Climate emergency, work and employment law

How might the climate emergency shape future employment law and practice? We explore some early developments and trends.

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No law has been issued so far in Greece regarding climate change or connecting it with labour issues, although the implementation of climate change-related legislation is expected to be introduced in the near future. In the event of extreme weather conditions, general labour legislation regulating employers’ responsibility for employees’ health and safety applies. The employer must arrange work and its premises, as well as any accommodation, facilities and machinery or tools, in order to protect the employee’s life and health. The employer must take all the necessary measures to ensure that employees and third parties present in the workplace are not in any danger that may threaten their health or physical integrity and notify them regarding any other potential danger in the workplace. Within this framework, the employer should take all appropriate measures to ensure decent working conditions for employees. For example, there should be provision for work from home in in the event of heatwaves or heavy snowfall due to climate change to avoid exposure to extreme weather conditions. Lastly, during heavy snowfall in February 2021 in Athens, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs issued a circular for people who work as food couriers, stating they were not obliged to work in such harsh weather.

Written by: Tasos Marmaras

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