Greece Introduces 6-Day Work Week To Boost Its Debt-Riddled Economy

Greeks will have to clock in eight hours of work for six days a week starting 1 July this year.

Cover image via AFP )NST) & Vijesti

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As other nations around the world consider enacting a 4-day work week, Greece has introduced a 48-hour working week

This means that Greeks will have to clock in eight hours of work for six days a week under the new law.

The initiative was proposed by the country's prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who leads a conservative government that many see as pro-business.

Several reasons led Greece to enact the new legislation, which is part of a broader set of labour laws passed last year.

According to the Greek government, the six-day workweek was introduced due to the country's shrinking population and a shortage of skilled workers

Greece was embroiled in Europe's worst financial crisis from early 2009 to late 2018, following the global financial crisis in 2008.

According to The Guardian, this led some 500,000 young, well-educated Greeks to leave the country in search of greener pastures.

Under Mitsotakis, the country's economy is slowly showing promising signs; however, it's not out of the woods yet. The government now hopes to increase economic growth through the new legislation.

Image via Reuters (NST)

The six-day workweek will only apply to private companies that provide 24-hour services in selected industries

Under the new law, workers in selected industries such as manufacturing will be allowed to work for an additional two hours a day or clock in an extra eight-hour shift. They will receive a 40% top-up to their daily wage.

Mitsotakis said this will address the issue of workers not being paid overtime while resolving undeclared work, which is prevalent in Greece.

"The nucleus of this legislation is worker-friendly, it is deeply growth-oriented. And it brings Greece in line with the rest of Europe," Mitsotakis said during a parliamentary sitting.

Naturally, many have slammed the new six-day workweek, raising concerns over worker rights

In a country with little history of workplace inspections, critics argue that the reform could end the five-day workweek because it allows employers to require a sixth day of work.

Many have begun protesting in the streets, with some describing the new legislation as "barbaric".

"Better productivity comes with better work conditions, a better quality of life (for employees) and that, we now know, is about fewer hours not more," Akis Sotiropoulos, a civil servants' union executive committee member said to The Guardian.

Many critics said that countries that have run trials of 4-day work week programmes saw increased levels of productivity

Belgium, the UK, Germany, Japan, South Africa, and Canada have run trials and pilot schemes with positive results.

Due to this, critics argue that Greece's new six-day workweek regulation is counter-productive.

To make matters worse, Greeks already work the longest hours in Europe. Eurostat, a European Union statistics agency, reported that they clock in 41 hours a week. Surveys also showed that they get paid less.

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