Operating a Business

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In this page: Legal Forms of Companies | The Active Population in Figures | Working Conditions | The Cost of Labour | Management of Human Resources

 

Legal Forms of Companies

Eteria Periorismenis Efthynis (EPE): Private Limited Company
Number of partners: Minimum of 1 partner and 1 director.
Capital (max/min): Minimum 4,500 EUR totally released up to this amount.
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the amount contributed.
Anonymos Eteria (AE): Limited Company
Number of partners: Minimum of 1 partner and 3 executives.
Capital (max/min): Minimum 60,000 EUR totally released up to this amount.
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the amount contributed.
Omorithmos Eteria (OE): General Partnership
Number of partners: Minimum of two partners.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital.
Shareholders and liability: Partners' liability is joint and unlimited.
Eterorithmos Eteria (EE): Limited Partnership
Number of partners: Minimum of two partners.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital.
Shareholders and liability: Liability is unlimited for at least one active partner. Liability of sleeping partners is limited to the amount contributed.
New Private Limited Company (IKE)
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital.
 

Business Directories

Financial Information Directories
Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry Directory - Financial information on members of the Chamber
Dun & Bradstreet - Worldwide directory with financial information on businesses

To go further, check out our service Business Directories.


 

Professional Associations

General Professional Associations
SEV - Hellenic Federation of Enterprises

To go further, check out our service Professional Associations.


 

Business Setup Procedures

Setting Up a Company Greece OECD
Procedures (number) 3.00 5.21
Time (days) 4.00 9.47

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

 
The Competent Organisation
Upon establishment, the company is required to register with the Tax Office, procure accounting and company books stamped by the Tax Authorities and register with the Local Chamber of Commerce. Consult The Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry for additional guidance. This, however, may change in the future: among the initial demands of the Troika in negotiations was the abolition of mandatory membership in chambers of commerce. The Chamber strongly resisted, and the Troika has not substantially pressed the issue for the time being, but this provision is likely to be a sticking point in future negotiations.
For Further Information
Doing Business: Greece, to learn about procedures to start a business in Greece
Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry
 

Recovery Procedures

Bankruptcy Laws
Commercial and bankruptcy laws in Greece are in accordance with international norms. Under Greek bankruptcy law, private creditors receive compensation after claims from the state and insurance funds have been satisfied. Monetary judgments are usually made in the country’s currency (Euro) unless explicitly stipulated otherwise.

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The Active Population in Figures

201820192020
Labour Force 4,804,0694,822,6124,751,026

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 
201720182019
Total activity rate 68.34%68.39%68.70%
Men activity rate 76.24%76.56%76.73%
Women activity rate 60.41%60.17%60.61%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 
Employed Persons, by Occupation (% of Total Labour Force) 2015
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 18.3%
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 12.9%
Manufacturing 9.2%
Accommodation and food service activities 9.0%
Public administration and defence; compulsory social security 8.7%
Education 8.1%
Human health and social work activities 5.9%
Professional, scientific and technical activities 5.8%
Transportation and storage 4.7%
Construction 4.0%
Financial and insurance activities 2.4%
Administrative and support service activities 2.4%
Information and communication 2.0%
Arts, entertainment and recreation 1.2%
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply 0.7%
Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities 0.6%
Mining and quarrying 0.3%
Real estate activities 0.2%
 
For Further Statistics
OECD: Greece Labour Market Statistics

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Working Conditions

Opening Hours
 
  • Legal Weekly Duration
8-hour day and 48-hour week.
  • Maximum Duration
In companies where a contractual working week of up to 40 hours is implemented, employees may work an extra five hours per week at the employer’s discretion (overtime). These hours of overtime (from the 41st to the 45th hour) are compensated at the current hourly wage, increased by 25%, and are not calculated as part of the maximum overtime work allowed by current provisions. For employees who work a six-day working week, the above-described overtime is eight hours per week (from the 41st to the 48th hour).
  • Night Hours
Night work is prohibited for certain categories of employee: women workers and minors. There are numerous exemptions from the general ban mentioned above, as permitted by Article 4 of the ILO Convention. It does not apply to women who occupy positions of responsibility or senior posts of a technical nature, to nurses or to women employed in allied occupations. When employees are doing night work they are entitled to an enhanced rate of pay equal to 25 percent above the normal pay.
Working Rest Day
Sunday
Paid Annual Vacation
Greek law stipulates a (minimum) annual holiday entitlement of 24 working days for employees who work a six-day week and 20 working days for employees who work a five-day week, once they have completed the basic "waiting" time (qualifying period of employment).
Retirement Age
65
Child Labour and Minimum Age For Employment
In Greece, under the relatively recent Law 1837/1989 on the protection of minors in employment the minimum age for entry into employment is 15: minors of any age who have not yet attained this minimum are prohibited from being employed.
Informal Labour Market
Very widespread in Greece, they account for possibly 25 percent of the gross national product. Their main feature is that they evade all control by the authorities, taxation obligations and social charges (social insurance, health and safety conditions and employees' holiday entitlements). Illegal immigrants predominate in the unskilled labor sector in many urban areas, as well as in agriculture.

