Engage In Greece

Table of Contents

About Greece

Capital City

Athens

Population

As of March 2024, the estimated population of Greece is 10.3 million.

Currency

The currency in Greece is the Euro (EUR). The currency symbol is €.

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Overview

Greece, officially known as the Hellenic Republic, is a captivating country in Southeast Europe. Nestled on the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula, Greece shares its borders with Albania to the northwest, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the east. The country boasts a diverse geographical landscape, with the Aegean Sea to the east, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Sea of Crete and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. With its rich history, stunning natural beauty, and vibrant culture, Greece has long been a popular destination for travelers from around the world. The country is famed for its ancient ruins, including iconic sites like the Acropolis in Athens and the ancient city of Delphi. With a deep-rooted tradition in philosophy, democracy, and the arts, Greece has given birth to many renowned philosophers, poets, and playwrights. From its sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters to picturesque islands like Santorini and Mykonos, Greece offers a wealth of experiences for every traveler. Whether exploring historic landmarks, indulging in delectable Mediterranean cuisine, or simply basking in the sun-drenched landscapes, visitors to Greece are sure to be enchanted by its timeless beauty and warm hospitality.

Employment Relationship

Permanent Employment

Greece's labor law defines permanent employment as an open-ended contract that may be terminated only by legal procedures, resignation, dismissal, or retirement. In indefinite term contracts, the first 12 months can be considered trial period. Indefinite term contracts can be terminated at any time by either party by giving a notice. Employees who work with the same employer for more than 1 year are entitled to severance pay at the time of termination.

Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

Greece's labor law defines a fixed-term employee as a worker whose employment contract has an end-date determined by an objective condition. Fixed-term contracts can be signed for a maximum duration of 3 years. There is no limit on the number of renewals, provided there is a justifiable reason. The contract does not lose its character as a fixed term even when its duration is not expressly defined, but it follows from its type and purpose regarding the execution of a certain project, in which case it is to last until the completion of the project and is terminated after that. It is not mandatory to conclude a fixed-term contract in writing. A fixed-term employee in Greece enjoys the same rights as an employee on an open-ended contract, except for severance benefits. If an employee continues working for the same establishment even after the termination of a fixed-term contract, the employment relationship would be considered to have been renewed and transformed into an open-ended contract. Fixed-term contracts terminate automatically upon the expiration of the agreed duration, without requiring any statement or other action from the parties.

Temporary Employment Contratcs

According to Greece's labor law, employers can hire temporary workers through Temporary Employment Companies for a limited period of time for exceptional, temporary, or seasonal needs. Temporary Employment Companies in Greece have the same rights and obligations as those of employers. A contract of employment must be established between employees and the Temporary Employment Company. Temporary employees are entitled to the same rights as those who are considered permanent. Organizations are prohibited from hiring temporary workers to replace those who exercise their right to strike or to replace employees dismissed due to economic redundancy. Temporary staff must be informed of vacancies at their third-party employer so that they may be provided the same opportunities as other company employees to be employed in permanent jobs. A general announcement can make information on permanent job openings available in a visible and accessible place in the company workplace where the temporary employee provides their services (their third-party employer). 

Probationary Period

Greece's labor law provides that the probationary period established within the framework of an employment contract of indefinite duration cannot exceed 12 months. In case of fixed-term contracts, it must be proportionate to its expected duration and the nature of the work and it cannot exceed a quarter of the agreed total duration of employment and in any case may not exceed 6 months. Unless the employer and employee agree otherwise, employment contracts can be terminated without notice or severance during the probationary period. However, an employee may still have recourse if they are dismissed unfairly. 

Working Hours

Greece's legal weekly working hours were set at 45 hours on a 5-day work week and 48 hours on a 6-day working week system. The legal daily hours were set at 9 hours, while during the 6-day period, it remained at 8 hours. Employees working greater than this number of hours are eligible for overtime. Including overtime, an employee's working hours must not exceed 45 hours per week for employees on a 5-day workweek and 48 hours per week for employees on a 6-day workweek. The weekly working time of the employees may not exceed 48 hours on average over 4 months, including overtime. Minors below the age of 16 years, or minors who are still at school, cannot be employed for more than 6 hours per day or 30 hours a week. Persons between the ages of 16 and 17 cannot work for more than 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week. The minimum rest period in any 24-hour period must be at least 11 uninterrupted hours. Employees are, per each 7-day period, entitled to a minimum uninterrupted rest period of 24 hours. Telework must be agreed upon between employer and employee upon hiring or by amending the employment contract. Telework can also apply for reasons of public health protection or upon the employee's request in the event of a documented risk to their health.

