Discover Greece

Work, work, work!

September 1, 2023

Moving to Greece with your brand-new job? Well, great times are ahead of you, you have many things to look absolutely forward to. Prior to the final signatures though, there are some work-related matters you need to have a clear understanding of. Knowing and acknowledging the details and the culture surrounding working life, working time, vacation, holidays, overtime, minimum wage, and the types of employment contracts available is crucial for you to know what to expect and negotiate accordingly.

Working Time and Regulations

As is applicable in most countries of the EU, the standard working time set in Greece is 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. This workload is typically divided into five days, from Monday to Friday. The concept of a midday break is well respected in Greece and often the retail shops follow a working day that is split in two, unlike most office jobs. This is a useful insight not only on your working duties but also on your shopping habits, especially in the countryside. 

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Vacation and Holidays

Holidays are a very important aspect of Greek culture! An aspect that is greatly underlined by Greek labor law which is very strict around providing adequate time to rest and recharge. Employees are entitled to a minimum of 20 days of paid annual leave and each employer is obliged by law to offer two of these weeks consecutively. This comes to show that work-life balance and quality of life are very widely respected. It is important to note that after 4 years of continuous service with the same employer, the holiday days increase to 24. In addition to their annual leave, Greek employees also benefit from a range of public holidays. These holidays include both fixed dates, such as Christmas and New Year’s Day, as well as movable religious holidays such as Easter, that are based on the Greek Orthodox calendar. It is important to note that in case an employer abuses these regulations, a worker in Greece will find many ways he/ she can report any wrongdoings and can be compensated accordingly.

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Overtime Regulations 

According to labor law, strict overtime regulations are in place in order to protect employees from excessive work hours and to ensure fair compensation for additional work. In Greece, the standard overtime limit is set at 8 hours per week, with a maximum of 2 hours per day. Overtime compensation is higher than regular pay, reaching up to 95% of the agreed pay, incentivizing employers to manage workloads efficiently, minimizing the need for excessive overtime, and hiring more employees when the workload is too intense.

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in Greece is subject to periodic revisions and is determined by negotiations between employers’ associations, employee unions, and the government. Currently, it stands at €780.00 although there are different minimum wage levels depending on the sector and age group. The main goal behind a set minimum wage is to establish a baseline level of compensation that allows employees to meet their basic needs and maintain a decent standard of living. 

Which contract is best?

Well, that depends greatly on you and the level of flexibility you would require! Always keep in mind that the labor law offers many options and you can negotiate accordingly with your employer.

Open-ended (Permanent) Contracts: These contracts have no fixed end date and provide employees with a higher level of job security. They are the most common type of contract in Greece.

Part-time Contracts: Part-time contracts are available for employment settings that require fewer hours than the standard 40-hour week employment. Normally they have defined or rotating hours, offering you the opportunity to have more flexible working conditions. The compensation and working rights are proportional to those of full-time workers. 

Temporary Contracts: Similar to Fixed-term Contracts, Temporary employment contracts are used for specific tasks or replacement positions, for instance, due to maternity leave. They are designed to offer flexibility to both the employer and the employee but they have limitations concerning their renewal and their duration. 

Apprenticeship Contracts: Recent graduates or those who embark on a completely new career can benefit greatly from this type of contract. They are designed for people who would like to learn a trade or a skill and gain a quick insight into a new industry and they often combine on-the-job training with formal education. According to the Greek labor law the apprenticeships are always paid, although at a lower wage level than full employment.

Remote Work Contracts: A very recent development for the country, as remote working was virtually unknown before COVID-19. Due to the strict regulations during that period, many workers were obliged to work from home and were unwilling to return to the office afterward, creating a revolutionary new trend that is still going on. Naturally, these contracts are applicable only for certain positions that rely entirely on internet connection and can be performed from a distance. 

Is it hard to land your dream job in Greece? 

Greece has a very vibrant and competitive job market and you will certainly find ample opportunities that fit your skills and educational background. It is important to always keep in mind that the country has in place a set of rules and relevant public organizations that define in detail every aspect of the working life and are there to protect you. Above all, no matter what your experience is, you should always try to negotiate your salary and your working conditions in order to reach a setup that makes you feel comfortable and offers you the quality of life you aspire to.