The principal body for the promotion of employment is the Public Employment Service (DYPA). It has 115 Employment Promotion Centres (KPA2) throughout the country and 2 Offices for Special Social Groups in Athens and Thessaloniki. Unemployed people turn to DYPA staff to find a job, for guidance, as well as for active employment, self-employment or retraining programmes to improve their qualifications.
DYPA also has Greek EURES advisers who speak foreign languages and are specially trained. Their task is to help people looking for work in an EU, EEA country and Switzerland and to fill the job vacancies available from employers. Furthermore, they provide support and guidance to nationals of EU and EEA countries and Switzerland who are looking for work in Greece, informing them about the job market and assisting them in their job search. They also provide information and act as an intermediary between jobseekers and employers as part of the European Jobs Network.
Unemployed people can also find work through private employment agencies which are authorised by the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs and mediate in finding employment.
Mediation does not entail any financial burden for employees. The cost for is borne by employers on behalf of whom the private employment agencies act as an intermediary.
Newspapers are also an important source of information. Advertisements for managerial and specialist s+taff are usually published both in Greek and English. Small ads, papers and newspapers with employment pull-outs can be found at kiosks. Moreover, both on social media (in particular Facebook,Linkedin and Twitter) and on the internet in general there are numerous websites, both private and public, advertising jobs in various sectors/ areas of economic activity in Greece. Surfing the internet and searching the ads are extremely popular ways of finding work in Greece. Both OAED and private employment agencies have web portals or job search engines to provide information and assistance to jobseekers, OAED in particular is aimed at employees who wish to move to an EU or EEA country or Switzerland to seek work. Through the e-services on the DYPA web portal, it is possible for those registered in the DYPA digital register of jobseekers to electronically submit a CV. The employer can access and search only the professional, educational profile of the above person digitally registered in the DYPA register, and they can contact the candidate through the mediation of the job seeker’s job adviser from the local KPA2 services and the Offices for Special Social Groups corresponding to the job seeker. Similarly, there are specialised advisers at the private employment agencies, who mediate in the search for suitable candidates to fill vacancies requested by employers. . The EURES web portal is currently the most developed job search engine of its kind.
Moreover, the EURES National Coordination Office in Greece organises 1day workshops and career days in collaboration with National Coordination Offices in other EU/EEA countries and Switzerland for specific economic sectors or activities in each case to present jobs, collect CVs, and hold interviews either directly with employers or via the EURES advisers in those countries.
Substantial assistance to unemployed people seeking work in Greece, and in EU/EEA countries and Switzerland, in cooperation with EURES advisers, is provided by liaison offices of Higher Education Institutions (Universities), as well as the liaison offices or the social departments of municipalities at local government level.
Certain universities, or other entities, often organise career fairs mainly for graduates and students in the last year of their studies, at which jobseekers can establish direct contact with interested employers.
Using social networks and asking friends and acquaintances whether they know of an employer who is looking for staff is often a good way of finding a job.
Searching specific companies’ websites for job vacancies corresponding to your interests and skills and then sending off your CV electronically is another good way of getting invited to an interview with an employer for a job that matches your qualifications.
European EURES portal
Central Union of Municipalities of Greece
University Liaison Offices
When applying for a job you should attach a CV, which should be short (1-2 pages), and provide a clear description of your educational and professional experience.
The content of the CV should correspond to the job being applied for and to the specifications set out by the prospective employer.
The CV should include personal details such as your full name, address, telephone number, and email address. It should set out your education and training and give details of professional experience, with the titles of previous jobs, particulars of previous employers, the dates of employment and a description of the duties carried out.
Knowledge of foreign languages should also be mentioned, with information about the level of knowledge and the qualifications obtained.
The title, subject matter and duration of any seminars attended should be included, mentioning the organising body.
Knowledge of computers and other specialist knowledge or certificates can also be stated, as well as personal interests that are relevant to the application and say something about your personality. It is essential to mention any competences or skills acquired as a result of academic or professional experience.
Participation in working groups, associations or committees, or the writing of articles or books that bear a relation to the job applied for are valuable additions to a CV.
Two or three recommendations from individuals with recognised academic or professional status (e.g. former teachers, managers or employers) may be included at the end of the CV, together with their details, so that the employer may contact them to get further information on the applicant’s performance or professional conduct with regard to a particular job.
The CV should be accompanied by a typed letter of no more than one page linking the applicant’s professional and educational qualifications with the job. The letter should be signed. The contents of the cover letter should be adapted and linked to the job applied for, avoiding general terms and vague wording.
Each public or private employment service uses a different CV template. However, the most common one tends to be the CV that can be obtained from the DYPA portal, or the European Europass template. Many Greek companies use application forms instead of CVs. These forms vary in length and level of detail.
Advice: Research the market and find companies you would like to work for. Visit their website, if they have one, to get an overview of their activities and find information you can use in the cover letter or a possible interview. Send them your CV, or deliver the CV in person and ask to see the person responsible in the company. State the reasons why you think that you are a suitable candidate. Email can be an easy way of making contact.
