Greece Country Facts

We provide comprehensive information regarding, Culture, Work life, Taxation, Visa’s & immigration, Labour Law, recruiting in Greece and employment contracts.

Global Expansion Made Easy for You

Expanding into Greece generally comes with challenges, however, partnering with us and using Employer of Record (EOR) eliminates the frustrations you could encounter.

Visas, Work Permits and Migration

Expanding into a country or hiring a workforce abroad can lead your business to great profits, but unfamiliar laws and regulations can counteract your company’s goals and plans. At Bradford Jacobs, we want to eliminate this complicated part. By using our PEO service we can arrange all needed visas and permits including the entire application process without your physical presence. With bold tax cuts, several investment incentives, and less than a handful of procedures required for business operation, Greece is an attractive option for global business expansion by companies, entrepreneurs, and workers. However, Greek visa and work permit regulations are complicated as they vary for nationals from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and countries outside these zones.

Our team is trained to research the latest information on Greek visas and work permits and therefore, we created a guide to introduce you to the rules and requirements. By reading this guide you will get familiar with all the requirements so you or your employees can start working in Greece in no time.

What types of Work Visas and Permits in Greece are there?

There are two main types of Visas that you can apply for in Greece:

  • Long Stay Visa (Greek D Visa): authorizes a person to enter and stay in Greece for more than 3 months. It also allows the person to engage in most types of paid activities. Anyone with a D visa must apply for a work and residence permit immediately after they enter the country.
  • A Greek D Visa is usually valid for a year – however some categories of applicants are granted with shorter visa validity. The categories include:
    • Seasonal Employees (Tourism, Retail) – Up to 6 months
    • Fish workers – Up to 11 months
    • Artistic group members – Up to 1 year
    • Employees legally employed by an enterprise established in a Member State of the EU, who travel to provide a specific service under contractual obligation  – Up to 1 year
    • Qualified technical employed by an enterprise established in another country, under a contract to provide specific services – Up to 6 months
    • Leaders of organized tourist groups – Up to 8 months
    • Sportspeople, coaches, and other specialized personnel for training purposes – Up to 6 months
    • Students participating in a traineeship program – Up to 6 months
  • Short Stay Visa (Greek C Visa): A Greek Schengen Visa, authorizes person to enter and stay in Greece for a maximum of 90 days uninterrupted, or 90 days within 6 months. There are also different types of Short Stay Visas:
    • Greece Tourist Visa – to visit Greece for vacations and tourist activities.
    • Greece Visitor Visa – to visit friends and family members.
    • Greece Business Visa – to engage in business-related activities.
    • Greece Medical Visa – to get medical treatment in Greece.
    • Greece Short-Term Study Visa – to engage in courses that last up to 3 months in half-year periods.
    • Greece Cultural Visa – to participate in cultural/sports events, or film-shooting.
    • How to obtain a Greece Work Visa?

To obtain a Work or Long Stay Visa for Greece for non-EEA workers, an employee must meet certain requirements, particularly concerning documentation for your application:

  • Your valid passport.
  • Recent Photos.
  • Health insurance.
  • Medical certificate.
  • Roundtrip flight booking.
  • Evidence of sufficient financial means.
  • Proof of accommodation.

Employees applying for their work visa also need to acquire other documents pertaining to their employment:

A certified copy of a valid employment contract, which has been notarized or approved by a public authority. The employee’s salary must be (at least) equal to the National Minimum Wage, and equal to the national terms of employment.

Proof of employee’s qualifications and experience.

Any relevant certifications, licenses, references, or authorisation.

How to Apply for Work Visa/Work Permit in Greece

The application process of a Greek D/Long Stay Visa for non-EEA workers consists of a few procedures that need to be completed correctly, to not risk any delays or unsuccessful applications. It is important to note that the order of the steps may change, according to the home country’s regulations.

Fill in the application form: fill in both parts of the form – the first refers to your personal information, and the second contains questions related to the purpose of your application.

Schedule a Visa Appointment: You must make an appointment for a Visa interview at your local Greek Embassy or consulate, which is compulsory to attend. The scheduling and interview process may vary according to how they are regulated in your country of residence – you might have to do it over the phone, online, or in some cases, in person.

Have the visa interview: You will be meeting with a consular or two, who will be asking you questions relating to your trip. You will need to answer carefully.

Present the required documents: You need to give the documents you have collected to the consular(s), as required.

Give your biometrics: Your fingerprints will be scanned, and facial image taken if you have not travelled to the Schengen Area in the last 5 years.

Pay Visa Fee: in most cases, payment for your visa is required on the day of your interview. The payment process/requirements may vary according to the country of residence.

The processing time of the Greek D Visa varies – the minimum is 6 days, and the maximum processing time is 3 months.

Once the visa has been granted, employees must obtain a work permit in Greece to legally work for a company. The employer, however, may opt to apply for a work permit for their employees, if the company is licensed and incorporated. It is also important to note that work permits include residence permits. Thus, employees only need their work permits, as well as a long stay visa to legally live and work in Greece. Work permits usually tend to be specific to the employer, occupation, and location in Greece, and are valid for a year.

Greece Residence / Work Permit

Any non-EEA employee moving to Greece with a Long Stay Visa that is valid for a year or longer must also apply for a Residence/Work Permit. This can also be done through sponsorship by the employer. Before applying for a residence/work permit, applicants must obtain a tax identification number (AFM) from the local tax office, as well as a Social Security Number from the Social Security Institute (AMKA). It is possible to get a social security/AMKA number from the nearest IKA (Social Insurance) office or KEP (Citizens Service) office.

After that has been dealt with, the work permit application process begins:

  • Be sure to have the original or notarized copies of the documents used to apply for your Greek D visa – they need to be submitted again.
  • Completing the online application form for a residence permit – which is to be completed within a few days of your arrival in Greece.
  • Schedule an appointment with the main police station in your district.
  • Attend an interview with a local police officer, who will ask you questions about your purpose(s) for residing in Greece.
  • Submit your documents at the police station.

It is important to note that those holding a visa which is valid for less than a year may not apply for a residence permit, but they must pay the consular post a visa fee of €150.

How much is a Greece Work Visa?

The standard fee for a Greek D Visa is EUR 180. However, these fees vary according to the following visa categories:

  • Ethnic Greeks living in Albania and Turkey – 20 EUR
  • Third country nationals traveling from an undertaking established in the EU/EEA – 75 EUR (plus an extra 150 EUR as they do not require a residency permit)
  • Seasonal employees – 75 EUR
  • Leaders of organized tourist groups applying to stay up to 8 months – 75 EUR
  • Scholars participating in specific exchange programs in the framework of the bilateral agreements, or with co-financed programs from the European Union – 90 EUR
  • Strategic investors and young people from Australia and Canada – EXEMPT

Working Visa / Permit for Greece

To work in Greece, European Union and European Economic Area nationals do not require work visa or permits.

Non-EU and non-EEA nationals must apply for a work visa and work permit to legally work in the country. A Greek D Visa or Greek National Visa authorizes a person to enter Greece and remain for more than 3 months – it also allows a person to engage in most paid activities. Non-EEA nationals must also apply for national insurance and social security.