Holidays / PTO

Statutory Holidays

New Year Day - January 1; Epiphany Day - January 6; Shrove Monday - Date variable; Annunciation Day - March 25; Good Friday - Date variable; Easter Sunday and Monday - Dates variable; Labor Day - May 1; Assumption Day - August 15; National Day - October 28; Christmas Day - December 25; Boxing Day - December 26.

Paid Annual Leave

In Greece, every employee on a fixed-term or a permanent contract is entitled to annual paid leave from the beginning of their employment. This leave is to be granted by the employer on a pro-rata basis, depending on how long that employer has employed the employee. The proportion is calculated based on 20 working days’ leave for a 5-working-day week or 24 working days’ leave for a 6-working-day week, corresponding to 12 months’ continuous employment. The employer must grant the employee the correct proportion of the above regular leave by the end of the first calendar year in which the employee was hired. During the second calendar year, the employee is entitled to take regular paid annual leave in portions, according to the length of service. During leave, the employee is entitled to their normal pay and benefits. Leave is increased by 1 working day for each year of employment, beyond the first year, up to 26 working days or up to 22 days if the employee operates on a 5-working-day week basis. During the third and subsequent calendar years, the employee is entitled to take all their annual leave at any time during the year.

Sick Leave

Greece's labor law grants employees monthly, long-term sick leave for a maximum of six months, as follows: 1 month for employees who have worked for up to 4 years 3 months for employees who have worked for more than 4 years, but less than 10 years 4 months for employees who have worked for more than 10 years, but less than 15 years 6 months for employees who have worked for more than 15 years In addition to this, employees are also entitled to short-term unpaid sick leave for up to 8 days per year. A medical certificate is required for an employee to take more than 2 continuous leave days. The sickness benefit is 50% of the salary of the employees. The employer must pay at least half of the wages for the first three days of sick leave. The Social Security Institute of Greece is responsible for paying the rest of the benefits.

Maternity Leave

According to Greek labor law, the duration of maternity leave is set at 17 weeks for private-sector employees. Of this 17 week period, 8 weeks must be granted to the worker before confinement and 9 weeks after confinement. If the worker gives birth prematurely, the remaining maternity leave is to be granted after confinement, so that the maternity leave amounts to a total of 17 weeks. During maternity leave, employees are paid 100% of earnings by the state social insurance fund, up to a cap set by the social insurance fund. To receive full maternity benefits, the mother must have worked 200 working days during the previous 2 years. After the basic maternity leave, mothers are entitled to another special leave of 6 months, during which time the state will provide a benefit equal to the statutory minimum wage.

Paternity Leave

Greek labor law grants male employees a paid paternity leave of 14 days upon their child's birth. This leave is granted in whole or in part according to the employee's request as follows: either a) the employee receives 2 days leave before the expected date of delivery, in order to meet the needs associated with pregnancy and childbirth, in which case in this case, the remaining 12 days are granted, in whole or in part, directly due to the birth of the child, within 30 days from the date of birth, or b) all the days of leave after the date of birth are granted. Every working father is entitled to leave, without any conditions and regardless of his marital status.

Termination of Employment

Notice Period

According to Greek labor law, the first 12 months of an indefinite employment agreement, counted from the date on which the agreement comes into force, are considered to be a probationary period. During this period, either party may terminate the employment relationship without notice and without severance pay, unless otherwise agreed by the parties. After the first 12 months, the employer must give the following notice period before the termination of the employment contract: One month's notice period to employees paid monthly with one year to two years of service Two months' notice period to those with two to five years of service Three months' notice period to those with five to ten years of service Four months' notice period to those with more than ten years of service An employer who gives an employee written notice according to the above pays only half of the statutory severance pay due to the dismissed employee. A notice period is not required for fixed-term contracts.

Severance Benefits

According to Greek labor law, an employer can terminate an indefinite employment agreement of more than 12 months by giving the employee prior written notice. Specific periods of notice between 1 and 4 months are required, depending on the employee's length of service with the employer (see the "Notice of Dismissal" section for more information). In the case of indefinite employment agreements terminated by the employer, the severance pay is calculated depending on the length of service with the employer. For employees who complete 17 years in service with the same employer, an additional compensation is paid that increases by 1 monthly salary for each additional year of service up to 12 monthly salaries, provided the monthly salary does not exceed EUR 2,000.  In case of dismissal (for any reason, including redundancies) of a blue-collar worker, severance pay varies according to the length of service, from five days to 165 days' wages, regardless of whether the employer complies with the statutory period of notice.

