Greeks balk at overtime

Overtime work does not appear to be popular in Greece, but the country shows the highest concentration of overtime hours by the same employees, in comparison to other European countries, where it is much more widely diffused. The above conclusion is drawn from data as part of Eurostat’s Manpower Survey, as cited in the Labor Market Yearbook 2005, published by Greece’s Employment Monitor of the Manpower Organization (OAED). According to the survey, only 5 percent of Greeks work overtime, against an average of 16 percent in the old 15-member EU. The Netherlands has the highest rate at 35 percent, and Spain the lowest, 3 percent. However, those Greeks that do work overtime do more time on average, about 11 hours weekly, against a 15-EU average of nine hours. Austrians put in the least overtime, 5.5 hours. The survey refutes a widely held view that overtime work in Greece is only, or mainly, unpaid. That phenomenon seems to be widespread in all member states, with France in the lead (77 percent of overtime work unpaid). Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK and Spain follow. Germany appears the most responsible in this regard (with only 5.3 percent of overtime unpaid), followed by Italy. Greece’s rate of unpaid overtime is 20 percent, against a 15-EU average of 42.5 percent. According to the survey, the incidence of unpaid overtime is most frequent among senior executives and scientists, and least frequent among unskilled workers. In all the countries cited, overtime work is more common among men than it is among women.

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