Non-EU and non-EEA nationals may also be able to apply for an EU Blue Card – this is both a work and residence permit for highly-qualified non-EU workers who wish to work and live in the EU. To meet the qualifications, you will need:

  • Proof of your higher education qualification (university degree, transcripts, etc.), or in some case, proof of at least 5 years of relevant professional experience.
  • An employment contract of at least a year (does not apply for self-employed work or entrepreneurs).
  • A higher-than-average salary compared to the average salary of Greece (except when the lower salary threshold applies).
  • The necessary travel documents – health insurance, travel itinerary, etc.
  • Proof you completed legal requirements to practice your profession, where this is regulated.

Business Visa Greece

Any person from a non-EEA country will need to apply for a Business Visa to visit Greece to engage in business-related activities. It is a Short Stay Visa, also known as a Greek C Visa. This visa type defines the activities in which a person can engage, as well as who can accompany him.

To apply for a Greece Business Visa, you will need the following documents:

  • An invitation letter from the Greek Company you will be visiting, with their detailed address and the dates of your visit
  • A certification from your employer allowing the business travel
  • Proof of previous trade relations between the two companies (if there is any)
  • Business bank statements of the last 6 months
  • The Memorandum and Article of Association in an original certified copy (registered with joint stock companies)
  • Trade License (first issued and present renewal, if applicable)
  • Proprietorship/Partnership documents
  • Expenses – employer/partner company must state coverage of expenses on the approval letter or invitation

The maximum validity of a Greek C Visa is three months within a 6-month period. However, this may vary, according to what your embassy grants you.

Greece Tax Laws

Global expansion is a great way to grow your business and Greece offers many appealing opportunities. However, the tax laws can be complex and require time-consuming research. By using our PEO service we will take care of the complicated legwork so that you can focus on your business goals in Greece. Greece enjoys gateway access to over 140 million consumers in the Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Europe – with a formidable shipping industry, and prominent and fast-growing regional markets. Greece Tax is also undergoing a major change, boasting 50% tax cuts for those wishing to take up new business or expand their business in Greece.

Dealing with tax matters is a major issue for companies seeking to develop an international presence, particularly as disciplinary measures can apply for non-compliance. We have made it our goal to keep track of the latest changes in the tax policies of Greece to always ensure complete compliance.  In this guide we include the basic facts regarding tax regulations and we hope to provide you with a flying start in Greece to make your business thrive.

Overview of Greece Tax:

Individual Income Tax: Progressive (Income Tax and Special Solidarity Contribution: see table below)

  • VAT: 24%
  • Corporate Income Tax: Normal: 24% – Credit Institutions: 29%
  • Employer Social Security Contributions (2021): 22.54%

Individual Tax Greece- Single, Married

Any individual earning an income in Greece must pay local taxes, regardless of their residential status. Permanent residents are also taxed on any income received from outside the country. Besides income tax, individuals in Greece must also pay for social security, which amounts to about 16% of their income, as well as a special solidarity contribution with a maximum of 10% of their income (depending on the employee’s work sector). Additional tax is also added on capital earnings such as dividends, interest, royalties, and real estate.

Individuals must file their taxes annually – the payment deadline is June 30th of the following year. Filing tax returns is normally done online via the national tax portal (IAPR). For income tax return filing (single or joint), it is mandatory for a taxpayer to obtain a Greek tax registration number (also known as an AFM number).

Non-Greek tax residents are required to file their annual income tax return with the applicable tax authority for foreign residents. These residents may also have the option to appoint a Greek tax resident as their representative, based on a proxy document. Legal entities cannot be appointed as representatives.

Tax in Greece is worked out progressively (dependent on income), starting at 9% for those earning up to €10,000, and goes up to 44% for those earning over €40,000 – as shown below:

  • Income Bracket €0 – €10,000          –   9%
  • Income Bracket €10,001 – €20,200   –   22%
  • Income Bracket €20,001 – €30,000   –   28%
  • Income Bracket €30,001 – €40,000   –   36%
  • Income Bracket €40,001 and higher  –   44%

For married couples: As of the 1st of January 2018, spouses can opt to fill out separate tax returns, following a binding statement that must be submitted to the tax authorities by the end of February of the following year. If spouses are filing taxes separately, and have dependent children, then requirements related to the taxable income of dependent children apply for the parent reporting the higher income. Taxable income of dependent children is added to the parent declaring the higher total income (with exceptions). If parents declare equal total income amounts, the income of dependent children is added to the father’s taxable income. If there is no father, the income is then added to the mother’s taxable income. However, the taxable income of dependent children is only added if certain conditions are met.

Special solidarity contribution

In 2020, the special solidarity contribution was abolished for all other types of income except employment income and income from pensions. In 2021, this contribution was further abolished for income from employment in the private sector. Moreover, the contribution is calculated based on the following progressive tax scale:

  • Annual Income of 0 – 12,000:               0%
  • Annual Income of 12,001 – 20,000:        2.2%
  • Annual Income of 20,001 – 30,000:        5.0%
  • Annual Income of 30,001 – 40,000:        6.5%
  • Annual Income of 40,001 – 65,000:        7.5%
  • Annual Income of 65,001 – 220,000:      9.0%
  • Annual Income of 220,0001 and over:    10.0%

Greek Individual Tax Rules

Eligibility for Greek Income Tax, as well as other taxes, will depend on where you are residing. The residency is the country regarded as the permanent home of a person, or where the person lives most of the year. A person is eligible to pay taxes if they are registered as a local employee or a self-employed individual and will be taxed on their individual income. If a person is registered as a “permanent resident”, then the taxes will depend on where the income is obtained.

If you are a non-resident in Greece, you are subject to paying taxes only on your individual income in Greece, due the Double Taxation Treaties. If you are married, you will be taxed separately, although there are some possible adjustments. If you are an EU member state resident, and 90% of your total income is from Greece, you can benefit from a variety of tax deductions and credits.

You must pay taxes in Greece if you:

  • Have a permanent residence in Greece
  • Have spent more than 183 days in Greece during the calendar year
  • Are employed or are carrying out professional activity in Greece
  • Have a business or investment in Greece
  • If you are a partner in a limited liability company in Greece
  • Receive an annual income of more than 3000 euros from salaries, self-employment, pensions, alimony, or agricultural activities
  • If you own a car, a motorcycle, boat, or aircraft in Greece
  • If you own property in Greece
  • If you rent land/property in Greece
  • VAT

Greece has a standard VAT rate of 24%, which applies to most goods and services, as well as a minimum standard VAT rate of 15%. There is also a “super-reduced” VAT rate of 6% on goods such as books, newspapers, magazines, theatre tickets, and services such as the supply of electricity and gas, and district sales – there are certain regulations for goods and services to be within the reduced VAT rate bracket. Due to COVID-19, Greece has temporarily cut the VAT rate to 13% for hotel accommodation services, medical services, food services, and food preparations to support the local economy.

