Greece Employment Contracts

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Greece Employment Contracts

A successful business largely depends on its employees. By creating working contracts that include the right terms and benefits there will be no misconception and the perfect work-life balance can be created. At Bradford Jacobs, this is our aim, and we support companies in over a hundred countries with creating compliant and balanced labor contracts.

Our team in Greece keeps track of the Greek laws and regulations on a daily basis to be duly aware of updates that can be implemented in working contracts. By using our PEO and EOR service we can provide compliant labor contracts for employees in Greece including local benefits.

To support your plans in Greece we made this guide including the basics of employment contracts in Greece. After reading this guide you will know everything about social security in Greece, notice periods, and average working hours.

How Do Companies Hire Greek Employees?

If a foreign company is looking to hire resident employees as part of their expansion into Greece, they must comply with recruitment regulations such a tax, social security contributions and local employment laws, as well collaborate with or adhere to any collective bargaining, trade unions or work council agreements.

In Greece, employment contracts do not have to be present to the employees in writing to be valid. Except for specific contracts, it is not obligatory for an employment contract to be in writing. However, under the Labor Code, employers must inform employees of benefits, working hours, salaries, working hours and work schedule in writing.

Labor law in Greece is based on the principle of employee protection. The employment relationship and its terms are hierarchically determined by the Constitution, international treaties, the local labor law, collective employment agreements, employment rules and business practices, with the individual contract being last in the order.

According to the protection principle of Greece’s labor law, if opposing issues are regulated simultaneously by different hierarchical structures, the regulation most favorable for the employee will prevail. Thus, it is important for the employer to know the existing labor laws and employee entitlements, as well as collaborate with the appropriate local employment organizations. 

Collective agreements

Collective employment agreements are determined between employers’ and employees’ trade unions. These agreements regulate employment terms that comprise the minimum working conditions for the applicable employees. An agreement is applicable when both employer and employee are members of the contracting trade unions. There are different types of collective employment agreements:

  • Sectoral-collective agreements – cover employees working in the same sector.
  • Occupational-level agreements – cover employees engaging in the same occupation.
  • Enterprise-level agreements – cover all employees working for a single company.
  • National General Collective Agreements – shape the minimum terms of employment for employees nationwide regarding non-pay terms. 

Employment Contracts in Greece

In Greece, written employment contracts are not common practice. However, under the Labor Code (Presidential Decree 156/1994), employers must notify their employers of the material terms of the contract in writing.

This applies to both indefinite and fixed term contracts, as well as working relationships of a duration exceeding 1 month. This information must be provided for the employee no later than 2 months after they started work, in one of the following ways (chosen by the employer):

  • In an employment contract
  • In another document

The details that must be included in one of these documents are as follows:

  • Details of the contracting parties (employer and employee)
  • Place at which work is to be performed, the registered office of the company or the home address of the employer
  • The employee’s post and grade or employment category, and their work duties
  • The date of the commencement of the employment contract and its duration (if fixed term)
  • Paid leave entitlements (duration, time, manner)
  • Compensation payable and notice requirements in the event of contract termination
  • All forms of earnings to which the employee is entitled to
  • Employee’s daily and weekly working hours
  • Applicable collective agreement which establishes the employee’s minimum terms of wage and employment.

Failure to provide the employee with one of these documents results in a fine but does not invalidate the employment contract

Other employment forms

Besides employment contracts, there are other types of employment forms:

Work contracts (contractors): This contract type is mainly for contractors, which states the contractor’s tasks and payment terms (when part of the work or all the work is delivered). These types of contracts cease when the work is done.

Contracts for the provision of independent services (freelancers): This contract type is used when the work or the person under the service is not subject to the employer’s management/control.

Association contracts: This contract type is used when a joint grant is pursued with joint contributions.

Representation contracts: This contract type is used the employee acts on the general instructions of the employer, without working under the employer’s supervision or being bound to the regular working hours.

Termination of Contract

Employers are free to dissolve an employment contract of indefinite duration at any time, by giving notice of termination in writing, as well as paying the appropriate compensation. However, employers have the option to dismiss an employee without notice (known as an extraordinary termination), or they may do so with notice, in which case termination compensation is reduced by 50%. This, however, differs from fixed-term and work employment contracts, as with these contracts, the employer must justify the employee’s termination.

Regarding the employee’s termination rights, they are entitled to terminate a contract of indefinite duration and depart voluntarily from their employment but must give the employer due notice of the termination within the legally prescribed time limits.