Employment & Career Structure of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (DASTA)
National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications & Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP)
Traineeships are an essential bridge between theoretical studies and the jobs we expect to have. They give students and graduates the opportunity to utilise in practice everything that has been taught, thereby taking the first step in the process of seeking out and finding jobs.
In Greece, students from vocational training institutes are obliged to do traineeships as part of their studies. DYPA operates 30 vocational training institutes nationwide with 39 specialties for the year 2023-2024, in which the two-year training is followed by a 6-month internship at an employer. In the context of tertiary education, traineeships are now optional in many cases, although it is recommended that students do them.
The duration of traineeships and the number of working hours are laid down in special regulations and specific active labour market policy measures are implemented.
In parallel with the traineeships which relate to formal education and are supervised by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, training opportunities are also available under the aegis of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Development and Investments and private organisations and public benefit foundations.
More specifically, the Public Employment Service (DYPA) announces work experience schemes from time to time. It then wholly subsidises the traineeships which take the form of fixed-term contracts. The most recent work experience scheme (24/04/2023) is aimed at registered unemployed people up to the age of 29 who have completed a training programme in the field of the digital economy of at least 50 hours.
Moreover, in collaboration with Life-Long Learning Centres it offers training vouchers which combine short theoretical and practical training in areas of specialisation which are in demand, and are sought after in the labour market.
The Ministry of Tourism also announces traineeships for students and graduates of IEK and higher schools of tourism education, mainly for summer periods.
In addition, traineeships are also offered by private organisations and public benefit foundations such as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, the Onassis Foundation, the Ioannis Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, and so on, subject to specific terms and conditions of participation in each case.
Lastly, the Federation of Greek Industry also undertakes to implement traineeships.
For the aforementioned organisations, participation in traineeships is not associated with a specific educational level. Participants are Greek citizens or nationals of another Member State of the EU, EEA and Switzerland.
Detailed information about traineeships can be found at the following links:
The terms and conditions for participation in traineeships have been laid down in the Council Recommendation on traineeships (March 2014) and in Directive (EU) 2016/801 of the European Parliament and of the Council. Detailed information about the procedure for implementing traineeships is provided at the following link:
In Greece in particular, the statutory and legislative framework for traineeships lays down the necessary conditions, duration, supervision and outline of the traineeships for each area of specialisation.
It also specifies the rights and obligations of student trainees and the level of compensation for the traineeship and issues of medicare and insurance.
For more information please visit the following link:
Living and working conditions
As mentioned above, each traineeship which is part of active labour market policy measures has its own terms and conditions of participation and eligibility.
All relevant information about these financed programmes is available on the official websites of the competent bodies.
Where to find opportunities / job vacancies
Anyone interested in traineeships should contact the departments of schools where they are studying or from which they have graduated, in the case of vocational training institutes and higher education schools.
Candidates can obtain information from the relevant associations about traineeships offered by private organisations and public benefit foundations, as mentioned above.
Funding and support
All EU, EEA and Swiss nationals can participate in traineeships in Greece via Erasmus+ which provides financial support depending on the cost of living in both the country of destination and the country of origin.
Applications should be submitted via the International Relations Office or the Erasmus+ Office of the University they are studying at, via the Erasmus Intern Traineeship Portal.
More information can be found at the following links:
Where to advertise opportunities
All official traineeships are announced via public calls for expression of interest issued by the competent bodies.
Funding and support
Businesses interested in utilising traineeships and publishing information about the relevant jobs can contact the liaison offices of the relevant schools and bodies which announce similar contracts via public calls for expressions of interest. These public or private sector bodies undertake to finance and provide overall support for the traineeships.
In Greece, the main body for running internship/apprenticeship schemes, as mandated by law, is the Public Employment Service (DYPA). The legal framework for the dual internship/apprenticeship system has been implemented for decades by the 50 vocational apprenticeship schools of the Public Employment Service (DYPA) and 7 experimental vocational schools are in operation in the field of hospitality and tourism. The vocational apprenticeship schools of DYPA contribute to the integration of their graduates into the labour market with the decisive contribution of the professional development and career offices, which will start operating immediately in each school.
At the same time as attending the school, students are also enrolled in a workplace training programme and an apprenticeship contract is signed. During the aforementioned programme, students receive pay, are insured by their employers and enjoy other benefits as provided for in the applicable provisions (housing and board allowance with expanded income criteria).
For the current school year (2023-2024), the vocational apprenticeship schools of DYPA offer 30 cutting-edge specialties, with an emphasis on digital skills. Specialties change every year, depending on the needs and conditions in the labour market at local, regional and national level. DYPA plans and implements a medium- to long-term programme for the building and energy upgrading of the schools, updating the training guides (curriculums) and modernising the laboratories.
Description of schemes
The dual apprenticeship system (two years, 4 semesters) implemented by DYPA’s vocational schools includes the following:
- on-the-job training for students in businesses in both the public and private sector (which takes place in the morning).
- theoretical and lab lessons (which take place in the evening)
Especially for the experimental vocational apprenticeship schools of DYPA, training at the school takes place during the winter months (November-April) and the acquisition of professional experience in the company during the summer (May-October), depending on the peak tourist season.
