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Greece Justifies Its New Six-Day Workweek Policy Following Public Blacklash

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The Greek government has defended its new six-day workweek policy, saying it does not alter the standard five-day, 40-hour workweek mandated by law.

Greek’s Labour and Social Security Minister, Niki Kerameus, clarified that the policy permits employees to work an additional day only under exceptional circumstances, with a 40% pay increase for the extra hours.

“It is important to note that this new regulation does not in any way affect the established 5-day/40-hour working week mandated by Greek law, nor does it establish a new 6-day working week. All it does is provide only in limited circumstances for the option of an additional working day, as an exceptional measure”, Kerameus told CNBC.

This regulation, which is effective from early July, targets industries operating around the clock with rotating shifts. This includes agriculture, retail, and certain service sectors, but excludes food and travel businesses. The measure reportedly aims to boost productivity amid labour shortages and population decline.

Although voluntary, the policy has sparked controversy. It has also led to strikes and concerns about potential overwork and unfair compensation.

When the policy package containing the bill was initially announced last September, thousands protested against the new policies. Kerameus assured that the policy includes protections like guaranteed days off and measures to prevent wrongful termination. According to him, fair compensation for additional work will be ensured. The Greek government’s stance, however, contrasts with trends in other countries experimenting with four-day workweeks.

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