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Greece at a Glance
- Currency: Euro, EUR (€)
- Population: 10.53 million
- Economy/GDP: $292.4 billion (55th largest)
- Top Sectors: Tourism, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products, mining, and petroleum
- Ease of Doing Business: Ranks 79 in the world, according to the World Bank’s latest Doing Business report from 2019
- Languages: Greek is the official national language of Greece, spoken by 99% of the population. Greece is the nineteenth most proficient country in speaking English as a second language, according to Education First’s English Proficiency Index, which analyzes data from 2.2 million non-native English speakers in 100 countries.
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Grow Your Team in Greece
Expanding your business abroad is an exciting journey, but the right preparation is necessary to expand into Greece successfully. By choosing Velocity Global as your Employer of Record, you’re entrusting an expert in global expansion to oversee and accelerate your international growth.
Whether you hire one supported employee to test the market or establish your presence in Greece with multiple hires, Velocity Global gives you the flexibility you need to build your team. As your Employer of Record, we handle all risk mitigation, payroll, and compliance so you can focus on running your business. Accelerate your expansion into Greece with our cloud-based technology and unmatched expertise.
Benefits of hiring in Greece
- Greece has remained the global leader in maritime transport and shipping, according to the 2021 annual report by the Union of Greek Shipowners. With a fleet of nearly 5,000 vessels, Greece remains the backbone of shipping for the European Union (EU). Behind Greece is Japan, China, Singapore and Hong Kong, which altogether represent more than half of the world’s overseas shipping capacity.
- Greece receives some of the most financial support from the EU. In the most recent EU economic adjustment program, Greece received €61.9 billion of financial assistance by the European Stability Mechanism, out of a total program amount of up to €86 billion.
- Greece’s international reputation took a hit after the European debt crisis which plagued the first half of the last decade. The COVID-19 pandemic has cast Greece in a new light. As reported by the European Commission’s 2022 Greece Enhanced Surveillance Report, it battled the pandemic far more effectively than the rest of the EU with fewer cases, less deaths, and a lower negative impact on its economy.
- Reported by BNP PARIBAS, Greece has a rapidly improving business climate. Foreign direct investment to the country has firmly risen since 2016 and strongly rebounded after the 2020 pandemic. Although fragile, the banking sector is improving with the government’s asset protection plan which was due to expire in early 2021 but was extended to the end of 2022 on account of its success.
Challenges of hiring in Greece
- BNP PARIBAS shares that Greece is still feeling the consequences of the 2008 and 2011 crises. Its economic size continues to be significantly smaller than it was 15 years ago, youth unemployment remains excessively high, and investment, as a share of GDP, is the lowest in Europe.
- The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development details that Greece’s economy would benefit from diversification as it is overwhelmingly dependent on tourism, with a high public debt, and low labor participation.
- A cumbersome, paper-based bureaucracy and judicial system has been cited as a major and longstanding constraint to the conduct of profitable business in Greece by the European Parliament.
Cultural nuances and must-knows of doing business in Greece
- First impressions are highly important and they influence business relationships with Greek colleagues, as personal relationships are highly valued.
- Building strong, long-lasting relationships is vital for business. Personal contacts and networks represented by trust, loyalty, and strong personal bonds expedite business operations and success. Personal networks open doors and solve issues that would otherwise be difficult to settle.
- Being a deeply family-oriented culture, the Greek business community is distinguished by family-owned companies.
- Business arrangements in Greece are mainly hierarchical with a top-down structure.
- Greeks prefer face-to face communication over telephone or written information.
- In general, maintaining eye contact is central to Greek communication and it has been measured as the strongest in Europe.
- Greeks often interrupt while others speak as a way to show excitement and appreciation for the conversation. It’s a common aspect of Greek communication and there are no ill-mannered or ungracious tones attached.
- It is recommended to avoid geopolitical issues for discussion concerning the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or Cyprus.
