ECONOMY

Overtime and work on Sunday are on the rise

If the extent of part-time employment and Sunday work are indicators of flexibility in the labor market, then Greece’s labor market is slowly but steadily becoming more flexible, according to the annual report by the Labor Inspectorate for 2002. Overtime work is also becoming more common, especially in banks, information technology firms, construction, retail commerce, the food and beverage sector, energy and telecommunications. Working on Sunday is also expanding, especially in construction, but also in banks and retail commerce. On the other hand, the report shows that Greek enterprises did not take advantage of a legal provision allowing them to extend employees’ work hours seasonally in return for a lighter work schedule in the off-season. Only four such agreements with employees were concluded. The Ministry of Labor plans to modify the law on overtime, trying to make it more flexible. At present, any work over 43 hours a week is automatically considered overtime and is remunerated accordingly. The new law is expected to be passed by September. Overtime in several sectors increased significantly and the increase is not the result of growth. In banks, for example, overtime increased by just over 30 percent. The report merely records the fact, but this increase may have been a one-off effect from the introduction of euro coins and banknotes. The number of workers working on Sundays rose to an average of 139,478 in 2002, from 117,422 in 2001. Many of the additional workers are immigrants working on big infrastructure projects, including Olympics-related projects. These numbers are expected to rise significantly this year, as work on the latter goes on around the clock in order to meet tight deadlines. The report shows a significant decline in the incidence of work-related accidents. In 1997, 3.81 percent of all employees had suffered at least one such accident. In 1999, this was reduced to 0.99 percent. However, there is no data on incidences beyond 1999. On the other hand, there has been an increase in deaths at the workplace. In 2002, 153 workers died, 40 of them immigrants. The number of immigrants dying at work as a result of an accident has doubled since 2000.