employment (less than 8 hours per day /less than 40 hours per week).
A valid contract must be signed by both the employer and the employees (1 copy should be available for the employee). Before you sign a contract, it is very important to read it first and be sure that all information is included.
Successive are those fixed-term employment contracts or relationships drawn up between the employer and the worker on the same or similar employment terms and no period longer than forty-five (45) days intervening between them, including non-working days.
What does a contract usually include?
- The full identity of the employer and the employee
- The place of work
- The duration of the employment contract
- The duration of the regular daily and weekly employment
- The kind of work that the employee will provide
- The salary that will be paid for their services
- All the kinds of remuneration the employee is entitled to
- Any amendment to the terms of the employment contract
Without an official contract with your employer, you cannot have access to: a) basic health and social insurance, b) the public employment organization (ΟΑΕΔ), c) other social welfare benefits (such as family benefits etc.) and d) you are not covered for any accident and illness expenses or maternity leave.
Conversion from fixed term to open-ended contract
The unrestricted renewal of successive fixed-term employment contracts is allowed only if justified by an objective reason. An objective reason includes, in particular, if it is justified by the form or the type or the activity of the employer or the company or by special reasons or needs, provided that such elements result directly or indirectly from the relevant contract, such as the temporary replacement of an employee, the performance of tasks of a temporary nature, a temporarily increased workload, or the fixed term must be linked to education or training, or must have the purpose of facilitating a worker’s transition to comparable work or is taking place for the implementation of a specific project or programme, or is linked to a particular event or refers to the field of air transport companies and companies performing activities relating to the provision of airport ground and flight services.
In any event, the reasons justifying the renewal of the fixed-term employment contract or relationship must be indicated in the relevant agreement of the parties, which must be concluded in writing or be derived directly from it. In the absence of any objective reason and if the duration of successive fixed-term employment contracts or relationships exceeds three (3) years in total or if the number of renewals exceeds three (3) in number, regardless of the years of employment, it will be presumed that the employer intended to cover fixed and permanent needs of the company or enterprise with the consequence that they are converted into contracts or employment relationships of indefinite duration. The burden of proving otherwise in any case falls upon the employer.
A typical full-time job includes:
- 40 hours for 5-day work (8 hours/day) or 40 hours for 6-day work (6 ½ hours/day). 40-48 hours is called overwork, and an extra 20% is added to the normal hourly wage for every additional hour.
- 48+ and up to 120 hours (per year) is called overtime and is allowed only for specific activities that are considered to be urgent. An extra 40% is added to the normal hourly wage for every additional hour.
- 120+ hours of overtime work per year are paid with the hourly wages, plus 60%.
- Work on Sundays and official Holidays are entitled to an extra charge of 75% of the hourly wage, and work at night, to an extra 25%.
Payment is generally made after the work is performed. The usual is once a month, on the first days of each month. Common calculation of a salary (for a full-time job): 12 monthly instalments plus 1 salary as a Christmas bonus, ½ salary as an Easter Bonus, and ½ salary as a holiday bonus.
If you are hired as an employee in Greece and work full time (40 h/5 days), the minimum wage starts from 663 euros per month. If you are a worker and you agree to get paid by the day, the minimum daily payment you can get starts from 29.62 euros.
In both cases, depending on your previous working experience in the same employer, the minimum monthly wage and minimum daily payment rise. After 2017 all employers have an obligation to deposit their wage and the daily payment in a bank account.
The above-mentioned amounts are before tax and social security deductions. This is called gross salary and is the one that is mentioned inside your contract. The salary you receive in your bank account is called net salary. To calculate your net salary, you can use this online tool.
Before you can get paid for work in Greece, you must get a bank account. Find out how to get a bank account.
The amount of tax you pay depends on:
- Your monthly pay at your job
- If you are married and if your spouse is employed
- Other sources of income, including second jobs
- Your assets
- Other factors
The government automatically deducts your tax and social security contributions from your pay. Your full salary is shown in your contract and E3 (declaration of employment), but what comes to you is the net salary, which is the amount that remains after the government automatically deducts your tax and social security contributions from your pay. You can calculate your net salary here
Payroll Certificate / Pay slip
The Payroll Certificate is a document that is provided by the employer to the employee (usually at the end of every month or the beginning of the next) and indicates the gross amount of the salary, the taxes withheld, and the net amount of the salary. This must be signed by the employee and be kept as a copy.