Employers’ Social Security and statutory contributions

An employer’s social security contributions will depend on the fund(s) the employee is registered to, which may vary according to the sector and industry. Social security contributions are to be granted on an employee’s salary, and with-held to be paid by the employer every month.

As of 1 June 2020, social security contributions for the primary social security fund (EFKA) were with-held at 15.33% and contributed from the employee’s salary, and 24.33% was contributed by the employer. There is a monthly social security contribution cap for the EFKA, which is set as EUR 6,500. However, to a change in law in 2020, as of 2021 the social security contributions for the employee and employer have been reduced. They are 14.12% for the employee and 22.54% for the employer.

Social Security Contribution

  • Employee: 15.33% (2020), 14.12% (2021)
  • Employer: 24.33% (2020), 22.54% (2021)

Entity Set Up

Global expansion into Greece generally means that you need to set up an in-country entity. However, by partnering with us you create the possibility to bypass this process and utilise our Greek entity. By using our PEO service we take care of the complicated paperwork.

Expanding into a new country is always an adventure, but we believe this adventure should be exciting instead of just frustrating and time-consuming. Therefore, we have been supporting companies in over a hundred countries with their expansion plans.

In this guide, we will share which documents you need to establish an entity in Greece, but also where you will need to register your business address and company’s name. We will also break down the advantages and disadvantages of setting up an entity in Greece.

Set up an entity in Greece

Foreign subsidiary entities in Greece hold the same company standing as any other conventional limited liability companies and are welcomed as equals with domestic businesses. It enjoys independence from the parent company and is subject to all national laws of Greece.

The registration process varies according to the entity type, and comes with some complexity – however, the establishment process is straightforward, and benefits from a ‘One Stop Shop’ model. Setting up a subsidiary in Greece, however, involves a heavy workload.

You can lighten this load by partnering with us, an Employer of Record (EOR) company. We can obtain your new personnel through our Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) international recruitment specialists, and our EOR experts will handle all legal and compliance requirements. Use our services and be up-and-running with a presence in your new territory within days, rather than months.

How to set up a Greece Subsidiary

  • Decide on the company type that suits the nature of your business and business goals in your new territory – The Greece Limited Liability Company (EPE), The Greece Public Limited Company (AE), The Greece Private Capital Company (IKE), or a branch.
  • Obtain a business address in Greece.
  • Have the appropriate registration documents certified by the Athens Bar Association and carry the Special Apostille of Hague Convention. The documents will also need to be translated into Greek.
  • Confirm the company name and register the company with the unique registration office – GEMINET. Once approved, the company will be issued the Lawyers Welfare Fund certification, the registration number, and the Greek Business Registry (GEMI) number.
  • Open a corporate bank account and deposit appropriate share capital, accompanied with the founders/shareholders’ documentation.
  • File documents with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and once registered, will receive the company seal.
  • Register with the Greek Tax Authorities and apply for a Tax Identification Number (AFM) with the local Tax Office/Internal Revenue Services (EFORIA).
  • Apply for an employer’s social security number with the Unified Social Security Fund (EFKA).
  • Once incorporated, file the subsidiary’s Articles of Incorporation with the Official Gazette.
  • You will also need to apply for permits and residencies for employees if you would like to send employees to help set up the subsidiary.
  • You must also register all employees at the Manpower Employment Organization, no later than 30 days from hiring.

Fees

Company registration fees vary according to the documents needed and other services such as translation, notarization, etc. However, the registration fees for most entity options are EUR 60 using the One Stop Shop online registration services, and EUR 10 for the registration services at the GE.MI. An additional EUR 30 can be paid to have distinctive national control of your company name/title.

Application Methods & Time

The time it takes to establish a company in Greece is two working days, after all documentation has been confirmed, translated, and notarized (which takes about 7 weeks).

This can be done through a One Stop Shop service at the General Commercial Registry (GE.MI), the Chamber of Commerce, or a notary public.

However, registration can also be done online at the One Stop Shop portal (e-YMS), which takes less than one working day to be established. Access to the service is free of charge, but to be eligible for this service, you must have a Greek Tax Identification Number.

Certain taxation or financial transactions they can also be completed online use the transactions through the TAXISNET service.

What you need to set up a Greece Subsidiary

If a foreign company wishes to expand into Greece, they must meet certain requirements:

  1. A Greek business address – leased or purchased with all relevant documentation.
  2. A Greek bank account with the appropriate share capital deposited (depending on the subsidiary type).
  3. Completed registration documents:
    – The Memorandum of Association
    – The Articles of Association
    – The resolution of the parent company detailing its decision to form the subsidiary.
    – Commencement of works (M3).
    – Statement of company’s activities (M7) – The main activity of the parent company abroad, the services to be provided by the Greek branch/affiliate, details of its legal representative, the number of employees and their specialties, and the company’s affiliates, recipients of such services.
    – Certified copy of the Company’s statute, with its amendment.
    – A certificate (within two months of its issue date) issued by the local Chamber or other public authority certifying the establishment and operation of the company, the composition of its Board of Directors and signatures of the shareholders.
    – A documented study (based on the Directorate’s model) of the company’s proposed profit margin, for the provided internal services by the company in Greece.
    – Last year’s Balance Sheet and Income Statement for the Parent Company. For newly founded companies, a Founding Statement must be submitted.
    – Confirmation of the appointment of a legal representative.
    – A Certified Auditor’s Report accompanying financial documents.
  4. Certified registration documents from the Athens Bar Association with the Apostille of the Special Hague Convention, and Greek Translations.
  5. A company seal from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
  6. Confirmation of the business name from the unique registration office – GEMINET.
  7. The subsidiary must also be registered with the Greek Tax Authorities.
  8. A Tax Identifier Number (AFM).
  9. A social security number (EFKA).
  10. Application is also required for certain special permits and licenses with the city municipality, certain ministries, or special authorities – depending on the type of business one wants to do.

Benefits of Setting up a Greece Subsidiary

Greece is a growing business attraction and destination for establishing a subsidiary and growing your business’ influence. There are also significant benefits to establishing an entity in Greece:

  • Subsidiaries are taxed the same way as any other resident company.
  • Subsidiary entities also benefit from double tax treaties, which reduces or removes taxes on dividends, interests or royalties paid to the foreign country.
  • Greece offers excellent opportunities for international connection due to its location amongst the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
  • Road, port, and train infrastructures have been upgraded to promote and increase important and export trade, with the help of EU investment. Greece’s shipping infrastructure offers a platform for businesses to venture into nearby markets in the Balkans, the Black Sea, and the rest of the Eastern Europe.
  • Greece’s IT, biotechnology, healthcare, and property management sectors hold attractive investment opportunities.
  • Greece’s government is pursuing several initiatives to attract investment into the country, making company establishment efficient and easy.
  • Non-EU investors can benefit from Golden Visa scheme – any capital or real estate investment can help board members or company shareholders get permanent residency in Greece, and access to the EU.

