ECONOMY

Gov’t to raise limit of group lay-offs from 5 to 10 pct

The government appears set to change the legal clause for the lay-off limit of 5 percent on a monthly basis for enterprises with more than 150 employees, Deputy Labor Minister Vassilis Kegeroglou confirmed in response to a question in Parliament on Thursday.

“Reality has overcome the existing legal framework,” said the deputy minister. “Extraordinary conditions call for a different approach,” he noted, citing the case of the Sprider Stores retail chain, which closed at the beginning of this month, to note that the government indeed needs to table a legislative amendment in Parliament to deal with this category of employees.

According to the deputy minister, a study is being compiled by the International Labor Office, the permanent secretariat of the International Labor Organization (ILO), which will be delivered to the government within November, for Athens to examine and decide accordingly.

So it seems that those who have recently been speaking of the limit being raised to 10 percent, which is also the average limit in the European Union, may be proved correct. It also appears to be one of the government’s commitments to its creditors, according to the agreement signed with them.

Kegeroglou’s statements came in response to SYRIZA MP Maria Bolari, who spoke of the abuse of Article 99 of the bankruptcy code, which provides for the protection of debtors from their creditors, as enterprises go bankrupt and prevent their employees from laying claim even to the modest severance pay they would have been entitled to.

Kegeroglou responded that there ought to be a close inspection of the reasons which enterprises cite for resorting to Article 99. He also called for the involvement of the ministries of Development and Finance in examining under what circumstances a company should be able to seek protection under the article.