Wages and Salaries in Greece
- As of June 2022, the Greek Ministry of Labor has increased the national minimum wage to €831.8 per month, or €9,982 per year, taking into account 12 payments per year.
- Greece has a statutory probation period of 12 months, where employers may terminate the employment contract without notice and without severance pay.
- Employees in Greece are entitled to a total of 14 monthly salaries per year. An employee’s salary is usually paid as 12 monthly payments with three mandatory bonuses, equivalent to two months of salary: one month for Christmas, half of a month for Easter, and half of a month for annual leave allowance.
- In accordance with Greek Decree No. 156/1994, transposing Council Directive 91/533/EEC, employees are required to be informed in writing of the key terms and conditions of employment, specifically:
- Employer and employee identification information
- The place of work and the employer’s registered address
- The job position, grade, and work objective
- Start date and the duration of the employment contract, if it’s fixed term
- Annual leave duration and the manner in which it will be granted
- Applicable notice period and severance pay in the event of termination
- Salary and payment date
- Daily and weekly working time
- If applicable, reference to the collective labor agreement which determines employment terms
Termination and notice periods
- Notice periods in Greece depend on an employee’s duration of employment. The notice periods are as follows:
- Up to 12 months of employment: no notice is necessary
- Between one year to two years of employment: one month’s notice
- Between two years to five years of employment: two month’s notice
- Between five years to 10 years of employment: three month’s notice
- More than 10 years of employment: four month’s notice
- Employers must have a valid reason to terminate an employment contract.
- Statutory severance pay varies depending on an employee’s duration of employment.
Leave Entitlements in Greece
- For each calendar year, employees on a five-day working week receive a statutory allowance of 20 to 26 days of leave, whereas employees on a six-day working week are entitled to 24 to 31 working days, depending on their years of service. Increased annual leave may be authorized by legislation, such as due to employees with disabilities or collective labor agreements.
- Maternity leave is 17 weeks in Greece: 8 weeks before childbirth and 9 weeks afterward. Maternity benefit includes a minimum of two-thirds of mother’s earnings during maternity leave.
- Paternity leave is 2 days in Greece and fathers are entitled to their full wage by their employer during their leave.
- Pursuant to article 5, paragraph 3 of Law No. 2112/1920, short-term sick leave is considered an absence that lasts up to:
- One month for employees with up to four years of service
- Three months for employees with four to 10 years of service
- Four months for employees with 10 to 15 years of service
- Six months for employees with more than 15 years of service
- Sick pay lasts up to:
- 15 days’ pay with half salary, if the employee has worked for the employer between 10 days and one year
- One month’s salary, if the employee has worked for the employer for one year
National and regional holidays
- Greece has 14 public holidays in a calendar year, which are not included in the minimum paid leave entitlement but are taken in addition to annual leave. The following are national holidays recognized by Greece:
- New Year’s Day (January 1)
- Epiphany (January 6)
- Orthodox Ash Monday (March, the specific day fluctuates each year)
- Independence Day (March 25)
- Orthodox Good Friday (April or May, the specific day fluctuates each year)
- Labor Day, May 1
- Orthodox Easter Sunday (April or May, the specific day fluctuates each year)
- Orthodox Easter Monday (April or May, the specific day fluctuates each year)
- Orthodox Whit Sunday (June, the specific day fluctuates each year)
- Orthodox Whit Monday, (June, the specific day fluctuates each year)
- Assumption Day, August 15
- Ochi Day, October 28
- Christmas Day, December 25
- 2nd Day of Christmas, December 26
Benefits in Greece
- The Greek government has a comprehensive welfare system that provides various social insurance and assistance programs to its permanent residents. The Greek social security system provides the following programs from employee contributions: universal healthcare, parental leave and birth benefits, family allowance, sickness and accident benefits, disability benefits, retirement pensions, survivor’s benefits and funeral allowance, unemployment benefits, and guaranteed minimum income and housing benefits.
Tax and Social Security
- An individual that is present in Greece for a period exceeding 183 days is considered a Greek tax resident.
