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25 July, 2024
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Greek workers toiling longer, earning less

Greeks work 41 hours a week, more than any other Europeans, but are paid less.

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

Greeks work 41 hours a week, more than any other Europeans, but are paid less. Monthly salaries do not exceed 1,038 euros on average, according to the latest figures compiled by the Single Social Security Entity (EFKA), while inflation continues to reduce real incomes, gnawing away at the purchasing power of workers in the private sector.

One should also add high unemployment to the complex puzzle of the domestic labor market, which – although decreasing – is still significantly above the European average, as well as undeclared employment.

Amid discussions and reactions to the labor law voted on Friday in Parliament, introducing new flexible forms of employment into the domestic market – such as “zero working hours” contracts, where the employee is asked to offer temporary work, working for a second employer with maximum working hours at 13 a day, as well as working in certain sectors six days a week or even on Sundays – the evidence shows that reality requires more coordinated efforts at many levels and with the participation of all social partners.

As was revealed through the “unfreezing” process of the “three-year” salary bonus, collective labor agreements are rare and the minimum wage increases do not reach the highest levels of employees, so that they can satisfactorily readjust mid-level wages, which have lost a significant part of their purchasing power.

According to Eurostat, Greeks work more than other Europeans. Last year they worked 41 hours a week on average, compared to 37.5 hours in the EU. The most industrious after the Greeks were the Poles, with 40.4 hours, as well as the Romanians and the Bulgarians, with 40.2 hours of weekly employment. Conversely, the Dutch (33.2), the Germans (35.3) and the Danes (35.4) worked the fewest hours.

The latest OECD data show Greece ranks third from bottom among 38 countries in terms of the average salary level. With an average annual salary of $25,979 (€23,640), Greece in 2022 was well below the OECD average at $53,416.

Cyprus  |  Greece  |  economy  |  labor

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