In a country suffering from a protracted economic crisis and high unemployment, part-time employment offers a solution to companies struggling to stay afloat. It has also doubled in size since the start of the financial meltdown, a report by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) shows.
Despite a significant spike witnessed in the last decade that has seen about one in 10 workers in Greece taking on a part-time job, this is roughly half the average rate in the 28 countries of the European Union, which comes to two in every 10 workers.
In its weekly bulletin yesterday, SEV noted that in a period of crisis part-time work may be obligatory for both enterprises and workers, but it is also becoming an increasingly growing practice all over the world, facilitating companies to better regulate their operational costs according to demand fluctuations. It also allows workers to select a type of employment that offers reduced hours.
With Greece being required to restructure its production model, SEV stresses that any expectations that emerging from the crisis will signal a drastic return to full-time from part-time employment are not only contrary to the international trend, but also put the future of local enterprises at risk.
“Technological developments and new production models are reversing entrenched conditions in the labor market, and enterprises that are not able to keep up with their international competitors in these changes will run the risk of closure,” SEV warned in its report.
Analysts say that the spike in part-time jobs, mainly across small enterprises, followed the reduction of the minimum wage in 2012 and resulted in a decline of average salaries. SEV says only an economic rebound will allow salaries to recover.
The Federation also stresses a “negative development” that may well have led to an increase in part-time employment, as certain sectors in the market – particularly in less organized enterprises – have witnessed practices of undeclared or partly undeclared labor.