Once the notice has been given from either the employer or employee, the employer must submit an electronic notification of the employment termination through the ERGANI information system, within 4 days of delivering/receiving the notice. Failure to submit the electronic notification to ERGANI shall incur penalties. If the employee does not sign the dismissal document, a notice is served to them by a bailiff. 

What Laws About Employment Exist in the Greece?

Greece does not have a labor law code, but its employment law is based on national legislation, collective bargaining, trade unions and work councils’ agreements and individual contracts between employers and employees. Therefore, companies must be aware where agreements (rather than legislation) apply to entitlements such as overtime, holidays, dismissal/termination, and severance payments.

However, there are laws governing certain elements of employment that must be followed. These include:

  • National Minimum Wage: a new mechanism for determining the minimum wage was introduced in June 2018 with Law 4564/2018. In 2019, the NMW was set at €758.30 (and has not changed).
  • Working Hours: Employers and employees may arrange working hours, and all changes are subject all parties’ consent under Greek Law 3385/2005 on Working Time Arrangements. However, the employee cannot waive their minimum working rights.
  • Health and Safety: The employer must ensure employees’ health and safety in all working aspects, as well as take measures to ensure third-party health and safety – as specified in the Code for Employee Health and Safety (Law 3850/2010).
  • Sick Pay: When an employee is sick, the employer is obligated to pay the employee half the wages due on the first 3 days of sickness, as per Emergency Law 178/1967. From the fourth day onwards, sick pay will be paid by The Greek Social Insurance Institute (IKA), under certain conditions.
  • The Second EU Data Protection Act: affects the data rights of EU employees.
  • Holiday Entitlement: Under Emergency Law 539/1945, holiday entitlement of a salaried employee depends on the length of employment.
  • Maternity Protection: Under Law 3996/2011, mothers are protected from contract termination during the length of their pregnancy, for a period of 18 months following labor, as well as absences due to the sickness resulting from pregnancy or labor. Employment can only be terminated for a specific reason and with increased formal requirements.
  • National General Collective Agreements: Under Law 4093/2012, the National General Collective Agreements are binding for all employees and employers across the country solely regarding non-pay terms.
  • Collective Agreements: Under Law 4046/2012, all collective agreements cannot be valid for more than 3 years maximum. After an agreement expires, employers and employees only have 3 months to renegotiate its renewal.
  • Probation: Under an employment contract for an indefinite term, the first 12 months of employment are considered the probationary period. During this time, the employer may terminate the employment contract without notice and without severance pay.
  • Termination: For an indefinite contract, notice and severance must be given upon dismissal/termination. In the case of a fixed-term employment contract or work contract, there must be a justified reason for termination (Article 672 of the Civil Code).

This complicated mix of legislation and collective agreements can make Greek employment regulations difficult to navigate without risking sanctions or fines for non-compliance.  

How Do You Onboard Greece Employees Internationally?

Considering whether to move existing employees into Greece or recruit new staff in-country is the first phase of a parent company’s plan to onboard employees in a new territory. You must then deal with attaining visas and work permits, as well as ensure compliance with all local laws and regulations at the risk of attracting fines and sanctions from Greek authorities. This takes up your time, money, and resources which can be of better use in other areas of your international establishment plan.

The most efficient and effective method of onboarding employees into Greece is through a global recruitment company such as Bradford Jacobs. Our Professional Employer Organization (PEO) and Employer of Record (EOR) services manage every stage of the process from finding the employee to seeing that their first cheque is paid on time. We can assure the right people in the right time and help you get the ball rolling on your business expansion plans.

Translating Greek Employment Contracts

When translating contracts, one must consider the nature of law and legal language, and their accompanying complexities in legal translations. In legal translations, employers must deal with two legal systems, as well as the cultural and linguistic differences between the source and target languages (base and expansive languages).

Legal systems have their own cultural, social, and linguistic structures. Incompatibility of these structures between the source and target languages are where the difficulties lie in translating legal documents. Translating a document without an understanding of the similarities and differences between both systems, the intention behind the translation, the knowledge of the legal writing style of the target language and the correct legal terminology can be dangerous and lead to serious consequences and proceedings. 

Partner with Bradford Jacobs

Our knowledge of all aspects of Greek employment laws make us the ideal partner for your expansion into Europe’s gateway to the Mediterranean, Africa, and Asia.

The global reach of our Professional Employer Organization (PEO) recruitment platforms combined with the in-country knowledge of our Employer of Record (EOR) specialist teams guarantee a successful and smooth transition.

To learn more about our PEO and EOR packages, contact our team today!