Six-day working week to be introduced in Greece for some industries 

In an effort to stimulate economic growth, Greece has implemented a six-day working week for certain sectors. The new law will be effective from early July this year, and it permits employees to work up to 48 hours weekly instead of the standard 40. 

This change is aimed at businesses that operate around the clock and is voluntary for workers, who will receive a 40% pay increase for any overtime hours.

The Greek public broadcaster ERTNews reports that the six-day working week is also intended to address the ongoing issue of undeclared work, which contributes to tax evasion. The policy does not apply to the tourism or food industries.

This decision by the Greek government is a sharp contrast with trends in other parts of Europe and in the US, where the four-day workweek seems to be gaining popularity. Proponents of the shorter workweek argue that it enhances productivity and employee well-being. 

The EU’s “working time directive” mandates a 48-hour cap on weekly working hours, including overtime. However, Greece’s approach diverges from the flexible working models being adopted elsewhere. Post-Covid, many companies have experimented with and adopted four-day workweeks, while maintaining the same productivity and wages. 

Notably, Iceland’s trials of a four-day workweek were highly successful, leading many workers to transition to shorter hours without seeing a drop in productivity.

The global financial crisis of the late 2000s hit Greece particularly hard. It was exacerbated by high public spending and significant tax evasion, resulting in severe debt. However, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has been recognised for successfully steering the economy back to growth following Greece’s reliance on three international bailouts.

In an interview with the Guardian, the Greek prime minister added that the “nucleus of this legislation is worker-friendly, it is deeply growth-oriented. And it brings Greece in line with the rest of Europe.”

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