Greece mandates 6-day workweek for some workers

Government attributes controversial law to skills shortage

Greece mandates 6-day workweek for some workers

Some employees in Greece will soon be asked to report to work six days a week following the implementation of a controversial law in the European country.

Under the law, select industrial and manufacturing facilities, as well as businesses offering 24-7 services, may extend their workweeks to 48 hours.

Exempted from this legislation are food service and tourism workers, Euro News reported.

According to the report, employees rendering work on their sixth day will get 40% extra pay, or an additional 115% if they decide to work on Sundays.

Or in lieu of a sixth day option, employees may also be asked to extend their regular workday for two hours instead.

They will also be permitted to voluntarily work a second job for another employer for five hours a day, in addition to their eight-hour full-time job, according to the law, as cited by Business Insider.

The new legislation comes despite shorter work weeks becoming more in demand across the world. In 2022, Belgium granted employees the right to ask for a four-day workweek as part of its post-pandemic labour reforms.

Reason for extended workweek

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis attributed the recent labour legislation to the country's shrinking population and shortage of skilled workers.

The government also said the measure will address the issue of unpaid overtime across Greece and the pervasive problem of undeclared work, The Guardian reported.

"The nucleus of this legislation is worker-friendly, it is deeply growth-oriented," Mitsotakis said as quoted by The Guardian. "And it brings Greece in line with the rest of Europe."

Criticism of 48-hour workweek

But the law was met with resistance from unions, who condemned the initiative as "barbaric."

Akis Sotiropoulos, an executive committee member of the civil servants' union Adedy, told The Guardian that the law "makes no sense whatsoever."

"When almost every other civilised country is enacting a four-day week, Greece decides to go the other way," Sotiropoulos said to the news outlet.

Aris Kazakos, professor emeritus of labour law in Thessaloniki, told Deutsche Welle that the new law will "kill off the five-day work week for good."

Kazakos further warned against giving employers the authority in setting the labour conditions of workers.

"Because the employer can dictate working conditions that are beneficial for him, this automatically means that labour relations become a regime of injustice, because anything in labour relations that benefits only one side can never been just," he told DW.

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