Greece Subsidiary Laws

Subsidiary Laws in Greece vary based on what type of entity you choose to establish, which are all regulated under the Greece Company Act. This entails meeting a few requirements:

Registration & Documentation

  • A Limited Liability Company (EPE) requires at least one shareholder/founder and one director for registration, as well as a minimum share capital of EUR 4,500.
  • A Public Limited Company (AE) requires at least one shareholder and 3 directors for registration, as well as a minimum share capital of EUR 60,000.
  • Private Capital Company (IKE): requires at least one founder, with a least EUR 1 in minimum share capital.
  • Entities must also be registered with the Social Insurance Organization (EFKA).
  • All entities must be registered with the Greek Tax Authorities.
  • All entities must be registered and regulated the Greek Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
  • For the entity founders: foreign legal persons must submit certain documents, including Articles of Association that bears an apostille and are officially translated or certified by a consulate. They also need certification from their legal country of residence to verify the existence of the company, and a certified copy authorizing the appointment of a legal representative in Greece.
  • They also need an M3 and M7 form for the company to apply for a Tax Identification Number (TIN).

Accounts and Taxation

  • All entities must have a Tax Identification Number (TIN).
  • Entities must file annual financial statements, as well as monthly VAT accounts and the annual VAT Return statement.
  • All subsidiary companies must pay a corporate income tax rate of 24%.
  • For Public Limited Companies (AE), an annual statutory audit is required.
  • With-holding Tax payments are applicable to both resident and not-resident companies: dividends – 10%, interests – 15%, and royalties – 20%.
  • Entities must also pay a stamp duty of 1.2-3.6%, depending on the transaction.

The Greek Market

Foreign companies expanding into the Greece will be met with a highly educated and skilled workforce, and a recovering economy with a range of incentives for foreign investments. However, setting up shop in an unfamiliar place comes with its own challenges. Foreign businesses must comply with employment, tax, payroll, and corporate legislation whilst ensuring that their employees are working productively and efficiently. The alternative solution to overcoming these issues involves working with a Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) such as Bradford Jacobs, using our Employer of Record (EOR) in-country experts to handle every aspect of compliance.

Starting a Business in Greece

Greece is in a strategic position to explore markets in Africa, Asia, and Europe. With a dominant services industry (contributing about 68% of Greece’s national GDP), as well as a rich and vibrant culture, Greece attracts 20 million tourists each year. Greece also boasts a strong shipping industry and infrastructure. Despite previous economic troubles, Greece enjoys a strong stock market – in 2019, the Athens Stock Exchange became one of the best performing stock markets in the world.

To start a business in Greece you must go through the registration procedure, which is multi-layered and somewhat complex. Greece has introduced new measures to make the establishment procedure quick and easy, but the documentation requirements are thorough.

The necessary steps to start a business in Greece include:

  • Obtain a business address in Greece.
  • Decide on the company type that suits the nature of your business and business goals in your new territory – The Greece Limited Liability Company (EPE), The Greece Public Limited Company (AE), The Greece Private Capital Company (IKE), or a branch.
  • Have the appropriate registration documents certified by the Athens Bar Association and carry the Special Apostille of Hague Convention. The documents will also need to be translated into Greek.
  • Confirm the company name and register the company with the unique registration office – GEMINET. Once approved, the company will be issued the Lawyers Welfare Fund certification, the registration number, and the Greek Business Registry (GEMI) number.
  • Open a corporate bank account and deposit appropriate share capital, accompanied with the founders/shareholders’ documentation.
  • File documents with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and once registered, will receive the company seal.
  • Register with the Greek Tax Authorities and apply for a Tax Identification Number (AFM) with the local Tax Office/Internal Revenue Services (EFORIA).
  • Apply for an employer’s social security number with the Unified Social Security Fund (EFKA).
  • Once incorporated, file the subsidiary’s Articles of Incorporation with the Official Gazette.
  • You will also need to apply for permits and residencies for employees if you would like to send employees to help set up the subsidiary.

You must also register all employees at the Manpower Employment Organization, no later than 30 days from hiring.

Expanding Business into Greece

Foreign companies expanding into Greece want to tap into an advancing economy that is renowned for its high standard of living and rapidly improving business climate. Greece is also a world leader in maritime support, and its location proves to be a great asset with access to the Asian, African, and Eastern European markets, as well as access to the EU Market. Business opportunities in Greece include tourism, shipping, security, IT, biotechnology, cosmetics, healthcare, textiles, agricultural products, renewable energy, and property management sectors. All these sectors are also opportune targets for international expansion, and can be expanded into locations such as Alexandropoulos, Athens, Heraklion, Larissa, Patra, and Thessaloniki.

Greece Business Facts

  • Capital City – Athens
  • Population – 10.7 million
  • Regions – Attica, Crete, Central Greece, Central Macedonia, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, Ionian Islands, Northern Aegean, Southern Aegean, Peloponnese, Central Greece, Western Greece, Western Macedonia, Thessaly, Monastic Republic of Mount Athos.
  • Official language – Greek
  • Economy and world ranking – 79 in the Doing Business Rank (2020), GDP (194.38 billion dollars)
  • Leading sectors – shipping and shipbuilding, tourism, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products, mining, and petroleum
  • Main exports – petroleum, aluminum, medicine, fruits, and nuts (fresh or dried), vegetables, (prepared or preserved) and fish (fresh or frozen).
  • Main imports – crude oil, ships, boats and floating structures, petroleum products, medicine, motor vehicles, and natural gas.
  • Main trading partners – Italy, Germany, Cyprus, France, Bulgaria, and Turkey
  • Government – Unitary parliamentary republic
  • Currency – Euro

Advantages and Challenges of the Greece Market

Advantages of expanding into the Greek market:

Low labor costs: Labor costs in Greece are low compared to other countries in the EU.

Educated workforce: Greece possesses an educated workforce – it has one of the highest numbers of degree-educated adults, according to the 2019 OECD report. Favored fields include science, technology, and engineering.

Emerging economy: Greece’s economy is on the rise, making it a considerable attraction for investors.

Language: English is the favoured language for doing business in Greece.

Trade: It is the largest economy in the Balkans and has free-trade agreements with all the Balkan nations.

Ease of Business: Reforms in Greek Law make it easier for foreign businesses to expand and set up.

Tax incentives: Reform programs for the economy have reduced corporate tax levels, dividend payments and indirect labor costs.

Travel: Due to its low cost of living expenses, high consumer spending, and strong tourism industry, Greece is a top travel destination for many around the world.

Logistics: The motorways and waterways of Greece are highly developed due to updates made with the help of EU Funds, improving trade and transport.

EU Benefits: Greece is a member of the European Union and enjoys the same trade benefits of other EU nations.

The biggest challenge facing the Greece Market now is the effects of COVID-19, like many other nations around the world. Other challenges include its recovering economy after a lengthy financial struggle, and extensive bureaucracy procedures, but recent legislation is working towards its improvement and ease of access and completion. The 100 per cent solution is to consider the alternative to setting up a subsidiary by working with Bradford Jacobs. Our PEO international recruitment specialists will find the perfect fit for the roles you need to fill. Then our Employer of Record (EOR) in-country consultants will handle all the complexities of Greece’s employment laws, tax regulations and payroll, ensuring your Greek expansion plans move smoothly and effortlessly.

