Facing Backlash: Greece Defends Controversial Six-Day Work Week

Written by Kathrine Frich

Jul.10 - 2024 10:49 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
The Greek government is standing firm on its decision

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The Greek government is standing firm on its decision to implement a six-day work week, calling it an "exceptional measure" applicable only under specific circumstances.

Affects Certain Sectors

Introduced at the beginning of July, the new regulation allows employees in certain sectors to work an additional two hours per day or add an extra eight-hour shift to their schedule, potentially increasing their workweek to 48 hours from the traditional 40.

Excluded from this policy are sectors like food services and tourism according to Ziare. This move has sparked criticism on social media and from labor unions and political observers alike. When the legislation package containing this provision was initially announced last September, thousands protested against the new policies.

An Exceptional Option

Minister of Labor and Social Security Niki Kerameus emphasized that the new regulation does not change the legally established five-day work week of 40 hours in Greece. Instead, it offers an exceptional option for extended workdays in limited circumstances.

According to Kerameus, only businesses operating 24/7 with rotating shifts and those running 24 hours a day, five or six days a week with rotating shifts, fall under the regulation. The additional workday option is strictly for handling increased workloads, ensuring fair compensation for employees.

The minister highlighted that the measures also include protections such as guaranteed days off, specific working hours, and safeguards against wrongful dismissals. Kerameus pointed out that many European countries have similar provisions for exceptional workdays, indicating that Greece is not diverging from established norms in this regard.