Employ Candidates Compliantly in Greece

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  1. Overview: Greece
  2. Global HR Compliance
  3. Global PEO and payroll
  4. Work permit for hiring expats via PEO
  5. Convert Freelancers to Full-time Employees
  6. Expand without an Entity Set Up
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Global HR Compliance in Greece

If you plan to hire an international workforce,  then the Global HR Compliance in Greece Guide will help you understand the nuances of labor legislation in the country.

There are two main reasons for companies hiring foreign workforce:

  • Expanding into foreign markets to sell company products or products there. In this case, companies hire sales representatives who would exclusively represent their product in the target market and sell it to their local client base.
  • Hiring the right foreign talent with unique expertise is often related to the IT sphere that cannot be found in the home country or costs less compared to local specialists with similar skills.

How a Global PEO and EOR Partner in Greece Can Help Enhance HR Compliance

The labor laws and regulations of your home country may not apply to overseas employees, and things can become even more difficult if you need to hire talent in multiple locations. You must fully understand in-country employment requirements for hiring, compensating and terminating global talent compliantly to avoid exposing your business to legal and financial risks. A trusted Global EOR and PEO partner can manage your company’s global employment risks.

Navigating through the Employment Laws to Eliminate Non-compliance Risk

A lack of in-country expertise in HR compliance and employment requirements in the UK can be asignificantr hurdle to hiring and payrolling your overseas staff. Acumen’s global employment and HR compliance solution offers a simple and convenient way to meet your global hiring needs in Greece and worldwide. Our solution is designed especially for companies like yours, to help you meet your global hiring needs and remain compliant while you grow your business in the UK.

We take the inconvenience of HR management off your shoulders and handle hiring, payroll, benefits, and firing on your behalf. Acumen’s Employer of Record (EOR) solution in Greece allows you to quickly hire local and expatriate workers in the UK, eliminating the need to set up a legal business entity before your business operations are underway.

Eliminating Independent Contractor Risks in Greece

To circumvent the complexities of employment, taxation, and payroll laws that have emerged post-Brexit, some businesses have opted to hire contractors, consultants, or independent sales agents. While those options may appear to provide a good short-term solution that saves you time and money, they can put your company at risk of high penalties for misclassification violations that hurt your bottom line in the long run.

After you have found the right candidate, the question is how to hire and provide compensation to this person, so you as a business remain 100% compliant when working with a global workforce. Another thing to consider is whether you want to keep the talent long-term and how you can do that.

If you need to hire a foreign workforce in Greece to expand there, then our Global Employer of Record solution may help. We help you legally hire and reward your foreign workforce by making them employees via a global employment outsourcing service. This is simple as employing your in-house workforce with the only difference that workers can live anywhere in the world, and Acumen International would be their legal employer on your behalf. This means we would bear all employment risks, not you. Also, we manage bonuses, vacations, and sick leave and can rent the office and a car for your foreign sales representatives if that is what you need.

Test the Market in Greece with a Global PEO. No Need to Establish an Entity

Our Global PEO solution allows you to test new foreign markets before deciding whether you will get established there. You gain flexibility, expand with reduced costs, and easily withdraw from unattractive countries.

We are experts in global workforce employment in Greece, and our goal is to become your single provider. Instead of working with numerous local staffing agencies and legal advisors, Acumen International can solve your global business challenges and save you time, costs, and resources. Acumen International works 24/7 and can assist you whenever you need it, regardless of time zones.Our team of English-speaking professionals frees you from working through language nuances. Our goal is to create tailored labor solutions for you that are managed legally and in full compliance with the local employment laws.

With our knowledge and deep understanding of local nuances, you easily satisfy your need for skilled professionals in your global industry. With our qualified local partners, you can trust that your global workforcemeetss all local tax, social security, and immigration requirements in Greece.

See the guide below for a general overview of labor rules and regulations in Greece. Or contact us if you need to employ workers in Greece or would like to get more details.

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Global HR Compliance in Greece: The Ultimate Guide

Compliant Employment Agreements in Greece

The employment contract in Greece is for an indefinite period. An employment contract is concluded by an offer from the employer and its acceptance from the employee.
The employment agreement must be in writing. If it is concluded orally, it is still binding on the employer, who may be subject to sanctions for not observing the relevant legal requirements.