The right to annual vacation and holidays is protected by Greek labor law. The days of leave you are entitled still depend on the duration (months) you have worked at the same employer. The following example is based on a full-time job:
- 12 months of employment -> 20 days of vacation leave
- Second year of employment -> 21 days of vacation leave
- Third year or more -> 22 days of vacation leave
- More than 10 years -> 25 days of vacation leave
- The employer is obliged to grant the annual legal vacation to the employee before the termination of the year, even if the employee has not asked for it.
When you take leave because you are sick (sick leave), your employer must give you sick pay.
- For the first three days, you are out sick, your employer must pay you at least half your regular daily pay.
- If you are sick for more than three days, you must go through the Greek National Health System to get paid. Ask your human resources department for more information or you need to fill out a form (available also online) and complete the process to receive your salary for the days you have been absent.
Female employees are entitled to 17 weeks of maternity leave which is broken down to 8 weeks before the expected date of childbirth and 9 weeks thereafter. The leave is paid usually by the minimum wage. A working mother is entitled for a period of 30 months as of the end of maternity leave, either to come to work 1 hour later or depart 1 hour earlier each day.
Alternatively, you can agree with your employer to work for 2 hours less per day for the first 12 months and 1 hour less for the next 6 months or you can receive an approximately 3 months’ continuous paid leave.
For 119 days after birth. To get this, you need to have formally worked for 200 days in the last two years before childbirth and not be working when the allowance is paid.
This allowance is provided only once. You must have worked for at least 50 days from March 1st of every year and for 12 months to receive this.
A type of payment and insurance for employees who are not employed in stable employer like housekeeping services, gardening, babysitting and transporting children, providing support to people with disabilities or the elderly or people with mobility difficulties, repairing that is not related to constructions, private lessons, beauty services, cleaning and gardening services of communal areas, distribution of commercial flyers and brochures promotion of facial and body products, promotion of consumer products.
Ergosimo is issued as a check and corresponds to a specific monetary value, not less than 5 euros, which includes the amount of the employee's remuneration and the amount of the EFKA contribution. The issue and redemption are done by the certified bodies (ELTA (post office), banks, KEP and EFKA departments). The Employer or his authorized representative is exclusively obliged to issue it. The trademark must be redeemed by the employee within four (4) months from the date of its issue.
Compensation in case of dismissal/when fired
- No compensation is paid to the employee for less than 12 months of work.
- Compensation is limited to the half sum if there is a release notice before
- Within the compensation dismissal, the vacations payment is included
- Compensation is always calculated and paid with the employee’s gross earnings
Dismissal is not allowed:
- When the employee is on a regular leave
- When the employee is on maternity leave
- When the employee is pregnant
- For 18 months after having given birth
- For legitimate trade union action
- Due to non-acceptance of an employer proposal to modify full-time employment to part or to occasional employment.
- The dismissal is invalid if it is announced verbally to the employee or if the employer does not pay the compensation or does not reimburse it entirely.
- In case of a fixed-term contract, this is automatically terminated on the last date of employment. The employer is not obliged to compensate the employee when leaving. However, a certificate of contract termination is given.
Once you have a job, you must get an National Insurance Number (AMA Number) by EFKA. After a few months, you can use this number to get health insurance. Learn more: Getting a National Insurance Registration Number (AMA)
Pensions in Greece are funded by workers’ and employers’ social security contributions.
Pensions depend on the number of working days (ensima/stamps). When you work full-time in Greece, you earn 25 ensima/stamps a month. These ensima/stamps are added up throughout your working life. When you reach the minimum retirement age and the minimum number of ensima/stamps, you can get your pension.
Your employer should keep track of your stamps for you.
Your employer must provide you with a signed “declaration of employment” form on your first day. If you don’t get one, ask. Your employer keeps a copy, and you keep a copy.
Your employer must stamp all your official documents with the company stamp.
If you have any more questions or are unsure about the information provided by your employer, please contact a lawyer or the Labour Inspection Corps.
What can I do If I have a contract but am not paid?
- Claim your salaries through the court (be careful! There is a 6-month deadline)
- If you have not been paid for at least 2 months – inform your employer formally that you will stop working until you receive payment.
- Notify your employer that you consider yourself fired due to a unilateral detrimental change of working conditions and require compensation from the employer and an unemployment allowance from OAED.
- File a complaint at the Hellenic Labor Inspectorate
What can I do if I am discriminated at my workplace
You can file a complaint at:
- The Hellenic Labor Inspectorate
- The Greek Ombudsman (the national equality body with a mandate to combat discrimination and promote the principle of equal treatment irrespective of gender, racial or ethnic origin, family or social status, religion or belief, disability or chronic disease, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender characteristics)
In case there is evidence proving either a breach of equal treatment or anti-discrimination provisions, legal consequences are imposed.