6-Day Work Week Officially Approved

(UnitedVoice.com) – Ten years ago, Greece was unrecognizable. The once vibrant country was in an economic stranglehold and appeared that it was never going to pull itself out of the mess left by the 2008 Great Recession. The island is now thriving again and its economy is booming. To keep that up, lawmakers passed labor reforms last year, and one of the key changes just took effect.

On July 1, a new six-day workweek took effect in Greece. The new law extends the previous 40-hour workweek to 48 hours. Workers in some industries will have to work two extra hours each day or pick up another eight-hour shift each week. Private businesses that provide round-the-clock services will have to abide by the new rules. Employees who are impacted by the change will be rewarded with a top-up fee of 40% that will be added to their daily pay.

The government claimed the change was necessary to protect workers. They claim that it would ensure workers are paid for working overtime. Also, it would tackle the problem of undeclared work which is about 25% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or the total of all the goods and services produced in the country.

Critics of the law have slammed the government. Akis Sotiropoulos, a member of the union Adedy, said the change “makes no sense whatsoever.” They went on to say that every other “country is enacting a four-day week” but the Greek government decided to make its citizens work longer.

Others have called the new law “barbaric.”

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis signed the measure last year. He said it’s necessary because of a lack of skilled workers in the country and a shrinking population. The PM called the demographic shift a “ticking timebomb.” Approximately 500,000 young, educated Greeks left the country since the 2009 economic crisis.

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