Fixed-term employment contracts in Greece

These are freely agreed upon, subject to the condition that the meaning of ‘fixed term’ must not be abusively adopted by an employer who intends to cover their permanent needs. A fixed-term contract ends when the contractual term expires or when the agreed upon work is completed.

Successive’ contracts or labor relations are fixed-term contracts or labor relations between the same employer and employee, with the same or resembling terms of employment and an interval of no more than 45 calendar days.

Employment Termination and Severance Pay (Dismissal) in Greece

Employee decision

Contracts for an indefinite term can be terminated at any time, unilaterally by the employee, with or without prior notice

Employer decision

Terminating the employment contract depends on the type of employment contract, i.e., whether it is a contract for a fixed or an indefinite term, and who (the employer or employee) terminates the contract. Contracts for an indefinite term can be terminated at any time, unilaterally by either party, with or without prior notice, but always with a severance payment if the employer is the party that initiates termination. Severance is always due; otherwise, the termination is considered null and void. If the employee has been working in the company for fewer than two months, termination of the employment contract does not require any severance payment. The only exception the law allows for non-payment of severance is if the employer has filed criminal charges against the employee.
After the first 12 months, the employee cannot be terminated without prior written notice from the employer, which will take effect from the day the employee is notified.
These provisions apply to all forms of dismissals, including collective dismissals for employees that are not workers. Terminating workers doesn’t require any notice. A fixed-term contract can be terminated by the employee or the employer immediately before the end date without notice for a ‘Significant reason.’ Significant reason includes events during the employer-employee relationship which make it impossible to continue the agreement in good faith. If a considerable reason exists, the employer is not obliged to pay compensation. Furthermore, a fixed-term employment contract, which includes a term for early termination following required severance calculation, is automatically converted into an indefinite-term employment contract upon termination.
The employer is required to have a valid, non-abusive reason for termination. However, the law provides for three cases in which the employer is not obliged to pay severance indemnity upon termination, even after the lapse of the statutory probation period.

Termination by Mutual Agreement

An alternative to the unilateral termination of employees is the execution of mutual separation agreements. From a legal perspective, this is the safest option as it protects the employer from the potential risk of invalidation of dismissal and other possible claims made by the employee to the maximum extent allowed by law. In practice, the employer offers the option of a separation agreement before unilateral action, and after an agreement on its terms is reached between the parties, it is signed either with immediate or future effect. Such agreements will, in practice, involve the payment of an increased amount of severance indemnity in consideration of a waiver of the employees’ rights against the employer. The law does not set out any specific procedure for the conclusion of such agreements and does not require the employer’s coverage of the employee’s legal costs (as is the case in other jurisdictions).

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When Employee Dismissal Is Prohibited in Greece

In addition to the formal requirements for contract termination to be valid, case law has formed a significant level of protection against dismissals despite the legislative choice of not setting substantial restrictions in contract termination, for example, when termination is a result of the employer’s dislike for the employee.

Protected employees in Greece

Dismissals are prohibited during an employee’s annual holiday. In addition, special protection is afforded to:

  • Women during pregnancy and post-partum
  • Trade union officials, for whom a specific procedure must be followed
  • Employees conscripted for military service
  • People with special needs that have been hired on a special regime

Notice Period in Greece

For the first 12 months, an (open-ended) employment contract can be terminated without notice or severance pay. Thereafter, the minimum notice periods are:

  • One to two years of employment: one month
  • Two to five years of employment: two months
  • Five to ten years of employment: three months
  • Over ten years of employment: four months.

If the employer terminates the employment without notice, he must pay the full indemnity. If the termination takes place with prior notice, then the employer is obliged to pay half the amount of the severance pay

Severance Payments in Greece

Severance payments are calculated on the normal remuneration of the last month of employment of the dismissed employee, increased by any and all allowances (holiday pay, etc.) to which the employee is entitled as part of his or her usual pay.

The severance pay scale for employees is as follows:

  • One full year up to four years: two gross (monthly) salaries
  • Four full years up to six years: three gross (monthly) salaries
  • Six full years up to eight years: four gross (monthly) salaries
  • Eight full years up to ten years: five gross (monthly) salaries
  • Ten full years: six gross monthly) salaries
  • 11 full years: seven gross (monthly) salaries
  • 12 full years: eight gross (monthly) salaries
  • 13 full years: nine gross (monthly) salaries
  • 14 full years: ten gross (monthly) salaries
  • 15 full years: 11 gross (monthly) salaries
  • Over 16 full years: 12 gross (monthly) salaries.

