Suspension of employment agreements by the employers
- Companies in the sector of tourism, air and sea transportation, passenger land transportation, restaurants, culture and sports as well as in any other significantly affected business sector on the basis of their Professional Activity Codes (KAΔ), are entitled to:
- suspend or extend the suspension of their employees (part or total number of employees) or suspend for the first time their personnel (partly or in its entirety) employed up to (and including) 10 August 2020 during August and September 2020 for a maximum period of 30 days per month and until 30 September 2020.
- suspend or extend the suspension of their employees (part or total number of employees) or suspend for the first time their personnel (partly or in its entirety) employed up to (and including) 15 September 2020 during October 2020 for a maximum period of 30 days and until 31 October 2020.
- During the period of suspension and for a period of 30 days following the end of suspension, dismissals are restricted (and if effected, they would be legally invalid). Further, during the 30 days after suspension protection period, the type of employment agreements cannot be amended.
- Suspended employees are entitled to a special purpose indemnity of EUR 534 for 30 days of suspension (taken pro-rata in case of suspension duration less than 30 days) and to full social security coverage on the basis of their contractual salary. Τhe special purpose indemnity is tax free, unassignable, seizure exempted and is covered by the state budget together with the corresponding social security contributions.
- A specific procedure must be followed by both the employers and the employees in order for their employees to collect the special purpose indemnity.
- The employers’ right to impose remote working unilaterally is extended to apply until 31 December 2020.
- In the area of Attica (where Athens is located) employers and until (and including) 4 October 2020, teleworking is obligatory for 40% of personnel of companies who, by virtue of their work, can work remotely.
Remote Working and Suspension of employment agreements at the employees’ request
- Until 30 September 2020, vulnerable employees are entitled to request remote working by any means (for instance, telephone, e-mail etc.) provided that remote working is feasible and, if not, the employer is obliged to take the measures required to ensure that the employees will not be in contact with the public during the provision of their services. Finally, if this is not feasible either, the employer must suspend the employee’s agreement until 30 September 2020. Infringement of the employer’s obligations as above, despite the employee’s proven request, entails a penalty of EUR 5 000 per infringement.
SYN-ERGASIA Employment Support Mechanism
- SYN-ERGASIA Employment Support Mechanism (in which all employers, irrespective of their Professional Activity Code (ΚΑΔ), can participate in the mechanism, exclusively for their full time employees employed as of 10 August 2020 and under the conditions determined in the applicable legislation enabling the employers to reduce the employees’ working hours up to 50% with corresponding reduction of remuneration with the State paying a short term employment financial support equal to 60% of the net remuneration of the employees corresponding to the period they do not work as well as a portion of the statutory allowances) is extended to apply until 31 December 2020. The employer is burdened with the social security contributions for the period in question on the basis of the employees’ contractual salaries.
Other employment relations’ regulations
- As of 1 September 2020, employers of employees who, within the context of the measures for the limitation of COVID-19 spread, are requested to stay at home (for either 7 or 14 days) can:
- determine that the work of the employees in question will be provided remotely, or
- in case remote working is not feasible, occupy the employees in question, based on the business needs, for 1 hour per day on top of their contractual working hours on other working days following the end of the restriction period and up to the completion of half the hours corresponding to the working hours the employees were requested to stay at home
- provided that in both cases the working hours limits provisions are complied with. The additional working time above is not considered either as overwork/overtime (in case of full time employees) or additional work (in case of part time employees) are not entitled to any additional work increase or fees. The remuneration and social security contributions corresponding to the period the employees were requested to stay at home are paid in their entirety by the employer as normally.
- A special leave of 14 days or longer, if necessary, based on a medical examination or hospitalization of the child is provided to parent employees whose children are sick from COVID-9. The leave in question is provided in addition to other leaves are is irrespective of the parents’ prior term of service with the employer. During the leave in question, parent employees are paid 2/3 of their salary by the employer with the balance being paid by the state.
- Overtime exceeding maximum limits does not require prior approval, provided that it does not exceed the daily legal working hour restrictions.
Social security support measures
- Social security support measures are provided for certain categories of employers/employees (for instance, extension until (and including 9 October 2020) of the deadline for the filing of the social security returns and the payment of social security contributions (both employer’s and employee’s) for June, July and August 2020 due on 31.7.2020, 30.8.2020 and 30.9.2020 respectively for the employees that participate in the SYN-ERGASIA Employment Support Mechanism etc.)