An Apprenticeship Contract is concluded between the employer and the apprentice, setting out the start and end of practical placement, as well as the obligations of both the employer and the apprentice.
During their apprenticeship, the pay received by apprentices is 75% of the minimum wage for unskilled labourers (€ 29.04), in other words € 21.78. The above rate applies to all semesters of studies.
The Apprenticeship/Practical Placement scheme run by DYPA’s vocational apprenticeship schools has been included in the 2014-20 NSRF and is co-financed by the ESF (European Social Fund) and national resources.
Apprentices enjoy full social security coverage during their apprenticeship.
It is estimated that every year around 10 000 students aged 15 to 29 are enrolled in the two-year programmes organised by DYPA’s vocational apprenticeship schools.
The balance of expenditure, which includes the contributions payable for social security coverage, are paid by the employer. (www.dypa.gov.gr)
Apprenticeship schemes are aimed at all EU citizens but it should be taken into account that knowledge of the Greek language is necessary for the majority of these schemes.
Living and working conditions
From 1.4.2023, the pay for an apprentice throughout the apprenticeship is € 26.13 per day (https://www.dypa.gov.gr/mathitia).
Apprentices are entitled to paid leave and study leave to sit examinations each June. Successful completion of the studies leads to the acquisition of a relevant certificate, which grants the School graduates the right to be certified in their specialty through EOPPEP.
Where to find opportunities / job vacancies
Interested parties can find information at the link https://www.dypa.gov.gr/mathitia.
Moreover, interested parties can contact the Professional Development and Career Offices at vocational apprenticeship schools.
The on-the-job training system implemented by the OAED has proven to be effective in practice, as a significant percentage of students continue to be employed at their practical placement positions after completing their studies.
Funding and support
Interested parties can contact the Professional Development and Career Offices of the vocational apprenticeship schools.
More information is available at the link https://www.dypa.gov.gr/mathitia.
Where to advertise opportunities
Employers can obtain information via the link https://www.dypa.gov.gr/mathitia or can contact the Professional Development and Career Offices of the vocational apprenticeship schools nationwide.
Employers who intend to provide Apprenticeships to students at OAED vocational apprenticeship schools must have suitable facilities for their training in the specific speciality, suitable means and the suitable equipment. Moreover, employers must also ensure compliance with the health and safety conditions in place for worker protection.
Funding and support
Employers can contact the Professional Development and Career Offices of the vocational apprenticeship schools to learn about financial support options.
More information is available at the link https://www.dypa.gov.gr/mathitia.
The free movement of goods is one of the cornerstones of the European Single Market.
The removal of national barriers to the free movement of goods within the EU is one of the principles enshrined in the EU Treaties. From a traditionally protectionist starting point, the countries of the EU have continuously been lifting restrictions to form a ‘common’ or single market. This commitment to create a European trading area without frontiers has led to the creation of more wealth and new jobs, and has globally established the EU as a world trading player alongside the United States and Japan.
Despite Europe’s commitment to breaking down all internal trade barriers, not all sectors of the economy have been harmonised. The European Union decided to regulate at a European level sectors which might impose a higher risk for Europe’s citizens – such as pharmaceuticals or construction products. The majority of products (considered a ‘lower risk’) are subject to the application of the so-called principle of mutual recognition, which means that essentially every product legally manufactured or marketed in one of the Member States can be freely moved and traded within the EU internal market.
Limits to the free movement of goods
The EU Treaty gives Member States the right to set limits to the free movement of goods when there is a specific common interest such as protection of the environment, citizens’ health, or public policy, to name a few. This means for example that if the import of a product is seen by a Member State’s national authorities as a potential threat to public health, public morality or public policy, it can deny or restrict access to its market. Examples of such products are genetically modified food or certain energy drinks.
Even though there are generally no limitations for the purchase of goods in another Member State, as long as they are for personal use, there is a series of European restrictions for specific categories of products, such as alcohol and tobacco.
Free movement of capital
Another essential condition for the functioning of the internal market is the free movement of capital. It is one of the four basic freedoms guaranteed by EU legislation and represents the basis of the integration of European financial markets. Europeans can now manage and invest their money in any EU Member State.
The liberalisation of capital markets has marked a crucial point in the process of economic and monetary integration in the EU. It was the first step towards the establishment of our European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the common currency, the Euro.
The principle of the free movement of capital not only increases the efficiency of financial markets within the Union, it also brings a series of advantages to EU citizens. Individuals can carry out a broad number of financial operations within the EU without major restrictions. For instance, individuals with few restrictions can
- easily open a bank account,
- buy shares
- invest, or
- purchase real estate
in another Member State. EU Companies can invest in, own and manage other European enterprises.
Certain exceptions to this principle apply both within the Member States and with third countries. They are mainly related to taxation, prudential supervision, public policy considerations, money laundering and financial sanctions agreed under the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy.
The European Commission is continuing to work on the completion of the free market for financial services, by implementing new strategies for financial integration in order to make it even easier for citizens and companies to manage their money within the EU.
Both furnished and unfurnished accommodation is available. In town neighbourhoods you will find ‘ΕΝΟΙΚΙΑΖΕΤΑΙ’ [Enikiazete – To Rent] wall stickers. Property to rent is advertised in national and local newspapers under the heading ‘Enikiasi Akiniton’ [Property for Rent]. Many of these have special web pages advertising accommodation for rent throughout Greece.