Employee Benefits and Contributions

The most important employee benefits prescribed by law are holiday bonus, unemployment benefit, child benefit, military service benefit, family benefits, sickness benefit, marriage benefit, maternity benefit, special provision for the protection of motherhood, service benefit (for employees having completed many years of service) and Christmas and Easter benefit.

Probationary Period

Greek law does not require employment-related training for management or other staff. However, a probation period can be agreed upon in the employment agreement. In the event of probationary employment (i.e., when the employer wishes to test the employee’s capacities before definitely hiring the employee), there is a contract of employment as of the date the employee undertook employment. This probationary employment may either be a definite-term employment contract, when it is agreed that it shall be de jure terminated after the probationary period, or an indefinite-term employment contract, which, therefore, is subject to the termination clause. In the event of an indefinite-term employment contract, the probationary period may not exceed 12 months. During this time, the contract may be terminated without notice and without compensation for dismissal, except if otherwise agreed between the parties. The employee shall receive wages during the probationary period as well.

Overtime

The regular working day is eight hours. In general, the employer has to pay for overtime work.

Work Hours

The legal working time is 40 hours per week, except for specific categories of employees, such as bank employees, electricians, builders, under-age employees, etc., who are employed for fewer hours. The employer and employees can also agree that the employees will be employed for fewer working hours but remunerated for 40 hours

Annual Leave in Greece

During the first and second year of employment, employees can take their holiday either according to the time they have worked by a proportion of two days per month or cumulatively in December of the current year.
After three years of employment, employees are entitled to 22 days of holiday. And after 10 years of employment with the same employer, or after 12 years of employment irrespective of the employer, employees are allowed 25 days of holiday.
Unused vacation claims have to be paid at termination. According to Greek labor legislation, the employer is not allowed to carry over any leave entitlement to the following year; the employer is obliged to grant all the accrued vacation days to its employees until December 31. If the employees cannot use all their vacation days before the end of the year, they should be paid the relevant salary instead of the untaken holiday.
However, in practice, many companies transfer a few days of annual leave (two-five days) into the next year under the condition that they will be used during the first two or three months of the year. The application of this practice, however, may create the risk of an administrative penalty from the Labour Authorities in case of an audit.

Sick Leave in Greece

According to Greek labor legislation, in case of sickness, the employee is entitled to receive his or her daily wages from the employer as follows:

  • If an employee has been employed by the company for at least one year, he or she is entitled to remuneration for a maximum of one month of absence due to sickness.
  • If an employee has been employed for less than one year, he or she is entitled to remuneration for a maximum of the one-half month of absence.

The total amount payable by the employer is reduced by the relevant amount paid by the National Social Security Fund; in other words, the employer will deduct from the total sickness payment the amount that the employee receives from the National Social Security Fund (sickness benefit).
Employees must inform their employer in due course if they are incapable of working and how long such incapability may presumably last. Employees must produce a written medical certificate not later than the third day of incapability attesting to the illness.

Parental Leaves in Greece

Maternity leave

A mother is protected from contract termination for the duration of her pregnancy, for a time of 18 months following labor, and for absences due to sickness resulting from pregnancy or labor. During this period, the employment contract can only be terminated for a significant reason and with increased formal requirements

Maternity leave (pregnancy and post-partum) is 17 weeks (eight weeks before and nine weeks after birth). This does not apply to adoptions.
Mothers have the right to reduce working hours (by one hour per day for 2.5 years, or by two hours for one year and one hour for six months, or the equivalent). This right also applies to the father when the mother is self-employed or does not exercise her right. However, the father is not entitled to exercise this right when the mother is not working.
Mothers may take a special six-month leave during which OAED pays the mother, every month, an amount equal to the statutory minimum pay, plus a proportion for holiday bonuses and allowances based on that amount. This does not apply to the father or an adoptive mother.

Paternity leave

The father is entitled to two days’ paid leave on the child’s birth.

Acumen International can help you fast-track your possibilities of entering and expanding your business in Greece by providing you with our Employer of Record services. Our unique mix of PEO/EOR solutions will enable you to jumpstart your global operations immediately, cost-effectively, and compliantly without needing to set up a legal entity first or afterward.

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