Greece Introduces Six-Day Working Week Amid Economic Growth Push

Greece Introduces Six-Day Working Week Amid Economic Growth Push

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Greece has implemented a new legislation ushering in a six-day working week, effective from July 1st, aimed at revitalising economic growth. Under the new rules, workers in industries operating on a 24-hour basis can opt to work up to 48 hours per week, up from the standard 40 hours. This change is voluntary for employees, who will receive an additional 40% pay for overtime hours worked.

The move by the Greek government contrasts with trends in other parts of Europe and the United States, where shorter working weeks, such as the popular four-day work model, are gaining traction. Advocates of shorter workweeks argue that reducing hours can enhance productivity and improve employee well-being.

Excluded from Greece’s extended workweek policy are sectors crucial to the country’s economy, including tourism and the food industry. The government aims to tackle undeclared work and tax evasion with this initiative, as reported by Greek public broadcaster ERTNews.

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Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis defended the policy, describing it as “worker-friendly,” and “deeply growth-oriented”. He also said that “It brings Greece in line with the rest of Europe.”

However, this move diverges from the trend towards greater flexibility in working hours seen globally since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The European Union’s “working time directive” mandates member states to cap weekly working hours, including overtime, at 48 hours.

Greece’s economic recovery efforts have been marked by challenges stemming from the 2008 financial crisis, necessitating stringent fiscal policies and international bailouts.

While some countries explore shorter workweeks with promising results, Greece’s shift to a longer workweek reflects its unique economic context and policy priorities in the post-crisis era.

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Melissa Enoch

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