Limited Company / Subsidiary or Branch in Greece

A subsidiary established in Greece is considered a legal entity separate from its parent company, with independent administration and management. There are many advantages for companies that take this route – it provides more freedom in exploring the market and enhancing international credibility.

A branch, however, is quite different. A branch established in Greece does not have independence from the foreign company, and it is not treated as a resident corporation of Greece.

The main characteristics of a subsidiary:

  • A subsidiary is a legal entity in Greece, with the option of a private limited liability company (EPE) or a company limited by shares (AE), both with their own advantages.
  • Benefits from independence, but majority of capital is owned by the foreign parent company.
  • Subsidiaries are subject to the same taxation principles as Greek resident companies.
  • Both subsidiary types require investors’ documentation and proof of capital.
  • Must appoint a statutory auditor on certain requirements.
  • The liability of investors is limited to the amount of their investment in the company.

Main characteristics of a branch:

  • The foreign parent company must meet Greek share capital requirements.
  • Foreign parent company is responsible for legal and tax affairs of the branch.
  • Branch must register with the Greek authorities.
  • Branch requires the minimum of one in-house director.
  • Branch must also handle formal accounting requirements.
  • Branches must also appoint a local representative in Greece who is liable for payment of taxation.
  • A bank guarantee (possibly).
  • The parent company is liable for all obligations and activities of its branch.

There are other notable differences too. A subsidiary requires its own documentation, such as its own Articles of Association, whereas a branch only needs to use the documentation of the foreign parent company. Subsidiary companies are taxed on worldwide income, and branches are only taxed on their local or Greek income.

Legal Structures for Greece Market Entry

Depending on the company structure that you choose to set up, establishing a subsidiary or branch requires meeting certain legal requirements. A subsidiary is incorporated under Greek law, whereas a branch must operate under certain local laws (taxation, social security etc.), but are incorporated under the laws of the parent company’s country and uses the company’s Articles of Association.

The legal structures of a private limited liability company (IKE or EPE) are:

  • The minimum number of people required is 1 director and 1 shareholder for the incorporation of these subsidiary types, who do not have to be residents of Greece.
  • The minimum share capital required is EUR 4500 for an EPE (and EUR 1 for an IKE), which must be paid at formation, with at least half of it in cash.
  • Statutory financial reporting is also required, and an auditor must be appointed if the company’s annual turnover is over EUR 5 million, or the company has over 50 staff members.
  • The legal requirements for a stock corporation (AE):
  • The minimum share capital required is EUR 60,000 and must have at least 1 shareholder and 3 directors – residency is not required. The capital must be paid within 2 months of the business’ set-up.
  • The company is also required to appoint a statutory auditor and a board of directors.

Public limited companies must also file annual financial statements and meet other local registration requirements (tax, social security, etc.).

The legal requirements for a branch:

  • This company type requires at least one director and one legal representative (who must be a resident of Greece).
  • Branches will also need a local bank account, tax registration and social security registration for any onboarding/recruitment.
  • Branches are also required to file annual financial statements, and annual tax returns.

Employment Contracts

A successful business largely depends on its employees. By creating working contracts that include the right terms and benefits there will be no misconception and the perfect work-life balance can be created. At Bradford Jacobs, this is our aim, and we support companies in over a hundred countries with creating compliant and balanced labor contracts. Our team in Greece keeps track of the Greek laws and regulations on a daily basis to be duly aware of updates that can be implemented in working contracts. By using our PEO and EOR service we can provide compliant labor contracts for employees in Greece including local benefits.

To support your plans in Greece we made this guide including the basics of employment contracts in Greece. After reading this guide you will know everything about social security in Greece, notice periods, and average working hours.

How Do Companies Hire Greek Employees?

If a foreign company is looking to hire resident employees as part of their global expansion into Greece, they must comply with recruitment regulations such a tax, social security contributions and local employment laws, as well collaborate with or adhere to any collective bargaining, trade unions or work council agreements. In Greece, employment contracts do not have to be present to the employees in writing to be valid. Except for specific contracts, it is not obligatory for an employment contract to be in writing. However, under the Labor Code, employers must inform employees of benefits, working hours, salaries, working hours and work schedule in writing.

Labor law in Greece is based on the principle of employee protection. The employment relationship and its terms are hierarchically determined by the Constitution, international treaties, the local labor law, collective employment agreements, employment rules and business practices, with the individual contract being last in the order. According to the protection principle of Greece’s labor law, if opposing issues are regulated simultaneously by different hierarchical structures, the regulation most favorable for the employee will prevail. Thus, it is important for the employer to know the existing labor laws and employee entitlements, as well as collaborate with the appropriate local employment organizations.

Collective agreements

Collective employment agreements are determined between employers’ and employees’ trade unions. These agreements regulate employment terms that comprise the minimum working conditions for the applicable employees. An agreement is applicable when both employer and employee are members of the contracting trade unions. There are different types of collective employment agreements:

  • Sectoral-collective agreements – cover employees working in the same sector.
  • Occupational-level agreements – cover employees engaging in the same occupation.
  • Enterprise-level agreements – cover all employees working for a single company.
  • National General Collective Agreements – shape the minimum terms of employment for employees nationwide regarding non-pay terms.

Employment Contracts in Greece

In Greece, written employment contracts are not common practice. However, under the Labor Code (Presidential Decree 156/1994), employers must notify their employers of the material terms of the contract in writing. This applies to both indefinite and fixed term contracts, as well as working relationships of a duration exceeding 1 month. This information must be provided for the employee no later than 2 months after they started work, in one of the following ways (chosen by the employer):

  • In an employment contract
  • In another document

The details that must be included in one of these documents are as follows:

  • Details of the contracting parties (employer and employee)
  • Place at which work is to be performed, the registered office of the company or the home address of the employer
  • The employee’s post and grade or employment category, and their work duties
  • The date of the commencement of the employment contract and its duration (if fixed term)
  • Paid leave entitlements (duration, time, manner)
  • Compensation payable and notice requirements in the event of contract termination
  • All forms of earnings to which the employee is entitled to
  • Employee’s daily and weekly working hours
  • Applicable collective agreement which establishes the employee’s minimum terms of wage and employment.

Failure to provide the employee with one of these documents results in a fine but does not invalidate the employment contract.

Other employment forms

Besides employment contracts, there are other types of employment forms:

Work contracts (contractors): This contract type is mainly for contractors, which states the contractor’s tasks and payment terms (when part of the work or all the work is delivered). These types of contracts cease when the work is done.

Contracts for the provision of independent services (freelancers): This contract type is used when the work or the person under the service is not subject to the employer’s management/control.

Association contracts: This contract type is used when a joint grant is pursued with joint contributions.

Representation contracts: This contract type is used the employee acts on the general instructions of the employer, without working under the employer’s supervision or being bound to the regular working hours.

