A controversial Greek law that enables employers to compel their employees to work six days a week will kick in from this July 1.

About the Law

The law was passed by the Greek Parliament with 158 out of 300 votes in the autumn of 2023, supported by New Democracy legislators.

At the time, the Greek government said that the country was incorporating an EU directive into national law, and that the move would provide greater flexibility to both employers and workers, meanwhile combatting undeclared work.

The Details

Article 25 of 5053/2023 says that full-time workers (those working 5 days per week for 8 hours per day), can start working a 6th day per week.

Specifically, workers can be compelled by their employers to work for a 6th day in exchange for an additional 40% of their daily wage.

Employers will also be able to offer new workers a six-month probationary period and fire them without compensation during the first year.

Moreover, they can call an employee into work on their day off with just a 24-hour notice.

Employees will also be allowed to have a second part-time job and work up to 13 hours per day, meaning they can clock between 65-78 hours per work.

How it will work from July 1

Employers must declare the 6th day of work in the country’s digital system recording employment called Ergani II.

In the event of an inspection, inspectors will ask employers for records related to their declarations in Ergani II.

The framework forbids workers from exceeding 8 hours of work per day, and also working overtime.

All companies will now have the option of 6-day contracts with employees, a framework that was previously limited to the food and beverage and tourism sectors.

The Context

At the time, the law drew a sharp reaction from the political opposition and unions, saying that it will just lead to the further exploitation of workers on account of what some legislators called “non-existent” labor inspections.

In response, the Greek Minister of Labor said, “We will not tolerate any breaches of labor law. All workers must be compensated for and will be compensated for the hours they work, not a minute less.”

Other political parties say it will lead to the further destruction of the family, as both parents may be working 6 days in a week in a country where affordable childcare is also virtually nonexistent.

Considering the above on an EU level, according to a 2023 Eurostat report, Greeks already work the longest hours during the week out of all EU countries, at an average of 41 hours per week.