FTC regulated: Yes

Remarks

Presidential Decree 81/2003, as amended by P.D. 180/2004.

Valid reasons for FTC use: objective and material reasons

Remarks

See Article 669(2) of the Civil Code.
In addition, the renewal of a FTC is permitted without any limitation only if it is justified by an objective reason, such as temporary replacement of a worker, performance of occasional work, temporary increase in workload, work provided in relation to education or training, performance of a specific project or programme (Art. 5 P.D. 81/2003, as amended by P.D. 180/2004).

Maximum number of successive FTCs: 3

Remarks

Art. 5 P.D. 81/2003, as amended by P.D. 180/2004:
The unlimited renewal of FTC is permitted if it is justified by an objective reason (see above).
However, if within a two-year period, more than 3 successive contracts are concluded, it shall be presumed that they are used as a means of meeting fixed and constant needs of the undertaking or exploitation, resulting in their transformation into permanent employment contracts.
The employer has the burden to prove otherwise.

Maximum cumulative duration of successive FTCs: 24months

Remarks

Art. 5 P.D. 81/2003, as amended by P.D. 180/2004:
The unlimited renewal of FTC is permitted if it is justified by an objective reason (see above).
However, if the total duration of the successive contracts or employment relations exceeds two years, it shall be presumed that they are used as a means of meeting fixed and constant needs of the undertaking or exploitation, resulting in their transformation into permanent employment contracts.

% of workforce under FTC: 12.1

Remarks

Source: Eurostat, annual average for 2009
The figure refers to the percentage of employee of total number of employee with a contract of limited duration (= temporary job).
Eurostat data are based on the following definition:
"A job may be considered temporary if employer and employee agree that its end is determined by objective conditions such as a specific date, the completion of a task or the return of another employee who has been temporarily replaced (usually stated in a work contract of limited duration). Typical cases are: (a) persons with seasonal employment; (b) persons engaged by an agency or employment exchange and hired to a third party to perform a specific task (unless there is a written work contract of unlimited duration); (c) persons with specific training contracts."

Maximum probationary (trial) period (in months): 2 months

Remarks

The law does not expressly provide for a statutory probationary period. However, under art. 1 of the Act 2112/1920, together with art. 2 and 4 of Act 3198/1995, statutory notice and severance pay requirements do not apply to white-collar workers who have worked for less than 2 months. With regard to the dismissal of blue-collar workers, no notice is required (see below) but the severance pay requirements only apply to workers with at least two months of service.

Obligation to provide reasons to the employee No

Remarks

The law does not require the employer to provide reasons to the employees when dismissing them.
However, in the event of collective dismissal, the reasons for it shall be given to the workers' representatives (art. 3, Act 1387/1983).

Valid grounds (justified dismissal): none

Remarks

- Contracts of an indefinite duration: No grounds are required. They can be terminated by either party, at any time, with notice or without notice (Act 2112/1920 and 3198/1955). In addition, severance pay has to be paid by the employer, the amount of which varies depending on whether notice was given or not, is compulsory.
Although no grounds are required, this does not result in a total freedom of the employer to dismiss an employee for any reason since the employer shall act within the limits set by the general prohibition of any abuse of rights (art. 281 CC). If a Court holds that a dismissal constitutes an abuse of right, it will nullify it. According to case law, a dismissal "which is not justified by the well-meant interests of the employer is void" (i.e reasons not attributable to the dismissed employee such as incompetence, or economic reasons) (See: Yannakourou S., 2005, "The evolution of Labour Law in Greece" in European Commission, 2005, The Evolution of Labour Law 1992-2003, Volume 2, Luxembourg, p. 24).
In addition, the employer's freedom to dismiss employees is also limited by the existence of prohibited grounds and by the existence of a special protection against dismissal for certain categories of workers (see below).

-Fixed-term contracts:
FTC can be terminated by either party at any time, if there is a serious reason justifying such termination (art. 672 CC). In such cases, no compensation is payable.