Termination of Contract

Employers are free to dissolve an employment contract of indefinite duration at any time, by giving notice of termination in writing, as well as paying the appropriate compensation. However, employers have the option to dismiss an employee without notice (known as an extraordinary termination), or they may do so with notice, in which case termination compensation is reduced by 50%. This, however, differs from fixed-term and work employment contracts, as with these contracts, the employer must justify the employee’s termination. Regarding the employee’s termination rights, they are entitled to terminate a contract of indefinite duration and depart voluntarily from their employment but must give the employer due notice of the termination within the legally prescribed time limits.

Once the notice has been given from either the employer or employee, the employer must submit an electronic notification of the employment termination through the ERGANI information system, within 4 days of delivering/receiving the notice. Failure to submit the electronic notification to ERGANI shall incur penalties. If the employee does not sign the dismissal document, a notice is served to them by a bailiff.

Employee Benefits

Happy and satisfied employees make your business thrive and lead to even better profits. However, the specific benefits for employees in Greece might not all be familiar to you yet. By using our PEO and EOR service, we can provide compliant labor contracts for employees in Greece including local benefits. When expanding your company’s presence in a new country, you need to ensure compliance both in your employment contracts and benefit guarantees. These involve social security contributions, sick leave, health insurance, and unemployment, to name a few. In Greece, benefits can be guaranteed by labor law and national legislation, as well as collective agreements with trade unions or workers’ councils.

Our guide will explain what benefits and employee compensation are guaranteed, and what can be modified, for any employer who wishes to expand their business into Greece.

What Greece Compensation Laws Exist?

In Greece, compensation laws vary depend on the employee classification and the sector they are working in. Employers must also keep in mind that benefits also vary depending on the applicable collective labor agreements or internal work regulations of the company. Employees in the private sector are entitled to 14 monthly salaries per annum, which includes a Christmas bonus (one month’s salary), an Easter bonus (half a month’s salary), and the annual holiday leave allowance (half a month’s salary), which must be paid on specified dates, according to Greek legislation.

Greek legislation also prescribes employee compensation for overtime during the week, work on a Saturday (for a five-week work system) and work on a Sunday and public holidays. Compensation is also recommended for business trips/work away from the employee’s normal place of work (overnight stays). There are, however, other benefits/compensation which are guaranteed by Greek legislation:

  • National Minimum Wage – is set at €758.33 per month in 2019, after the introduction of a new mechanism. From January 1, 2021, the minimum wage will be frozen – but it is set for a review in July 2021;
  • Social Insurance Contributions – the amount of the contributions varies according to the collective agreements, benefit plans and social security funds. Employees are entitled to social security, which is paid by both employer and employee, and is paid monthly (employee contributions are with-held and paid by the employer). Social contributions include pension, healthcare, unemployment, and other benefits according to the collective agreements and industry;
  • Notice Periods – This depends on the employment contract type, as well as the collective agreements. For an indefinite employment agreement – after 12 months of work, an employee must be given a notice for dismissal/termination, which ranges from one month to 4 months for over 10 years of employment;
  • Redundancy, Termination and Severance – employees are entitled to severance compensation after the probationary period of 12 months. Severance payments vary according to the amount of time employee worked. The maximum payment is 12 months’ (gross) salary for over 16 full years of work. However, if any employee has reached over 16 years of service at the same employer (as of November 2012), they are entitled to one more salary for very completed year of service from 17 to 28 years. For redundancy, this can vary according to collective agreement and employer policy;
  • Work Hours and Breaks – employees are entitled to 40 hours a week, which can be split into 5 days (8 hours a day) or 6 days a week (6 hours and 40 minutes a day). Rest periods or breaks are guaranteed at a minimum of 15 minutes for workdays over 6 hours;
  • Sick Leave – depending on the number of the years of service with the employer, an employee may take sick leave for up to 6 months and is entitled to up to one month’s salary, which is partially reimbursed by the employer and partially by the social security system/fund;
  • Regarding sickness, the employee is entitled to 50% of their normal pay during the first 3 days. From the fourth day onwards, the Greek Social Insurance Institute (IKA) pays sickness benefits to insured employees;
  • Holiday/Vacation Leave – Vacation leave depends on the amount of time the employee has been of service. Annual vacation leave starts at 20 days for a five-day working week, and 24 days for a six-day working week. It then increases by one day per year, depending on the length of service – leave is capped at 26 days for five-day employment and 31 days for six-day employment after 25 years and over of employment;
  • Maternity/Paternity Leave – An employee is entitled to 17 weeks of maternity leave (8 weeks before birth and 9 weeks after birth). Mothers are also entitled to a special 6-month leave during which the OAED pays the mother a statutory minimum wage monthly, as well as holiday bonuses and allowances based on the pay amount. Paternity leave, however, is only 2 days’ paid leave on the child’s birth;

Social Security in Greece

Social security contributions vary depending on the social security fund, benefit plans and any other supplementary insurance. Social security contributions are to be granted on an employee’s salary, and with-held to be paid by the employer every month. As of 2021, typical social contributions rates are 36.66% – 14.12% is the employee’s contribution, and 22.54% is the employer’s contribution.

  • Employee – 15.33% (2020), 14.12% (2021)
  • Employer – 24.33% (2020), 22.54% (2021)

Statutory Employment Costs in Greece

The National Minimum Wage: Employee wages must at least be equal the national minimum wage of EUR 758.33 per month. This wage is determined upon terms provided by the National General Collective Labor Agreement (NGCLA). The terms and conditions of this agreement apply to all employers and employees, irrespective of trade union of employer union membership, as well as sector (private or public).

Statutory costs to be made by the employer and employee also include these monthly contributions:

  • Pension – 33% (employer), 6.67% (employee)
  • Supplementary Pension –  25% (for both employers and employees)
  • Healthcare – 3% for sickness and 0.25% for cash benefits (employers), 2.15% for sickness and 0.4% for cash benefits (employees)
  • Unemployment – 17% (employers) and 1.83% (employees)
  • High occupational risk (depending on the industry) – 3.25% (employers) and 2.2% (employees)

What Benefits Are Guaranteed in the Greece?

Guaranteed employee benefits in Greece include:

Overtime: There are two type of overtime – overwork and overtime: work between 41 and 45 hours a week is called overwork. Work exceeding 9 hours a day and/or 45 hours a week is called overtime. Overtime payment is guaranteed if the employee is working more than 8 hours, with a statutory increase of 20% on the calculated on the employee’s hourly salary.

Health Insurance: Health insurance is guaranteed to employees who have worked at least 50 days in the past 15 months for a company and are eligible for free healthcare and dental care through social security.

Public Holidays: Greece has about 14 annual public holidays (holidays are announced yearly), and employees are entitled to get those days off.

Vacation Leave: Vacation leave is also guaranteed to employees in Greece, which starts at 20 or 24 days, and increases yearly.

Sick Leave: Sick leave and sick leave payments are also guaranteed to employees, with help from social security funds.

Maternity Leave & Allowance: Greece allows two kinds of maternity leave: the first being before and during childbirth, and the other being for a few months after the birth. In both cases, the mother is entitled to payment, but the leave allowance varies depending on the type of leave taken.