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The Cost of Labour

Pay

Minimum Wage
EUR 713 per month as of 1 May 2022 (source: Greek government)
Average Wage
Average gross monthly earnings of full-time employees: EUR 17,099 per year (source: OECD, 2020).
Other Forms of Pay
  • Pay For Overtime
Whether by consent or unilaterally imposed, overtime attracts extra pay in respect of the hours of overtime worked.
  • Pay For Rest Days Worked
Employees who have worked on a Sunday or public holiday are entitled to their statutory minimum or contractual day's pay plus 75 percent of the statutory day's pay. They are entitled to this increased rate even if they take time off in lieu during the week, and regardless of whether their employment on a Sunday or public holiday was lawful or unlawful.
 

Social Security Costs

The Areas Covered
Social security is administered by multiple organizations in Greece. The Social Insurance Institute (IKA) covers pensions, medical expenses and long-term disability payments for employed individuals. Other insurance organizations cover the self-employed, depending on their profession.
Contributions
Contributions Paid By the Employer: 22.54%, with a monthly cap fixed at EUR 6,500.
Contributions Paid By the Employee: 14.12% with a monthly cap fixed at 6,500 EUR .

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Management of Human Resources

 

Recruitment

Method of Recruitment
Agencies, Internet and face to face interview.
Recruitment Agencies
In Greece, job placements fall exclusively within the competence of the Manpower Employment Organization (OAED). Consequently, private employment agencies are illegal for the time being, but this prohibition is under review since it is not in accordance with the relevant articles of the European Union.
Recruitment Websites
Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED)
 

The Contract

Type of Contract
Contracts can be part time or fixed term.

Breach of Contracts

  • Retirement
There is special provision for lowering the pensionable age in the case of arduous and unhealthy occupations, and also for certain categories of employees with family commitments.
  • Dismissals
Greek law uses the word termination which in the current sense means not only dismissal but also resignation, when termination originates from the employee. The dismissal mechanism presupposes that the employee is given advance notification, which is effected in writing and incorporates a specified notice period, and is paid compensation for dismissal (severance pay). Under Greek law, the employer is not obliged to state reasons which justify dismissal, but is obliged to compensate the employee, with certain exceptions. Collective dismissal or redundancy is regulated by different legal rules.
Labour Laws
Greek Labor Law
Doing Business: Greece, to obtain a summary of labour regulations that apply to local enterprises
 

Dispute Settlement

 

Conciliation Process

Cases of Dispute
Greek law (Article 16 of the Code of Civil Procedure) defines individual labor disputes as all disputes which either arise from work as an employee ( e.g. claims relating to an employee's pay or payments for overtime exceeding maximum working hours) or are generated by any other reason provided it relates to work as an employee.
  • Legal Framework
If internal methods of dispute settlement fail, the matter may be referred to a court of first instance with a single judge. For more information, visit the website of the European foundation for the improvement of living and working conditions.
  • Procedure
Law 1876/1990.
 

Judicial Structures

  • Legal Framework
Visit the website of the European foundation for the improvement of living and working conditions.
  • Competent Legal Body
The first-instance courts with a single judge deal with cases involving a value of 500,000-1 million drachmas. These also include individual labor disputes, which in fact constitute the most important area of their jurisdiction (there are no special labor courts in Greece). The law (Article 16 of the Code of Civil Procedure) defines individual labor disputes as all disputes which either arise from work as an employee ( e.g. claims relating to an employee's pay or payments for overtime exceeding maximum working hours) or are generated by any other reason provided it relates to work as an employee. These same courts are also competent to deal with disputes under collective labor law, i.e. disputes arising from a collective agreement or provisions of similar standing, especially arbitration awards.
 

Social Partners

Social Dialogue and Involvement of Social Partners
Over a quarter of Greeks are members of labour unions, though the density varies depending on if the organisation is in the public or private sector. Membership in private sector unions is relatively low, and the unions are not very powerful. Conversely, membership in public sector unions is high and the unions are much stronger. Legislation passed between December 2010 and 2013 liberalised national collective bargaining agreements, allowing private companies to negotiate in-house labour agreements with employees.
Unionisation Rate
Overall trade union density is 21.5% (OECD, 2013), though density varies by sector. Unionisation is very high in public sector enterprises, utilities and services, ranging from 80 to 98%. In the private sector, it is very low, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises.
Unions
GSEE
 
 

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Latest Update: November 2022