Rental agreements are by law for at least 3 years, even if the parties have agreed to terminate them earlier.
It is sometimes necessary to pay a deposit which serves as a guarantee that the tenant will look after the property. The rental agreement and the payment are arranged directly with the owner.
Based on data collected by credit institutions, it is estimated that in the first nine months of 2022, apartment prices (in nominal terms) increased by 10.4 % on an annual basis, compared to an increase of 6.8 % in the corresponding period of 2021.
(1) Rent prices for a three-room apartment:
Athens (centre): Approx. EUR 929.31 per month
Athens (suburbs): Approx. EUR 876.61 per month
Piraeus (centre): Approx. EUR 875.00 per month
Piraeus (suburbs): Approx. EUR 666.67 per month
Thessaloniki (centre): Approx. EUR 762.97 per month
Thessaloniki (suburbs): Approx. EUR 596.84 per month
Larissa: Approx. EUR 502.50 per month
Heraklion (Crete): Approx. EUR 754.55 per month
Rhodes: Approx. EUR 650 per month
Patras: Approx. EUR 541.67 per month
(2) Purchase prices:
Athens (centre): Approx. EUR 2 617.22 per m²
Athens (suburbs): Approx. EUR 2 510.74 per m²
Piraeus (centre): Approx. EUR 2 783.33 per m²
Piraeus (suburbs): Approx. EUR 2 166.67 per m²
Thessaloniki (centre): Approx. EUR 2 377.27 per m²
Thessaloniki (suburbs): Approx. EUR 1 656 per m²
Larissa: Approx. EUR 1 850.00 per m²
Heraklion (Crete): Approx. EUR 3 216.67 per m²
Rhodes: Approx. EUR 2 333.33 per m²
Patras: Approx. EUR 1 558.33 per m²
Bank of Greece
Monetary policy Interim Report 2022
(1) Preschool education:
Pre-school education (kindergarten and nursery school) is optional. Children must be 4 years old by 31 December of the year of enrolment, when they begin compulsory education and go either to a state nursery school in their neighbourhood or to a private nursery school of their parents’ choosing. State nursery schools change the school catchment area each year. Enrolment is done online. The electronic form is filled in by giving the details of the child and other children studying in the same school unit, permanent home address (a utilities bill, rent agreement or other recent public document must also be attached), the choice of the optional all-day programme and/or early arrival class as well as details of the children's chaperone at their arrival and departure from school unit. To enrol a child, parents must also furnish the school unit with a child’s health booklet, a vaccination-record book and, optionally, for children with special educational needs, a certification from the Special Education Centre (KESY), a public medico-pedagogical centre or another public body. For private nursery schools the electronic form is not valid, and parents must contact the school unit they have chosen.
(2) Primary and secondary education:
Primary education is completed in the primary school, which begins in the year in which children reach the age of six by 31 December. The course of compulsory education is completed in Gymnasio (lower high school), which is the first stage of secondary education. After completing compulsory schooling, children can continue in education for 3 years at a general or a vocational Lykeio (non-compulsory secondary education) or move on to apprenticeship and technical education.
Children who study in the primary, high school and Lykeio in Greece, go to the state school in their neighbourhood or to a private school of their parents’ choice. With regard to primary schools, before enrolment begins, the school unit's management must place in clear view at the school unit and/or on its official website an announcement giving information on the school catchment area, the hours when applications can be made and the supporting documents that must accompany the enrolment application. After study at the primary school is complete and the leaving certificate has been issued, the Directorate of Secondary Education sets out which high school primary school leavers will enrol in. Thereafter, enrolment into the corresponding lykeio takes place through the service. In general, enrolment into state school is carried out on the basis of place of residence, though parents can choose and apply for their children to go to another kind of school, for instance in a so-called experimental school.
All schools open within the first 10 days of September.
(3) Higher education
Higher education in Greece includes Universities (HEIs). Degree holders can go on to study for a postgraduate degree or a doctorate if they so wish.
The basic requirement for admission to university is a leaving certificate from a Lykeio. Because places are limited, all applicants have to sit general national examinations, usually in June. An exception to the system of national examinations is the procedure for access to the Hellenic Open University, which involves electronic enrolment and a random draw.
(4) Special schools and second-chance schools
Alongside conventional primary and secondary education, there are also schools for specific groups of pupils, i.e. inter-cultural schools for foreigners and expatriates, minority schools for the Muslim minority in Thrace and independent special needs schools for children with disabilities. At secondary level there are pilot/experimental schools (in collaboration with universities), music schools, theological schools and sports-oriented sections. There are also second-chance schools for adults who failed to complete 9-year compulsory education. Special procedures need to be followed to enrol in these schools.
Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs
The implementation of the principle of free movement of people, is one of the cornerstones of our European construction, has meant the introduction a series of practical rules to ensure that citizens can travel freely and easily to any Member State of the European Union. Travelling across the EU with one’s car has become a lot less problematic. The European Commission has set a series of common regulations governing the mutual recognition of driving licences, the validity of car insurance, and the possibility of registering your car in a host country.