What Restrictions Exist for Benefits and Compensation in Greece?

Social Security – monthly contributions to the primary social security fund (EFKA) are capped and is set at EUR 6,500.

Vacation Leave – the number of vacation days granted to the employee is capped at 26 days for five-day employment and 31 days for six-day employment after 25 years and over of employment.

Severance Pay – The maximum severance payment is 21 months’ (gross) salary for over 28 full years of work.

Overtime – legal overtime can reach two hours a day, and up to 120 hours a year.

Unemployment Benefits – unemployment benefits are discontinued if the recipient does not respond to job or vocational training offers after 3 attempts by the Labor Employment Office (OAED). The duration of these benefits is also restricted and depends on the number of days the insured beneficiary has covered.

Health Insurance and other Benefits in Greece

Employees in Greece are also entitled to health insurance. Public healthcare is delivered by a universal system entitling Greek citizens to free or low-cost healthcare and is funded by compulsory social insurance payments. The services of this healthcare are delivered on a regional basis. However, depending on the benefits a company provides, an employee may choose to use private healthcare. Company benefits may also include car and housing allowance.

Other mandatory employee benefits include pensions, unemployment insurance and accident insurance (although this depends on the industry).

Recruiting Top Talent

Recruitment can be a tricky business, especially when a company is venturing to unfamiliar countries and exploring new markets. This is where we come in to oversee the process for you – Bradford Jacobs’ expertise and over 20 years of experience in international recruitment services is indispensable for an international expansion into Greece.  Hiring the right talent in Greece to expand your company can result in a thriving business with numerous opportunities. However, the recruitment process can be complicated when you have no physical presence in Greece yet. Our PEO and EOR service can be the solution for your company.

Are you curious about the recruitment process in Greece? In this guide, we will share the ground rules of hiring and recruiting talent in Greece. Our comprehensive knowledge of all Greek employment sectors and understanding of the culture and customs guarantees an untroubled transition.

The Recruitment Process in Greece

A foreign company does not require the assistance of a local entity to hire an employee. However, it is crucial to your recruitment efforts to understand where you can find the right talent (both foreign and domestic), as well as which national employment organizations an employer can collaborate with to access the right talent pools. This, though, takes time. And once the employee is found, the recruitment process must follow rigorous procedures, which include:

  • Registering with the Greek Tax Office (EFORIA) for a Tax Identification Number (AFM)
  • Registering with the Social Security Organization (IKA) for a Social Security Number (AMKA)
  • Register employee information with the online information system ERGANI (for the Labor Inspectorate)
  • Creating the employment contracts, in Greek and English
  • Applying special expatriation status (if applicable)
  • Calculating monthly salary and creating payslips
  • Researching available tax-free allowances
  • Submitting wage tax returns and national insurance forms
  • Corresponding with the involved parties
  • Creating annual accounts, administration, and year-end statements
  • Creating a payment schedule for wage tax, national and social insurances, and net wages

This process requires time and dedication, and how can you find these things in the array of all these complicated tasks? Well, allow us to provide the answer – by engaging an Employer of Record (EOR) such as Bradford Jacobs. By acquiring our services, we can convert your Greece expansion goals into an action plan with a few simple steps:

Bradford Jacobs steps in as an EOR, acquiring the right employees and guaranteeing they comply with Greek employment contracts, payroll, HR, tax, visa requirements, and work permits (if required). We manage all the work-related registration formalities, whilst you have daily control of your employees.

The employees complete their time sheets and expenses claims and we invoice you, the client. Once paid, we deduct all contributions to Greek authorities and transfer the balance into employee’s account. Within a few days, your company has international presence in Greece – in a prime position to explore further expansion without risking the expense or hassle of setting up your own subsidiary or branch office.

Legal Checks You Can Make on Employees

Personal data collected by employers for candidate employees must be limited to data that is necessary for the undertaking of the assessment of the candidate’s suitability and skills for the job. Processing personal data relating to a person’s criminal history, drug use or medical history is only considered fair and legal if it relates directly to a job and is necessary for reaching a decision on recruitment. Such data can only be collected directly from the candidate. Personal data concerning a candidate’s health falls under the similar restrictions, and is only necessary for:

  • Assessing a candidate’s suitability.
  • Fulfilling the employer’s health and safety obligations.
  • Establishing employees’ rights and providing welfare benefits.

The Greek national legislation and European Law Constitution also provide requirements for eliminating discrimination. An employer is prohibited from hiring an employee based on their racial or ethnic origin, religion, or beliefs, disability, age, or sexual orientation.

Greek compliance laws also prohibit employers publishing vacancies that reflect an intention to discrimination. All criteria for hiring an employee must be clear and relevant to the job. Greek Law also requires equal opportunities and treatment of men and women at work.

Basic Facts on Hiring in the Greece

The law distinguishes between “employees” and “workers”. The distinction is based on the nature and type of provided services. Any person providing services based on physical strength – a worker; a person providing services based on intellectual skills – an employee. There are, however, instances where the law provides employee classification.

The state supports employment through labor-cost subsidy programs (through the Greek Manpower Employment Organization or OAED) by taking measures to promote the employment of people under the age of 25 or long-term unemployment by reducing labor costs.

Terms and conditions of employment can depend on collective bargaining, trades union and works council agreements.

The employer’s questions during a candidate interview are restricted by data protection legislation – the questions must directly relate to the job specification.

Is it not obligatory for an employment contract in to be writing; however, conditions of employment must be presented to the employee in writing. The Labor Code also requires that the employee’s working hours, salary, benefits, and work schedule be provided to the employee.

Employers must at least meet the minimum wage (currently at EUR 758.33), but the average monthly salary may differ according to the industry/sector.

The length of a typical working week in Greece is 40 hours a week, spread out over 5 or 6 days a week starting between 8am and 9am.

Overtime is permitted but limited to 2 hours per day and 120 hours per year – paid at a rate of 120%.

Employers are provided to provide a list of their employees and their schedules to the Labor Inspectorate once a year (generally in October), and notify them before any changes are made.

Probation in Greece lasts 12 months, and an open-ended employment contract can be terminated without notice or severance pay during this time.

Working with a Recruitment Agency

In Greece, the main body for the support of employment is the Greek Manpower Employment Organization (OAED). This organization utilizes 118 employment promotion centers (known as EPC or EPC2) throughout Greece that people can seek out to find a job and receive guidance. The OAED also seeks to improve qualifications of unemployed people through their creation of active employment, self-employment, and retraining programs.

Greece is a member of the European Employment Service (EURES) network – where EU member nations, Norway, and Iceland exchange information on job vacancies, living and working conditions.

The OAED also employ Greek EURES advisers, who are multilingual are specially trained. They help job seekers find work in any EU country, as well as fill job vacancies that employers in the European area have available. As part of the European Jobs Network, these advisers may also provide information and act as an intermediary between job seekers and employers.

Jobseekers or employers can also find work through private employment agencies to facilitate in finding employment – they are authorized by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

What are the Benefits of Hiring Outsourcing for Greece?

