NEWS

Reasons for working long hours

It is difficult to estimate how many hours are worked in overtime, moonlighting and part-time work, since this flexibility occurs alongside an informal economy that verges on the illegal. The extra work hours are rarely imposed in a strictly legal fashion, which is why they are not recorded in official statistics, say researchers. Mavroudeas and Ioannidis say that more and more workers are forced to carry out unpaid overtime work for fear of losing their jobs during difficult times. In the Labor Inspectorate’s annual reports, references to «overstepping working hours» and «undeclared, unpaid overtime» are the order of the day. This mainly occurs in small businesses that comprise the majority in the private sector. Another phenomenon that increases real working time is subcontracting, that is, when a third party undertakes to carry out part of a firm’s work by using full- and part-time workers over long hours, for low wages and with no obligation to pay social security. Second jobs The same applies to second jobs. There are hardly any Greeks who have not taken on a second job at some stage – employees in the private or state sector who work after hours as an insurance salespeople or taxi drivers (there are about 20,000 of the latter in Greece), or workers in the provinces who have farms or who rent rooms. Self-employment is another reason for the increase in real working time, involving about 31 percent of Greeks, compared to the EU average of 14 percent and ahead of the Portuguese with 25 percent. In Denmark, the percentage is only 8 percent. And this is because wages in Greece are so low. People have to find some way to boost their incomes. According to a recent survey by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), salary levels are of vital interest to Greek employees (52 percent), followed by improved pensions (52.6 percent) and a reduction in working hours without a pay cut (10.6 percent).