New Labor Reform L 4808/2021

The new L. 4808/2021 published in the Government Gazette on 19.06.2021 brings a lot of changes in the individual and collective labour law, regarding leaves, protection of employees, dismissal of employees, teleworking, right to strike etc.

 

The new Law mainly incorporates the International Conventions No. 187 for occupational health and safety and No. 190 on the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work introducing obligations on the part of the employer to implement provisions or policy regarding the way of dealing and handling cases of harassment in the workplace.

 

Also, the new Law incorporates the European Directive 2019/1158 on the balance between professional and private life for parents and caregivers, the abolition of Directive 2010/18 / EU and arrangements for leaves aiming at protecting family.  To this end, amendments are introduced to already established leaves for employees  or leaves are extended to other employees as well (e.g. 14 days of paternity leave, changes to the parental leave (4 months parental leave paid for the first 2 months by the Manpower Unemployment Organization – OAED), leave due to force majeure, introduces and extents leaves for adopting parents, for parents with disabled children and leaves for those taking care of family persons living with them or under their care, etc).

 

Also, the new Law includes major changes in the individual and collective labour law, of which the main are the following:

 

  1. Employees working over 4 hours daily are entitled to 15’-30’ break that does not count as working time. In cases of interrupted working time, the rest cannot be less than 3 hours for the employees.
  2. The allowed overtime increases to 150 hours. At the same time, the remuneration for overtime, for which the prescribed procedures of approval are not kept, is increased and set at 120% increment to the paid hourly wage.
  3. Possibility to transfer the annual leave days to the next calendar year within a set timeframe is provisioned while the leave without pay and garden leave are regulated for the first time.
  4. Working time arrangements can also be agreed individually between employer and employee. The possibility of four (4) - day work without wage cut is provided in the context of working time arrangement.
  5. New mandatory bank holidays for the private sector are introduced such as New Year’s Day, Epiphany (Christian feast day on the 6thJanuary) and the 28th of October
  6. Abolition of the distinction between white- and blue-collar employees which impacts the severance pay calculation for the workers.
  7. Every working parent of children up to the age of twelve (12) years or a caregiver is entitled to request flexible working arrangements for care purposes, such as teleworking, flexible working hours or part-time work under the conditions prescribed in the Law.
  8. Fathers are protected from dismissal for a period of 6 months after the birth of the child.
  9. It is prohibited the dismissal of employees due to the fact that they requested any of the leaves mentioned in the new Law or denied agreeing with the employer a working time arrangement.
  10. New professions or sectors are exempted from compulsory rest on Sunday and bank holidays, including shared service centers of groups of companies, especially in the fields of accounting, human resources, payroll, computers (IT), regulatory compliance, supplies; call center service and customer support call center services; data centers and computer group business centers in general. Moreover, it is allowed, among other things, after permission of the Labor Inspectorate, to upgrade informational systems.
  11. Teleworking is required to be concluded through agreement between employee and employer. Exceptionally, it is imposed unilaterally for reasons of public or employee’s health. It is forbidden to use camera for the observation of teleworker’s performance. The employer is responsible to protect the health and occupational safety of the teleworker. The teleworker has the right to disconnect, while the teleworking hours, as well as the ratio of teleworking and work in the employer's premises, are declared to the Information System "ERGANI". The Labor Inspectorate has access to the data of the company’s and teleworker’s communication in order to control the observance of the working hours. The data for which employer must inform the employee also are adapted to the above. Any costs covered by the employer for this kind of working, will not be considered as wage but will be considered as expenses for the employer. Ministerial Decision will define the minimum amount that should be paid for this kind of work as expenses.
  12. Obligation of employer to submit to the ERGANI system the employment contract and amendments of it. Through the ERGANI system employers and employees may also conclude employment agreements and amend them.
  13. The self-employed in the digital platforms (delivery, courier) acquire trade union rights (establishment of organizations, negotiation of collective agreements, strike). In addition, the platforms will have the same obligations for welfare, health and safety towards the self-employed (independent service or project contracts), as those that apply to dependent employment contracts.
  14. Employers are obliged to have and operate an electronic system measuring the working time of their employees, directly connected and interoperable, in real time, with the ERGANI system. The working time is measured using a digital work card. A fine of 10.500 euro/employee is provisioned for the employer in case of any employee that has not an activated digital work card. Ministerial Decision shall define the type of businesses that shall need to have digital work cards for their employees.
  15. The employee/employer will have the right in case of dismissal to request the payment of an additional compensation that cannot be less than 3 months wages and no more than double the severance pay to which the employee was entitled at the time of dismissal, under the preconditions prescribed in Law. In case there is any typical omission in the termination of the employment contract, other than the one relating with the severance pay, the employer has the possibility to validate the termination as long as the omission is covered within one month from the time that a labour lawsuit is serviced to the employer or from the time that a request for the settlement of a labor dispute is submitted before the competent authority
  16. The employer bears the costs for the website of the trade union, while changes are also made regarding the leaves to which the members of the trade union’s BoD are entitled.
  17. Changes are also introduced regarding the preconditions for industrial action of the employees. Strikes judged illegal by the courts will not be able to be re-announced by the secondary or tertiary trade union organization. Trade unionists who use violence or commit illegal acts during strikes will be held liable.
  18. New reasons for dismissal of trade unionists are being included (e.g. acts of violence or harassment).
  19. As of 01.01.2022 it becomes mandatory to use an electronic system for the possibility of participation of the members of the trade unions remotely in both the General Assemblies and the elections.
  20. Trade unions of employees and employers’ organizations should be registered to the Commercial Registry for Trade Unions and are specified the books that need to keep regarding their operation as well as the sanctions in case the above are not registered on due time.

 

Certain of the above changes will come into effect after the relevant required Ministerial Decision will be issued.

 

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