Your driving licence in the EU
The EU has introduced a harmonised licence model and further minimum requirements for obtaining a licence. This should help to keep unsafe drivers off Europe's roads - wherever they take their driving test.
Since 19 January 2013, all driving licences issued by EU countries have the same look and feel. The licences are printed on a piece of plastic that has the size and shape of a credit card.
Harmonised administrative validity periods for the driving licence document have been introduced which are between 10 and 15 years for motorcycles and passenger cars. This enables the authorities to regularly update the driving licence document with new security features that will make it harder to forge or tamper - so unqualified or banned drivers will find it harder to fool the authorities, in their own country or elsewhere in the EU.
The new European driving licence is also protecting vulnerable road users by introducing progressive access for motorbikes and other powered two-wheelers. The "progressive access" system means that riders will need experience with a less powerful bike before they go on to bigger machines. Mopeds will also constitute a separate category called AM.
You must apply for a licence in the country where you usually or regularly live. As a general rule, it is the country where you live for at least 185 days each calendar year because of personal or work-related ties.
If you have personal/work-related ties in 2 or more EU countries, your place of usual residence is the place where you have personal ties, as long as you go back regularly. You don't need to meet this last condition if you are living in an EU country to carry out a task for a fixed period of time.
If you move to another EU country to go to college or university, your place of usual residence doesn't change. However, you can apply for a driving licence in your host country if you can prove you have been studying there for at least 6 months.
Registering your car in the host country
If you move permanently to another EU country and take your car with you, you should register your car and pay car-related taxes in your new country.
There are no common EU rules on vehicle registration and related taxes. Some countries have tax-exemption rules for vehicle registration when moving with the car from one country to another permanently.
To benefit from a tax exemption, you must check the applicable deadlines and conditions in the country you wish to move to.
Check the exact rules and deadlines with the national authorities: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/vehicles/registration/registration-abroad/index_en.htm
EU citizens can insure their car in any EU country, as long as the chosen insurance company is licensed by the host national authority to issue the relevant insurance policies. A company based in another Member State is entitled sell a policy for compulsory civil liability only if certain conditions are met. Insurance will be valid throughout the Union, no matter where the accident takes place.
Value Added Tax or VAT on motor vehicles is ordinarily paid in the country where the car is purchased, although under certain conditions, VAT is paid in the country of destination.
More information on the rules which apply when a vehicle is acquired in one EU Member State and is intended to be registered in another EU Member State is available on this link https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/vehicles/registration/taxes-abroad/index_en.htm.
As a citizen of an EU Member State, the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) or Switzerland, you can enter Greece simply by showing a valid identity card or passport. There is no entry visa requirement or other equivalent document.
The said citizens have the right of free movement and access to the labour market in the aforementioned states. EU/EEA/Swiss citizens may enter Greece and stay for 3 months.
Should any of the above citizens wish to exercise a profession which in Greece is regulated by laws laying down the required qualifications and procedure for obtaining a licence, such as for lawyers, medical doctors, engineers, etc., they must contact the competent body issuing licences to practise the profession.
For the purposes of travelling within the EU, forms which are common to all EU countries are issued by the competent authorities, e.g.:
- U2 Portable Document (PDU2) or SED U008: which allows unemployed people seeking job in another EU Member State to transfer their unemployment benefits for up to 3 months.
- Forms E 411 and F 005, which concern family benefits;
- U1 Portable Document, which is a certificate granted for insurance and work periods and is used to receive unemployment benefit in another EU Member State;
- Form E205: this shows that the job seeker is insured in their country of origin, and is issued by the competent insurance body. The above administrative forms are issued by the last country of employment.
If you wish to stay in the country for more than 3 months, you must contact the police station of the area in which you are residing to obtain a registration certificate. A residence permit confirms your right to stay in the country as an employed person who is an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen. Essential requirements for residing in Greece are to be in employment or in possession of sufficient resources. If the conditions are met, a residence permit is issued for 5 years and may be renewed.
Each resident receives a personal tax registration number (AFM) from the competent Public Revenue Office (DOY), which is required for tax services, as well as another registration number (AMKA) for social security services from the Citizen's Service Centre (KEP) and/or the Single Social Insurance Body (EFKA).
Citizens of the EU/EEA/Switzerland can work without any special permit. EU citizens are issued with a residence permit for the pursuit of paid employment when they present a statement of engagement from an employer. Dependent family members of an employed citizen or registered partner enjoy the same rights as that employed person.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS FOR ISSUANCE OF REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE
- Supporting documents:
- An exact photocopy of the current ID card or passport
- a certificate of recruitment from the employer or other document showing that the employee is employed or that the EU citizen is engaged in independent economic activity.
- proof of enrolment at an educational establishment and full sickness insurance, as well as a statement or other equivalent means showing that they have adequate resources
Supplementary information for EU family members:
- The official document certifying the existence of family ties.
- A photocopy of the certificate of registration for citizens accompanying or coming to meet their family member
- A photocopy of the birth certificate for children or the certificate showing the age of any minor children
- children and relatives aged over 21, a document issued by the competent authority in the country of origin showing that those persons are maintained by the EU citizen or live with him/her under the same roof in that State.
