Greece Becomes first EU Country to Introduce a 6-day Work Week

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Greece has become the first European country to implement 48 hours of work each week. As of July 1st, some Greeks can work six days a week or add two hours to their workweek. The country’s prime minister claims that the policy is “deeply growth-oriented,” yet some labor and political commentators fiercely oppose the move. “I haven’t heard anyone who’s pleased because the expectation — as you mentioned, it’s an introduction — may expand to other businesses. Sakis Gekas, a modern Greek history professor at York University, expresses concern that things will not end here.

The rule, which went into effect on July 1, defies a global trend of corporations debating whether to adopt a shorter work week.Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ pro-business cabinet has allegedly stated that the proposal is both “worker-friendly” and “deeply growth-orientated.” Labor organizations and political commentators have vehemently opposed the decision.

Greece has controversially implemented a six-day work week for some enterprises in an effort to increase production and employment in the southern European country. The legislation, which went into effect on July 1, contradicts a global trend of corporations adopting shorter work weeks.

The new legislation, passed as part of a broader set of labor laws last year, allows employees of private enterprises that provide round-the-clock services to work an additional two hours per day or an eight-hour shift. The shift means that some businesses may be able to expand their typical 40-hour workday to 48 hours per week. The six-day working week idea excludes workers in the food service and tourism industries.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ pro-business cabinet defended the move as “worker-friendly” and “growth-oriented.” This program aims to address underpayment for overtime work and combat undeclared labor. Labor unions and political analysts have severely denounced the move.