Outsourcing recruitment into Greece provides a major benefit of more efficient, speedy, and cost-effective business expansion. Optimizing this service allows companies to focus on managing their new enterprise and meeting their goals. Other significant advantages for outsourcing include:

  • A wide-ranging talent search done with reduced costs.
  • Ensure employment compliance requirements are met with no hassle or reprimands.
  • More control over your company’s capital expenditure as it removes the need to establish premises for a subsidiary.
  • Alleviates risks with an easy operation that provides the employer opportunity to explore new markets.
  • Improves work flexibility.

Allows you focus on your core business operations whilst we take care of rest.

Our Solution

At Bradford Jacobs, our Employer of Record (EOR) services take care of employee recruitment, onboarding, payroll, compliance and providing ongoing support. We choose the best-qualified talent to fill the roles you need and use our expansion know-how to guarantee you comply with all Greek payroll regulations, (including salaries, tax, and social insurance) by the time your new employees are sitting at their desks.

Culture

To do business in Greece, it is vital to have a good understanding of its business or work culture. Making the right impression with the right people is the key to success in Greece, and it is important to back this up with the right research on the market and potential business associates.

As a global PEO (Professional Employment Organisation) it is our goal to be familiar and updated with the business culture in the country we work with and in. By sharing our knowledge about the Greek work culture, we want to support your global expansion plans. Therefore, we will address all the aspects of the work culture in Greece to start your expansion well-informed.

Unlike other European Union members, Greek business culture remains traditional and reflects age-old concepts of hierarchy and the significance of relationship networks. Who you know, rather than what you know is what drives business transactions, relationships, and growth in present-day Greece.

Whilst there is a noticeable growth in appreciation of creating a work-life balance and flexible working times and opportunities for remote working, Greece still places significant importance on business etiquette for the smooth operation of businesses. Here are some tips and tricks to use during your first few months:

  • Punctuality: it is not particularly important for Greeks – they tend to be late for appointments. Scheduling an appointment is thus not always necessary, but it is courteous.
  • Socializing: Greeks enjoy socializing with friends and business associates – they use social settings and meals to build rapport and trust over a long period of time. Allow social conversation to pass before mentioning business to your Greek peers; keep them engaged and be personal about yourself. Some questions may come across as direct or overly personal, but that is not their intention. It is also best to reciprocate and show interest in their personal lives.
  • Introductions: When meeting someone new for the first time, smile and make eye contact with them. After a formal introduction, exchange business cards, and make sure to take a considerable moment to examine the card’s contents before putting it away. It might also be best to have a card translated into Greek and present it with the Greek side facing up during the card exchange.
  • Gift-giving: In Greece, business associates like to exchange gifts for holidays such as Christmas and Easter, as well as birthdays and name days. These are normally small gifts that are easily reciprocated – a bottle of wine or liquor, office accessories, or fine chocolate. When invited over for dinner to a Greek home, flowers, sweets, or a bottle of wine/liquor are gifts most frequently offered.
  • Dress code: It is advised to dress conservatively in business meetings in Greece – a dark suit for men, and professional wear for women, in dark and subtle colors. Depending on the social situation, however, less social clothing is acceptable. In the summer months – since it gets very hot in the summer, it is acceptable for men to wear a shirt with trousers, and women to be lightly dressed, avoiding tight clothing. In Greece, first impressions are largely based on a person’s dress, so it can make a significant difference.
  • Formality: In Greece, colleagues often address each other on a first-name basis. However, it is best to the let the other person make the first move in the address, especially when your colleague is older than you or holds a higher position in the company.
  • Hierarchy: It still holds some significance in Greek work culture. Final judgement calls are made by the person with the highest status, and authority for most decisions lies with them.
  • Flexibility: It is expected and appreciated that one will be flexible with the rules.

Greece Minimum Wage

In 2013, a new law was introduced, with amendments in 2018, which established a new mechanism for calculating the national minimum wage was introduced. The minimum wage is set by the Ministry of Labor after thorough consultation with national social partners. Consultation commences at the beginning of each year, and the final decision is issued at the end of June.
At the beginning of 2019, the national minimum wage was set at EUR 758.3 per month.

Probation in Greece

Under Greek Law, the first 12 months of an indefinite employment contract are considered the probationary period – during which the employer may terminate the employment contract without notice or severance pay (although this varies according to accompanying collective, trade union or work council agreements).

Working Hours in Greece

Full-time employees work 40 hours a week. However, these 40 hours can be divided into:

  • 8 hours a day, 5 days a week
  • 6 hours and 40 minutes a day, 6 days a week

Employees are also guaranteed a 15-minute break if the workday lasts more than 6 hours.

Overtime in Greece

Employees also have the option to work 45 hours during a 5-day working week, or 48 hours during a 6-day working week – if so, they will be guaranteed overtime pay of 120% of their usual wages. Any working time exceeding nine hours and eight hours per day respectively is considered overtime.

Notice period in Greece

In the first 12 months of an open-ended employment contract, the employee can be terminated without notice or severance pay. After that, a notice must be given. The minimum notice periods are:

  • 1-2 years of employment: one month.
  • 2-5 years of employment: two months.
  • 5-10 years of employment: three months.
  • 10+ years of employment: four months.

Redundancy, Termination / Severance in the Greece

If the employer wishes to terminate the employment without notice, he must pay the full compensation. However, if termination takes place with prior notice, the employer is thus obliged to pay half the severance pay amount. Severance payments depend on how long the employee has been at work. The severance pay scale is as follows:

  • One full year up to four years: two gross (monthly) salaries.
  • Four full years up to six years: three gross (monthly) salaries.
  • Six full years up to eight years: four gross (monthly) salaries.
  • Eight full years up to ten years: five gross (monthly) salaries.
  • Ten full years: six gross (monthly) salaries.
  • 11 full years: seven gross (monthly) salaries.
  • 12 full years: eight gross (monthly) salaries.
  • 13 full years: nine gross (monthly) salaries.
  • 14 full years: ten gross (monthly) salaries.
  • 15 full years: 11 gross (monthly) salaries.
  • Over 16 full years: 12 gross (monthly) salaries.

Redundancy

In Greece, redundancies are defined as dismissals on economic practicability grounds. They are not associated with the employees, but rather with the employer’s decisions concerning the company’s organization and aim to decrease any surplus staff. In case of redundancies, the severance compensation is the same as any other case (unless the employer applies a different policy). Collective redundancies, however, require a different procedure overall.

Pension Plans in Greece

Pensions are provided in Greece through a public scheme, comprising of a national pension (state contributions), and a contributory pension (paid by the employee). The pension age for both men and women is 67 – an employee must qualify with at least 4,500 days of contributions (which is equivalent to 15 years).

Workers, however, can also retire with full pension benefits at the age of 62 if they meet the contribution record of 12,000 working days (equivalent to 40 years).

Other benefits may apply for people who work in strenuous or unhygienic occupations, as well as for women with dependent or disabled children. The minimum old-age pension requires 15 years’ contributions.

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