3. Photographs in all cases
The certificate is issued free of charge. After residence of 5 years, a permanent residence certificate may be applied for.
Advice: In order to have sickness insurance cover you must have with you the European Health Insurance Card from your country of origin.
Table of permits for foreigners:
Issuing of residence permits for EU citizens
https://portal.astynomia.gr/webcenter/portal/eTap/electronic-services/eu-citizen-reg-certify-application?_afrLoop=163202673690778782&_adf.ctrl-state=ptwhghpae_126 - !@%2Foracle%2Fwebcenter%2Fpage%2FscopedMD%2Fsc4a7f2fc_8444_49c8_851f_54090b20e281%2FPortalHome.jspx@%3Fwc.contextURL%3D%2Fspaces%2FeTap%26_adf.ctrl-state%3Dptwhghpae_126
Employment-related matters for foreign nationals
Issuing of EHIC
U1 and U2 Portable Documents:
Standard forms for social security rights and benefits within the EU
Issuance of personal tax registration number (AFM)
Issuance of social security number (AMKA)
In order to prepare properly before travelling to Greece, make sure you gather information about the country:
- get information from relevant websites, such as the EURES portal etc. Look at the job vacancies in the EURES portal and register your CV so that it is visible to employers visiting the portal. You can get in touch with a EURES adviser in your region of residence.
- Contact acquaintances in Greece who may be able to help, and also get in touch with potential employers.
- Have your qualifications translated to make it easier for prospective employers. Bring with you any documents that may be needed for employment, insurance, driving and registration purposes as a European citizen.
- If you have children of school age, you should visit the website of the Ministry of Education to check which supporting documents are required for their school enrolment, so you can arrange for an official translation.
- You may contact the Translation Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or a lawyer for translations.
Once you arrive in Greece, see about:
- finding accommodation and employment;
- registering with the local police station;
- to find employment get in touch with the nearest DYPA (Public Employment Service) office or private employment agencies. Have a CV available for employers who ask for one;
- If you are unemployed, once you have acquired a social insurance registration number (AMKA) and a tax registration number (AFM), you need to go to the local DYPA branches (KPA2) where you live and provide the required supporting documents in order to either register as unemployed or request the transfer of your unemployment benefit.
Quality of work and employment - a vital issue, with a strong economic and humanitarian impact
Good working conditions are important for the well-being of European workers. They
- contribute to the physical and psychological welfare of Europeans, and
- contribute to the economic performance of the EU.
From a humanitarian point of view, the quality of working environment has a strong influence on the overall work and life satisfaction of European workers.
From an economic point of view, high-quality job conditions are a driving force of economic growth and a foundation for the competitive position of the European Union. A high level of work satisfaction is an important factor for achieving high productivity of the EU economy.
It is therefore a core issue for the European Union to promote the creation and maintenance of a sustainable and pleasant working environment – one that promotes health and well-being of European employees and creates a good balance between work and non-work time.
Improving working conditions in Europe: an important objective for the European Union.
Ensuring favourable working conditions for European citizens is a priority for the EU. The European Union is therefore working together with national governments to ensure a pleasant and secure workplace environment. Support to Member States is provided through:
- the exchange of experience between different countries and common actions
- the establishment of the minimum requirements on working conditions and health and safety at work, to be applied all over the European Union
Criteria for quality of work and employment
In order to achieve sustainable working conditions, it is important to determine the main characteristics of a favourable working environment and thus the criteria for the quality of working conditions.
The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) in Dublin, is an EU agency that provides information, advice and expertise on, as the name implies, living and working conditions. This agency has established several criteria for job and employment quality, which include:
- health and well-being at the workplace – this is a vital criteria, since good working conditions suppose the prevention of health problems at the work place, decreasing the exposure to risk and improving work organisation
- reconciliation of working and non-working life – citizens should be given the chance to find a balance between the time spent at work and at leisure
- skills development – a quality job is one that gives possibilities for training, improvement and career opportunities
The work of Eurofound contributes to the planning and design of better living and working conditions in Europe.
Health and safety at work
The European Commission has undertaken a wide scope of activities to promote a healthy working environment in the EU Member States. Amongst others, it developed a Community Strategy for Health and Safety at Work for the period 2021-2027. This strategy was set up with the help of national authorities, social partners and NGOs. It addresses the changing needs in worker’s protection brought by the digital and green transitions, new forms of work and the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the framework will continue to address traditional occupational safety and health risks, such as risks of accidents at work or exposure to hazardous chemicals.
The Community policy on health and safety at work aims at a long-lasting improvement of well-being of EU workers. It takes into account the physical, moral and social dimensions of working conditions, as well as the new challenges brought up by the enlargement of the European Union towards countries from Central and Eastern Europe. The introduction of EU standards for health and safety at the workplace, has contributed a lot to the improvement of the situation of workers in these countries.
Improving working conditions by setting minimum requirements common to all EU countries
Improving living and working conditions in the EU Member States depends largely on the establishment of common labour standards. EU labour laws and regulations have set the minimum requirements for a sustainable working environment and are now applied in all Member States. The improvement of these standards has strengthened workers’ rights and is one of the main achievements of the EU’s social policy.