Prohibited grounds: marital status, pregnancy, filing a complaint against the employer, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, trade union membership and activities, disability, performing military or civil service, ethnic origin

Remarks

* Specific prohibitions of dismissal:
- The dismissal of a woman during her pregnancy and up to one year after giving birth is prohibited (Act No. 1302/1982). However, the dismissal can be valid if there is an important reason for it (i.e misconduct, severe negligence, poor performance...) (Art. 15 Act No 1483/1984).
- Members of the trade union Board and the founding members of a trade union cannot be dismissed during the period of their office and one year thereafter (Act No. 1264/1982). However, dismissal is permitted if it is justified by a specific reason indicated in the Law and if it is approved by the Committee for the Protection of Trade Union officials. As a general rule, dismissal based on trade union activities and membership is prohibited.
- Any dismissal which takes place while the employee is performing military duties is null and void (Act No. 3514/1928)
- The dismissal of a worker who is on annual leave is prohibited and will be considered null and void (Art. 5 and 6, Act 539/45)
- No employer can dismiss a woman on account of sex, marital status or because she filed a complaint or testified against the employer regarding the application of the Equal Treatment Act or any other Act. (see art. 9 of Act No. 3488/2006 "Application of equal treatment principle between women and men in accordance with the access to employment etc. )
* Anti-discrimination provisions:
-The Act No. 3304/2005 implementing the EU Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC prohibits discrimination on the the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religious or other beliefs, disability, age or sexual orientation in the field of employment.

Workers enjoying special protection: workers' representatives, pregnant women and/or women on maternity leave, workers performing military/alternative service, war veterans

Remarks

The following categories of workers enjoy special protection against dismissal:

* The dismissal of a woman during her pregnancy and up to one year after giving birth is prohibited (Act No. 1302/1982). However, the dismissal can be valid if there is an important reason for it (i.e misconduct, severe negligence, poor performance...) (Art. 15 Act No 1483/1984).
* Members of the trade union Board and the founding members of a trade union cannot be dismissed during the period of their office and one year thereafter (Act No. 1264/1982). However, dismissal is permitted if it is justified by a specific reason indicated in the Law and if it is approved by the Committee for the Protection of Trade Union officials.
- Any dismissal which takes place while the employee is performing military duties is null and void (Act No. 3514/1928).
In addition, dismissal is prohibited within one year after the employee returns to work. Such dismissal can however be valid if it is justified by a serious reason and approved by a special committee (art. 7 Emergency Law 244/1936).
- War veterans and members of their family can only be dismissed in accordance with a judicial decision recognizing their incapacity to work.
- Dismissal of a worker who is on annual leave is prohibited and will be considered null and void (Art. 5 and 6, Act 539/45)

Notification to the worker to be dismissed: written

Remarks

Art. 5(3) of Act No. 3198/1955.

Notice period:

Remarks

- No notice period to be observed in order to dismiss a blue-collar worker, they are only entitled to severance pay.
- The notice period applicable to the dismissal of white-collar workers is governed by art. 1 of Act No. 2112/1920, and varies according to the length of service, as follows:
* no notice period for white-collar workers with less than 2 months of service,
* 30 days for employees who have worked for at least 2 months but not more than one year;
* 60 days for employees who have worked for at least 1 year but not more than 4 years;
* 3 months for employees who have worked for at least 4 years but not more than 6 years;
* 4 months for employees who have worked for at least 6 years but not more than 8 years;
* 5 months for employees who have worked for at least 8 years but not more than 10 years;
* 6 months for employees who have worked for more than 10 years;
* The notice period is increased by 1 month for each extra year of service after 10 years, up to a maximum of 24 months (for employee's with over 28 years' service).

tenure ≥ 6 months:

  • white-collar workers: 1 months.
  • blue-collar workers: 0 months.

tenure ≥ 9 months:

  • white-collar workers: 1 months.
  • blue-collar workers: 0 months.

tenure ≥ 2 years:

  • white-collar workers: 2 months.
  • blue-collar workers: 0 months.

tenure ≥ 4 years:

  • white-collar workers: 3 months.
  • blue-collar workers: 0 months.

tenure ≥ 5 years:

  • white-collar workers: 3 months.
  • blue-collar workers: 0 months.

tenure ≥ 10 years:

  • white-collar workers: 6 months.
  • blue-collar workers: 0 months.

tenure ≥ 20 years:

  • white-collar workers: 16 months.
  • blue-collar workers: 0 months.

Pay in lieu of notice: Yes

Remarks

Act No. 2112/1920, art. 3.

Notification to the public administration: Yes

Remarks

The employer has the obligation to inform the OAED (Greek Manpower Employment Organization) within 8 days from the date of the dismissal (art. 9 Act No. 3198/1955).

Notification to workers' representatives: No

Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

Remarks

Except for workers enjoying a special protection.

Approval by workers' representatives: No

Definition of collective dismissal (number of employees concerned): Dismissals affecting at least, within a month:
- 4 employees in undertakings with 20 to 200 employees
- 2 to 3% of the workforce but not more than 30 employees in one month in undertakings with over 200 employees.

