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Part-time work (legislative framework – provisions analysis)

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Part-time work (legislative framework – provisions analysis)

Part-time work is a form of flexible work, which was introduced for the first time by Greek Law 1892/1990 as a means of combating unemployment. It is based on the standard “dependent work” model but with a derogation from one parameter (working time).
Since then, this specific form of work has been retained in effect and regulated by various legislative provisions (Law 2639/1998, Law 2847/2000, Law 2956/2001, Law 3174/2003, Law 3250/2004).
The last amendment (effected by Article 59 of Law 4635/2019) regulated the concept of part-time work on a new basis, codified existing provisions and introduced new measures to protect employees.

I. Definitions
“Part-time employee” means any employee under a contract or employment relationship whose working hours, calculated on a daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis, are fewer than the normal working hours of a comparable full-time employee.
“Comparable employee” means any employee employed in the same or another undertaking under an employment contract who performs the same or similar duties under the same conditions.
“Rotating employment” means employment on fewer days a week or fewer weeks a month or fewer months a year or a combination thereof on a full daily work schedule.
“Employee representatives” are defined as follows: a) representatives from the most representative organisation of the business or undertaking which according to its Articles of Association covers employees, b) representatives of existing trade unions of the business or undertaking, c) the employees council, d) if there are no trade unions or no employees council, all employees are consulted.

II. Conditions for implementing part-time work
a) Written agreement between employer and employee
b) Notice of agreement to the Labour Inspectorate

a) Written Agreement

When drawing up the employment contract or during such time as it is in effect, the employer and employee may, by means of a written individual contract, agree to work being done on any day, week, fortnight or month for a fixed or indefinite time which is shorter than normal (part-time).

It is self-evident that in this case the payment of salaried employees will be reduced, depending on the duration of the daily work done. This agreement on employment for a time less than the statutory one and in return for reduced payment is only permitted where there is a special (written) agreement which may be entered into either when the employee is recruited or at some point in such time when the employment contract is in effect, provided that this does not affect the minimum pay thresholds. Otherwise the unilateral reduction in payment by the employer, even in proportion to the fewer hours worked, is a detrimental change in the terms and conditions of work (Hellenic Supreme Court Judgments No. 640/2008 and 261/2016).

If the agreement is not in writing or if the agreement or decision of the employer is not notified to the Labour Inspectorate within 8 days, the employee shall be presumed to be in full-time employment (Article 59(1) of Law 4635/2019, that amended article 38 of Law 1892/1990).

It should be noted that paragraph 3 of article 38 L. 1892/1990 states that if the employer’s activities become limited, instead of terminating an employment contract, the employer may impose a rotating employment system, the duration of which may not exceed 9 months in the same calendar year, only after informing and consulting the employee representatives (as defined in section I above).

b) Notice of agreement to the Labour Inspectorate

According to law, if this agreement is not drawn up in writing or is not notified to the local Labour Inspectorate within 8 days of being signed, the employee shall be presumed to be in full-time employment (Article 59(1)(2) of Law 4635/2019).
However, in the case of a new recruitment, the notice should be sent on the same day and before the employee starts to work, as the conclusion of a part-time contract does not affect the nature of the recruitment.

III. Rights of part-time employees
Part-time employees are covered by all labour law provisions in addition to the special protective provisions included in Article 38 of Law 1892/1990, as amended by article 59 of Law 4635/2019. The following protective measures are specifically provided:

1. The payment of employees on a part-time employment relationship shall be calculated in the same way as the payment of a comparable employee (see section I above) and shall correspond to the hours worked on a part-time basis.

2. Part-time employees are entitled to paid annual leave and a leave allowance based on the payment they would receive if they worked at the time of their leave.

3. Employment on Sundays or other non-working days and night work shall entail payment of the lawful augment.

4. If there is a need for additional work in excess of the agreed, the employee is obliged to provide it, if he or she is in a position to do so and his or her refusal would be contrary to good faith.

5. If work is provided in excess of what was agreed, the part-time employee shall be entitled to the corresponding payment augmented by 12% of the agreed payment for each additional hour of work provided. The part-time employee may refuse to provide work in excess of the work agreed when that additional work is required as a matter of habit. In all events, this additional work may be carried out to a maximum equalling the full daily working hours of a comparable employee.

6. A full-time employee in an undertaking which employs more than 20 people shall, after the end of one calendar year of work, be entitled to request that his or her employment contract be converted from full-time to part-time work with a right to return to full-time work, unless the employer’s refusal is justified by business needs.
The employee must specify the duration of part-time work and the type of work. If the employer does not reply in writing within one month, the employee’s request shall be deemed to have been accepted.

7. Part-time employees who offer work on equal terms as employees in the same category have a right of priority for full-time employment in the same undertaking. The time of part-time work is considered as time of past service as with the comparable employee. In order to calculate that past service, part-time work corresponding to the normal (statutory or contractual) day of the comparable employee shall correspond to one day of past service.

8. Employees covered by a part-time employment relationship must be provided with:

a) opportunities to participate in the training activities of the undertaking under conditions similar to those for full-time employees on open-ended contracts;

b) the same social services available to other employees at the undertaking.

9. Termination of the employment contract due to an employee’s refusal to accept a proposal for part-time work shall be invalid.

IV. Employment organization

Part-time work can be implemented in the following ways:
– daily employment for 5 days or 6 days, depending on the applied system, but with reduced working hours,
– interruptible employment for less than 6 or 5 days, with reduced working hours,
– rotating employment, i.e. for fewer working days, but with full time and
– daily work for a few days with fewer working hours and for the rest days with full-time (combination of part-time and shift/rotating work).

V. Insurance
For the time of part-time employment, there is an insurance obligation towards IKA / EFKA and therefore the corresponding contributions must be paid by the employer to the employee. Of course, in this case, the amount of contributions to be paid is limited to the amount of the reduced payment.


*  The information is accurate to the best of our knowledge as at the time of writing. We have no obligation to update it. We accept no responsibility against any third party who is not a client of the firm and has not signed the terms of our engagement.