The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers
The possibility of obtaining recognition of one’s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in the decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in different Member States. Only such a system will ensure that a lack of recognition of professional qualifications will not become an obstacle to workers’ mobility within the EU.
Main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU
As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to freely practice their profession in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements for access to certain professions in the host country.
For the purpose of overcoming these differences, the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. Within the terms of this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State.
Steps towards a transparency of qualifications in Europe
The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe:
- An increased co-operation in vocational education and training, with the intention to combine all instruments for transparency of certificates and diplomas, in one single, user-friendly tool. This includes, for example, the European CV or Europass Trainings.
- The development of concrete actions in the field of recognition and quality in vocational education and training.
Going beyond the differences in education and training systems throughout the EU
Education and training systems in the EU Member States still show substantial differences. The last enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences.
In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has put forward a series of instruments, aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes.
The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee a smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas.
A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU.
The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus.
Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It is composed of five standardised documents
- a CV (Curriculum Vitae),
- a cover letter editor,
- certificate supplements,
- diploma supplements, and
- a Europass-Mobility document.
The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system.
Children under 15 years of age are not allowed to work in industrial facilities, unless only the employer’s family members work there and the working conditions do not pose a risk to the health and character of those working there. During apprenticeship training at vocational schools, trainees work for employers to gain work experience after reaching 15 years of age.
The most common form of employment contract is the full-time employment contract of indefinite duration. Employment contracts are of indefinite duration when their duration is not expressly set and when it cannot be inferred from the type and purpose of the contract. Part-time work is relatively limited compared to other EU countries, but over recent years there has been a pronounced upward trend. Seasonal employment in tourist areas and occupations directly related to tourism is normal.
Labourers and technicians, especially in the construction and agriculture sectors, are paid a daily wage on a weekly basis.
A number of professionals, such as engineers, work for an employer on the basis of the issuing of receipts for the provision of services, rather than receiving a salary.
Fixed-term employment contracts are frequently also entered into when it is explicitly or tacitly agreed that the employment is to be for a certain duration (e.g. 6 months, 1 year, etc.) or until a specified event occurs, or when the duration of the employment is obvious due to the type and nature of the work for which the salaried person is being hired (contracts for seasonal work or for the performance of specific tasks). In other words, such contracts are entered into when a specific time at which the work will end is explicitly or tacitly agreed.
Atypical forms of work include the provision of services or work for a specified or indefinite period, especially in the case of piecework, teleworking, working from home, etc.
The rapid development of technology, the development of economic conditions and the coronavirus pandemic have led to the emergence and spread of new forms of employment, teleworking, under a dependent labour contract, as well as the provision of services linked to electronic platforms, under a dependent labour contract or service or project contract.
Seasonal work is governed by a flexible form of contract, given that it is only available for a specific time period, thus providing decisive support either to enterprises operating in certain sectors, mainly in tourism and agriculture, or to activities carried out throughout the year to cover special needs. The major increase in demand usually results in foreign workers being employed.
According to European legislation, seasonal vacancies should preferably be filled by nationals and EU citizens who have an unrestricted right of occupational mobility within the EU. As far as third country nationals are concerned, Law 4332/2015 amended the previous Law 4251/2014 (Migration Code) to bring Greek law into line with Directive 2014/36/EU.
According to that law, seasonal work means an activity offered for a period of up to 6 months a year in certain sectors of economic activity. As far as the employment of third-country nationals is concerned, the process outlined is complex. It involves both the Greek State (which issues a ministerial decision which sets out potential vacant posts for each seasonal period) and employers (who submit an application under special terms).
Greek law also contains special provisions to protect the rights of seasonal workers.
In the tourism sector, the most important right relates to re-employment in the next season, provided that they submit an application in good time. Where the employer refuses to renew the employment contract or dismisses the employee, the latter is entitled to certain types of compensation depending on the circumstances in each case. That right is based on the constitutional principle of equality and protection of work and on Article 8 of Law 1346/1983 as amended by Law 1545/1985 and is also laid down in collective agreements.
Moreover, depending on the total duration of their employment contracts, seasonal workers are also entitled to certain financial benefits and allowances from the employer. During the so-called ‘dead’ period, special provisions relating to the unemployment benefit provided by the Public Employment Service (DYPA) apply to seasonal workers.
Moreover, seasonal workers are entitled to special seasonal compensation from the Greek Manpower Employment Organisation, usually in the autumn, depending on their area of specialisation and how long they were insured during the previous period.
Presidential Decree 156/1994, which applies both to employment contracts of indefinite duration and to fixed-term employment contracts or working relationships of a duration exceeding 1 month, provides that employers must expressly notify employees of the material terms of the contract or relationship, namely:
- the details of the contracting parties (employer and employee);
- the place at which the work is to be performed, the registered office of the company or the home address of the employer;
- the employee’s post or specialisation, grade or employment category, and the subject-matter of the work;
- the date of commencement of the employment contract, and, if it is a fixed term contract, its duration;
- the duration of the paid leave to which the employee is entitled, and how and when it is to be granted;
- the compensation payable and the notice which the employer and the employee must give, in accordance with legislation in force, in the event of termination of the contract;
- all the forms of earnings to which the employee is entitled;
- the employee’s daily and weekly working hours; and
- the applicable collective agreement that lays down the employee’s minimum terms of remuneration and employment.