Remarks

New: These thresholds were established by Article 74(1) of Act 3863/2010 in July 2010.
[Prior to the reform, the definition of collective dismissal was set, as follows:
Dismissals affecting at least, within a month:
- 4 employees in undertakings with 20 to 200 employees
- 2 to 3% of the workforce but not more than 30 employees in one month in undertakings with over 200 employees
See art. 1, para. 2 of Act 1387/1983, amended by art. 9 of Act 2874/2000.
Note: the percentage and maximum number of employees to be dismissed in order to trigger the procedure for collective dismissal is set every six months by ministerial decision. For the first semester 2009, it was set at 2% with a maximum of 30 employees]

Prior consultations with trade unions (workers' representatives): Yes

Remarks

Act 1387/1983, art. 3 and 5.
The consultation period shall last 20 days from the date of notification to the workers' representatives (art. 5(1)). During the consultation process, the parties must examine ways to avoid dismissals or reduce their number or adverse effects (art. 3(1)).
If the parties do not reach an agreement, the consultation period can be extended for further 20 days by the Prefect or the Minister of Labour (art. 5(3))
Following consultation, the employer must notify their outcome to the competent authority (the Minister of Employment or the Prefect). If the parties reach an agreement, the employer can proceed to the collective dismissals according to the terms of the agreement after a 10 day period. If the parties fail to reach an agreement, the competent authority will issue a decision on the collective dismissals within 10 days (art. 5(3)).

Notification to the public administration: Yes

Remarks

Act 1387/1983, art. 3(3): The employer shall send copies of the documents submitted to the workers' representatives to the Ministry of Labour and the relevant local authorities local labour Inspectorate if the collective dismissals affect local branches of an undertaking.

Notification to workers' representatives: Yes

Remarks

Act 1387/1983, art. 3: the employer must inform the workers' representatives of the proposed collective dismissal, indicate the reasons for it and provide other information as required by the law (i.e the number and categories of employees concerned, the criteria used to select the employees, the period over which the collective dismissal will be carried out).

Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: Yes

Remarks

No approval by the administration required if the parties reach an agreement.
However, if the employer and the workers' representatives fail to reach an agreement, the competent public authority will issue a decision on the collective dismissals within 10 days, allowing or rejecting partly or wholly the proposed dismissals (Act 1387/1983, art. 5).

Approval by workers' representatives: No

Remarks

Act 1387/1983, art. 5: No approval is required as such: If the parties reach an agreement, the employer can proceed to the collective dismissals according to the terms of the agreement after a 10 day period. However, if no agreement is reach, the competent public authority will issue a decision on the collective dismissals within 10 days, allowing or rejecting partly or wholly the proposed dismissals.

Priority rules for collective dismissals (social considerations, age, job tenure): No

Remarks

No rules on the determination of selection criteria in the legislation reviewed. Selection criteria are only referred to in art. 3(2) of Act 1387/1983 as part of the information to be transmitted to employee's representatives within the framework of the notification and consultation process.

Employer's obligation to consider alternatives to dismissal (transfers, retraining...): Yes

Remarks

No obligation to draft a social plan. However, the consultation process shall address ways to avoid dismissals or reduce their number or adverse effects (art. 3(1), Act 1337/1983)

Priority rules for re-employment: No

Severance pay:

Remarks

1) White-collar workers:
Art. 2 and 4 of the Act No. 3198/1955, together with art. 1 of the Act 2112/1920.
In the event of dismissal for any reasons, the employee is entitled to severance pay, the amount of which is depends on the length of service and on whether the notice period has been observed or not.
- If the employer dismisses a white-collar worker with notice, the worker will be entitled to half of the severance indemnities payable in the event of termination without notice, that is half of wages due for the notice period.

- Termination without notice: severance pay amounts to the wages corresponding to the entire notice period:
* 30 days' wages for employees who have worked for at least 2 months but not more than one year;
* 60 days' wages for 1 year but not more than 4 years of service;
* 3 months' wages for at least 4 years but not more than 6 years of service;
* 4 months' wages for at least 6 years but not more than 8 years of service;
* 5 months' wages for at least 8 years but not more than 10 years of service;
* 6 months' wages for more than 10 years of service;
* Severance pay is increased by 1 month for each extra year of service after 10 years, up to a maximum of 24 months' wages (for employee's with over 28 years' service).