- Greek tax residents are required to pay taxes to the Greek authorities based on their worldwide income. Non-tax residents only pay taxes for income earned in Greece.
- As of 2022, the Greek income tax code provides for the following categories:
- €0 – €20,000: 22%
- €20,001 – €30,000: 29%
- €30,001 – €40,000: 37%
- €40,001 and above: 45%
- The corporate income tax rate in Greece is 22%.
- The contribution rate on an employee’s income is a total of 40.06%. The employee’s contribution is 15.5% and the employer’s contribution is 24.56%, where the employer withholds and pays the contributions to the Greek social security system.
- In order to have access to health insurance benefits in Greece, individuals are required to have paid insurance contributions corresponding to at least 50 days of employment during the year preceding the illness.
- Periods of health insurance contributed in any other EU country, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland can be counted as insurance periods covered in Greece. This also applies to individuals covered under the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
- The healthcare benefits include medical care, hospital care, preventative dental care and dental treatment, physiotherapy and rehabilitation, medicine, transport to public hospitals, and treatment aids.
- To be entitled to receive a full retirement pension in Greece, individuals are required to be at least 62 years old and accumulate 40 years’ worth of insurance contributions into the Greek social security system. The pension is granted on a monthly basis.
Payroll in Greece
In Greece, the tax year is the calendar year. The tax return form deadline is June 30 of the next tax year.
The payroll cycle is generally monthly. Salary payments are made on the same day, often towards the end of the month.
The weekly work time is 40 hours, eight hours per day for a five-day week and six hours and 40 minutes per day for a six-day week. Employers can request employees to work an additional five hours per week; this is known as ‘overwork’ and it’s paid at an additional 20% of an employee’s regular hourly rate.
Overtime is the time exceeding the weekly work time. Overtime is paid as a 40% to 80% increase of an employee’s regular hourly rate, depending on the hours and in compliance with labor legislation.
Why Work in Greece?
Greece has been a member of the European Union (EU) since 1981. It’s located in southeastern Europe on the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula, bordering the Mediterranean Sea in the south, the Aegean Sea in the east, and the Ionian Sea in the west. Greece is the international leader for maritime trade and transport of goods, which represents a major economic asset and a driving force for the country’s direct foreign investment. Greece’s economic prominence suffered with the European debt crisis, but it has faced the COVID-19 pandemic better than most of the EU. Now, its business climate is making noteworthy progress and advancement.
Those searching for reasons to work and live in Greece can look forward to a flexible work style known for its slow flow pace, an unusually low cost of living for the EU, and a high standard of healthcare and social security. Greece is a proud nation where its people deeply value family, tradition, and a sincere love of the outdoors.
Greece is designated as a Mediterranean climate which has wet, mild winters and dry, hot summers. The northern region is cold during the winter, often including snow showers. However, elsewhere is mostly sunny throughout the year which is the major reason why tourism is the country’s biggest industry. There is nowhere in Greece that’s more than 140 kilometers away from the sea and the country has more than 14,000 kilometers of coastline. Greece is world-famous for its islands–it has more than 2,000 of them but about 170 are populated. Globetrotters can island hop, surrounded by crystal-clear waters, white-stone buildings, and open-air museums which distinguish the Greek coastline.
Greece is one of the most historically abundant countries as it dates back to the 30th century BCE, where the first settlements and palaces were built. It’s considered the birthplace of democracy and philosophy for the Western world. Greece has more archaeological museums than any other country and it has 18 United Nations world heritage sites and monuments.
Traveling around Greece by public transport is done with ease due to a comprehensive transport system. In addition, ferries conveniently connect the different islands in the surrounding seas. There are 15 airports in Greece for international and domestic travel so residents and tourists have speedy means to an island or the other side of the country.
Greece is internationally admired for its historical marvels and island life. It’s one of the most popular destinations for tourists all year round. If you’re looking for a new place to work or expand your business in southeastern Europe, Greece could be the right fit for you.