Social Security

Pension

The legal retirement age in Greece is: 62 years for full pension with at least 40 years (12,000 days) of insurance 62 years for reduced pension with 15 years (4,500 days) 67 years old for full pension with at least 15 years (4,500 days) of insurance The monthly pension is a sum of national pension and contributory pension. The national pension is financed by the state budget, while the contributory pension corresponds to the payment of insurance contributions and is calculated on the basis of pensionable earnings, insurance period and replacement rate. The full amount of the national pension is EUR 413.76 (euros) (when at least 20 years of insurance and 40 years of permanent and legal residence in Greece have been completed before applying for a retirement pension), reduced in proportion to the years of contribution and residence.  Effective January 1, 2023, the maximum monthly earnings for contributions are EUR 7,126.94. Employees from specific sectors who contribute to auxiliary funds of ERKA and TEKA (mechanics and lawyers), auxiliary contribution rates increased by 9.64%. 

Dependents/Survivors Benefit

Greece's social security insurance scheme covers benefits for survivors of a deceased insured person, including the widow, widower, or children of the insured individual. The following conditions must be met to be eligible for this pension: The insured person must have had at least 1,500 insurance days, of which 300 occurred during the last 5 years prior to their death; or The insured person must have completed the insurance days which would entitle them to a disability pension; or The insured person must have been entitled to an old-age pension. The widow must have been married to the deceased for at least 6 months before their death unless the death was caused by an accident at work or an occupational disease, there is a minor child, or if the widow was pregnant before the death. The amount of pension paid to a widow/er of a deceased is 50% of the pension. If the surviving spouse is working, the amount of pension is reduced by 50% after three years. Children are entitled to receive a pension until they reach the age of 24 years, provided they are unmarried. The amount of pension for the children is 25% of the pension the deceased parent was entitled to. If both parents have died, the child is entitled to 50% of the pension.

Invalidity Benefit

Greece's Social Security Institute provides disability benefits to insured employees. Disability is certified if the insured person can no longer earn more than 50% of the average earnings of a worker in their profession. The amount of the disability pension depends on the degree of disability as follows: Full pension is granted in the case of 80% disability (considered severely disabled). Full pension is granted in the event of incapacity of at least 66.6% if the insured person has completed at least 6,000 insurance days or the disability is mainly caused by mental illness. 75% of the full pension is granted in the case of incapacity of at least 67% (but the insured person has not completed at least 6,000 insurance days and the disability is not mainly caused by mental illness). 50% of the full pension is payable in the case of 50% – 66.99% incapacity (75% of the full pension if the disability is caused mainly by mental illness). The amount of the disability pension is equal to the old-age pension, as a sum of national pension and contributory pension. The national pension is financed by the state budget, while the contributory pension corresponds to the payment of insurance contributions and is calculated on the basis of pensionable earnings, insurance period and replacement rate. It is increased in the case of a dependent spouse and children, whereupon a monthly increase corresponding to 1.5 times the minimum wage of the average Greek unskilled worker is granted. People with 100% disability needing continuous care from a third party are entitled to a monthly supplementary allowance equivalent to 50% of the basic pension. The minimum amount of disability pension is EUR 827.52 per month. 

Taxation of Compensation and Benefits

Personal Income Tax

Greece's tax law defines a taxable person as an individual having a permanent or principal residence in Greece or one who has stayed in Greece for 183 days in a 12-month period. The tax year is the same as the calendar year. Personal income tax is levied on the income received by natural persons. The rates of employment income tax vary between 22% and 44%. The highest marginal income tax rate applied to employment income is 45%, applied to those with income exceeding EUR 40,000 (Euros). Income from dividends is taxed at a flat rate of 5%, income from interest is taxed at 15%, income from royalties is taxed at 20%. Income from real estate is taxed at a progressive scale from 15% to 45%. 

Immigration

Types of Visas

The following types of visas are available in Greece: Schengen uniform visa for single entry – for persons traveling only one time, to Greece or any other member state Schengen uniform multi-entry visa – for persons traveling to Greece or any other member state multiple times (must be issued by the state most frequently visited) Transit visa – issued to persons who are traveling to another destination via Greece Tourist visa – issued to persons from third countries (non-visa-exempt) who visit Greece for leisure purposes for up to 30 days Short-term stay visa – issued to persons from third countries (non-visa-exempt) who wish to stay in Greece for up to three months Long-term stay visa – issued to persons from third countries (non-visa-exempt) who wish to stay in Greece for more than three months

Work Permit

Foreign nationals who wish to work in Greece are required to obtain a residence permit for work and a work visa. The foreign national must submit the contract of employment, showing that their remuneration is at least equal to the minimum wage in Greece. The residence permit is issued for three years at a time. It can be renewed for two or three years if the following conditions are met: Fulfillment of tax obligations Existence of health booklet in force by the relevant insurance institution Minimum wage insurance

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