2) Dismissal (for any reason, including redundancies) of a blue-collar worker, statutory severance pay varies according to the length of service, as follows:
- from 2 months to 1 year of service: 5 days' wages
- from 1 year to 2 years of service: 7 days' wages
- from 2 years to 5 years of service: 15 days;
- from 5 to 10 years of service: 30 days' wages
- from 10 to 15 years of service: 60 day's wages
- from 15 to 20 years of service: 90 days' wages
- 20 years of service or more: 105 days' wages
(See art. 5 of Royal Decree 16/18 July 1920)

However this has been increased by various National General Collective Agreement, the most recent being that of 2005-2007. The provision on severance pay (art. 3) of this NGCA remains applicable, although new NCGA have since been concluded.
Therefore, according to those NCGAs, severance pay is set as follows:
- from 2 months to 15 years of service: same as statutory severance pay
- from 15 to 20 years of service: 100 days' wages;
- from 20 to 25 years of service: 120 days' wages;
- from 25 to 30 years of service: 145 days' wages;
- 30 years of service and above: 165 days' wages.

tenure ≥ 6 months: 0.5 months

tenure ≥ 9 months: 0.5 months

tenure ≥ 1 year: 1 months

tenure ≥ 4 years: 1.5 months

tenure ≥ 5 years: 1.5 months

tenure ≥ 10 years: 3 months

tenure ≥ 20 years: 8 months

Redundancy payment:

Remarks

See remarks under severance pay.

tenure ≥ 6 months: 0.5 months

tenure ≥ 9 months: 0.5 months

tenure ≥ 1 year: 1 months

tenure ≥ 2 years: 1 months

tenure ≥ 4 years: 1.5 months

tenure ≥ 5 years: 1.5 months

tenure ≥ 10 years: 3 months

tenure ≥ 20 years: 8 months

Notes / Remarks

Notes

[The amounts provided above under "severance pay" and "redundancy payment" refer to dismissal with notice of a white-collar worker]

1) Dismissal (for any reason, including redundancies) of a white-collar worker:
- If the employer terminates with notice: severance pay = half of the wages due for the notice period established according to the length of service.
- if the employer terminates without notice: severance pay = the wages due for the entire notice period (= max. 24 months' salary).

2) Dismissal (for any reason, including redundancies) of a blue-collar worker, severance pay varies according to the length of service, from 5 days to 165 days' wages.

Compensation for unfair dismissal - free determination by court: No

Compensation for unfair dismissal - Legal limits (ceiling in months or calculation method): - If the dismissal constitutes an abuse of right: it will be declared null and void and the worker will be reinstated and receive back pay for the period between the dismissal and the court's decision. The worker can apply for the payment of severance pay in lieu of reinstatement.
- If the procedural requirements applicable to the dismissal of a worker under an contract of an indefinite duration are not observed (= severance pay, written notification), the dismissal is also considered null and void and the worker will be entitled to reinstatement + back pay. The employee can also claim the payment of severance pay in lieu of reinstatement.
- If the employee dismisses an employee in violation of the provision on special protection (i.e pregnant women, workers on annual leave, trade union officials), the dismissal will also be nullified by the Court.
- In the event of termination of a fixed-term contract without a serious reason, the employee will be entitled to compensation for the remaining period of the contract.

Remarks

- Abusive dismissals: see art. 281 CC, which is the general provision prohibiting the abusive exercise of a legal right. This area has been developed by case law.
- On non-compliance with the procedural requirements, see art. 5(3) of Act 3198/1955.
- Termination of a fixed-term contract without a good reasons is regulated by art. 673 CC.
- See also the remark below "workers enjoying special protection" under "Substantive requirements for dismissals".

Reinstatement available: Yes

Remarks

As indicated above, reinstatement is the primary remedy for unfair dismissal.

Preliminary mandatory conciliation: No

Remarks

No preliminary mandatory conciliation.

"Articles 208 to 214 in Chapter One of the Code of Civil Procedure deal with the attempt at conciliation which may precede the filing of a lawsuit, although the mechanism is rarely used.
According to the Code of Civil Procedure, in the case of individual labour disputes arbitration is forbidden. However, before the parties concerned bring the case before the courts, there is an opportunity for the Labour Inspectorate to intervene in an attempt to reconcile the worker and employer. The Labour Inspectorate may intervene in individual labour disputes following a written application/complaint made by the applicant to the Labour Inspectorate, which then convokes a tripartite meeting (Labour Inspectorate, employee and employer), during which the subject of the dispute is discussed, along with means of resolving it."
See: Sofia Lampousaki, "Greece: Individual disputes at the workplace ' alternative disputes resolution", Feb. 2010, available at the following:
http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/studies/tn0910039s/gr0910039q.htm

Competent court(s) / tribunal(s): ordinary courts

Remarks

Complaints regarding the nullity of the dismissal shall be brought to the ordinary court within 3 months form the date to the dismissal (art. 6(1) of Act No. 3198/1955).
Alternatively, if the employee decides to lodge a complaint to obtain severance pay, he/she shall do so within 6 months of the dismissal (art. 6(1) of Act No. 3198/1955).

Existing arbitration: No