Controversial six-day workweek begins for some Greek businesses

Controversial six-day workweek begins for some Greek businesses

From July 2024, more businesses in Greece will be able to impose a six-day workweek on their employees. The measure applies to businesses that provide 24/7 services or those experiencing an extraordinary workload.

Under the new labour law, private sector workers could be going into the office six days a week, as the 48-hour workweek comes into effect.

Select industrial and manufacturing facilities, along with businesses offering 24/7 services, are eligible to extend the workweek beyond five days. However, food service and tourism workers are exempt from longer workweeks.

This change means an employee's 40-hour workweek could extend to 48 hours per week.

The measure has sparked outrage among Greek employees, who argue it takes the country back to a time of limited labour rights. Many highlight that other countries are moving towards a four-day workweek.

Employees will receive 40% extra pay for their sixth day of work or 115% more if they work on Sundays. Despite this, many -especially the younger generation - prioritise their health and work-life balance which they argue the new law has the potential to jeopardise.

Economists point out that the biggest issue with the Greek economy is the productivity of working hours. According to data from the European Commission, nominal labour productivity per working hour in Greece is approximately 40% lower than the European average. Contributing factors include a lack of investment in new technologies, inadequately skilled human resources, and excessive bureaucracy burdening Greek entrepreneurship.

Eurostat data for 2023 shows that the average working week in Greece is 39.8 hours, the highest in the European Union, followed by Poland and Cyprus. The European average is 36.1 hours per week, with the Netherlands having the fewest hours at 32.2 hours per week.

Watch the full report in the player above.