The Labor Ministry bill that Minister Kostis Hatzidakis presented on Wednesday provides for significant changes to individual and collective labor legislation, with clauses in favor of flexibility, for the modernization and adjustment of domestic law to new economic, social and technological developments, special provisions for workers and regulations aimed at increasing the competitiveness of Greek enterprises.
Headlined by the option for the arrangement of work hours on an individual basis under certain conditions, the draft law incorporates 129 articles with interventions such as the introduction of an electronic labor card to contain undeclared employment and monitor social security contribution dodgers.
It also leads to tectonic changes in the areas of unions, industrial action and protection from dismissals.
Among the bill’s key provisions is the conversion of the Labor Inspection Squad (that is abolished in its current form) into an independent authority, as it is expected to play a key role in the new labor landscape. Its mission will be to implement strict and objective checks aimed at preventing unfair competition and foul play by employers.
The bone of contention is the clause on work hour arrangements, which makes it clear that where there is no union or any agreement between the union and the employer, the flexible eight-hour work shift can apply, but only after a request by the employee. The eight-hour day, and the five-day and 40-hour workweek are reaffirmed, and in any case where employers cannot dismiss workers for not agreeing to a working time arrangement.
In case a contract is ended before the use of days off or leave (partly or in full), the worker is entitled to compensation counting the additional time worked as overtime. Hatzidakis said this is in line with a European directive since 2019.
The bill further allows for a four-day workweek and raises the ceiling of allowed overtime to 150 hours per annum, thereby leveling up the limit of industry with that of other sectors.