Greece begins six-day workweeks for some industries

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By Creative Media News

  • Greece adopts optional six-day workweek
  • Aims to curb tax evasion and boost growth
  • Contrasts with Europe’s trend towards four-day weeks

Greece has implemented a six-day workweek for certain industries to spur economic growth.

New legislation, which took effect at the beginning of July, permits employees to work up to 48 hours per week rather than 40.

It only applies to enterprises that run 24 hours a day and is optional for employees, who are paid an additional 40% for any overtime.

However, the Greek government’s decision is at odds with workplace culture elsewhere in Europe and the United States, where four-day work weeks are growing more typical.

Firms that adopt these rules often argue that working fewer hours improves productivity and employee well-being.

According to Greek state broadcaster ERTNews, Greece’s six-day working week plan is intended to prevent undeclared work, which leads to tax evasion.

The policy excludes tourist-related enterprises and the food industry.

According to the Guardian, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated that the “nucleus of this legislation is worker-friendly; it is deeply growth-oriented”.

“And it brings Greece in line with the rest of Europe.”

The EU’s “working time directive” mandates member states to guarantee a 48-hour limit on weekly working hours, including overtime.

The late-2000s global financial crisis devastated Greece, leaving the country with catastrophic debts due to high public spending and extensive tax evasion.

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Mr Mitsotakis has been credited with successfully restoring the economy’s growth after the crisis, which led Greece to seek three international bailouts.

However, regarding working patterns, Greece is trending in the opposite direction as other countries.

Since the Covid epidemic, employers have embraced flexible working practices, and several have tried four-day weeks with no pay loss.

According to academics, trials of a four-day week in Iceland were an “overwhelming success” and resulted in many workers changing to shorter hours. Productivity remained constant or improved in most firms.

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