ECONOMY

Flexible work’s safety clauses

Labor bill to enhance protection for workers in relation to the arrangement of shift length

flexible-work-s-safety-clauses

The so-called flexible eight-hour workday will be implemented with two safety clauses in case there is no agreement with the union of a company or there is no union at all.

According to the final text on the issue being included in the labor bill, which has been seen by Kathimerini, the request for a flexible workday will have to come from the employee instead of the employer and as employee cannot be laid off for refusing to agree to any demands for a different working arrangement.

The flexible shift arrangement has been provided for since 1990, and according to the existing legal framework an employee may work up to 10 hours a day for a period of intensive production, making up for the additional hours with a shorter day or a day off later, without seeing any changes in salary. Such an arrangement must be agreed through company-specific collective labor contracts or via an agreement between the employer and the company’s union.

The new amendment seeks to tackle cases where there is no union or agreement to begin with and one or more employees wish to make such an arrangement. In practice this does not constitute a means to increase working time, such as overtime, but a method for offsetting the longer working day over a period with fewer hours at another time.

Although this Labor Ministry bill constitutes an important reform, with interventions in several sensitive domains aimed at adapting the local labor market to European financial and technological standards, domestic political interest has focused on the flexible workday.

Minister Kostis Hatzidakis says the bill attempts to address injustices and respond to real problems. “We want to lay the groundwork for the increase of incomes and improve the balance between personal and professional time,” he says.

The above clause that has stirred so much political acrimony before even being published, belongs to the draft bill that will likely be published this week. The objective of the ministry is to have it ratified by June 10.