The information must be provided not later than two months after the employee has started work, in one of the following ways chosen by the employer:
(a) in writing in an employment contract, or (b) in another document.
Failure to provide the employee with one of the above documents does not invalidate the employment contract, but does result in a fine.
There are other or parallel related forms of employment, in addition to the contract of indefinite duration and the fixed-term contract. These are:
- work contracts: the contractor is bound to perform specific work and is paid when the work or a part of it is delivered. The contract is dissolved automatically when the work is done;
- contracts for the provision of independent services: this sort of contract is used when the person providing the service or the work is not subject to the employer’s control;
- part-time or short-time employment contract: part-time refers to employment of a shorter duration than normal. Pursuant to the law, it must be continuous and provided once a day, with the exception of certain specialties in the field of education, while additional work is allowed. The employer may not unilaterally impose a part-time work. Short-time work means employment by fewer days per week or fewer weeks per month or fewer months per year or a combination thereof on full-time daily working hours. The employer is entitled to impose it unilaterally for a period that may not exceed 9 months within the same calendar year, provided that the company’s activities have been limited and upon prior consultation with the representatives of the employees or (in the absence of trade unions) with all employees of the undertaking;
- temporary employment contract: when the employee is assigned to a third party, subject to the conditions and prohibitions of the law. A similar type is a loan agreement.
- association contracts: these are used when a joint benefit is pursued with joint contributions;
- representation contracts: these are used when the representative acts on the basis of general instructions from the employer, without having to work under the employer’s supervision or being tied to regular working hours.
Termination of contract: Employers are free to dissolve an employment contract of indefinite duration at any time, subject to adherence to the legal formalities, by giving notice of termination in writing and paying compensation. Employers can dismiss an employee either without notice (extraordinary termination) or with notice (regular termination with notice), in which case the compensation due is reduced by 50 %.
Article 65 of Law4808/2021 provides that, by announcing the termination of the employment contract with notice, the employer may exempt the employee from the obligation to provide the work, partially or fully. During this period, the employee’s wages are paid in full by the employer terminating the contract until the expiration of the notice period, while the employee can take up work for another employer without any adverse consequences on them in terms of the results of the termination, the amount of compensation due at the expiration of the notice period and the wages owed by the employer terminating the contract during the notice period.
In the case of a fixed-term employment contract or work contract, there must be an important and justified reason for termination (Article 672 of the Civil Code).
An employee is entitled to terminate a contract of indefinite duration freely at any time and depart voluntarily from his/her employment. However, he/she must give the employer notice of termination within the time limits prescribed by law.
Article 66(1) of Law 4808/2021 groups the cases of invalidity of termination of an employment contract of indefinite term and lists the cases in which the termination of the employment contract is invalid for specific reasons. The employee who claims that his/her dismissal was due to one of these reasons is only required to prove the existence of facts supporting the belief that the dismissal was made for the alleged reason, in which case it is now up to the employer to prove that the dismissal was not made for that reason (reversal of the burden of proof in favour of the employee).
If the dismissal is due to a reason other than those set out in par. 1, the court, at the request of the employee or the employer, awards an amount of additional compensation in favour of the employee. This additional compensation can be awarded, instead of recognising the nullity of the termination, only at the request of the employee and in the event that the termination of the contract is due to one of the reasons set out in par. 1.
Moreover, in accordance with the provision in Article 66(5) of Law 4808/2021, in the event that the severance pay has already been paid, but the other conditions of the existing legislation have not been met, the validity of the termination is strengthened, as long as the employer restores the formal failure to do so within 1 month from the service of the relevant action or from the submission of a request to resolve a labour dispute.
Finally, if insufficient compensation is paid due to an error or mistake on the part of the employer, the termination is not considered invalid, but an order is issued to pay the full compensation. Collective redundancies are dismissals carried out by businesses or holdings employing more than 20 workers for reasons that do not concern the individuals being dismissed but solely the business.
Note that under the collective redundancy process, the law does not stipulate a limit to the number of dismissals. The final number of dismissals is exclusively the result of negotiations.
In any case, the employer must submit an electronic notification that the employment contract has been terminated through the ERGANI information system within 4 days of delivering the notice of dismissal, whether the contract is of indefinite or fixed duration. If the employee does not sign the document, a notice is served to him/her by a bailiff. Failure to submit an electronic notification shall incur penalties
Termination of employment contracts
Law 2643/98, as amended and in force, governs the employment of persons in special categories, such as people with disabilities, parents with large families, etc.
Protected persons: The following categories of persons are subject to the above Law: (a) Parents with four or more children, parents with three children, a child from a family with three children and the surviving or unmarried parent of three children who are minors. (b) Persons with at least 50% disability whose vocational employment opportunities are restricted on account of any chronic physical, intellectual or mental condition or impairment (persons with special needs), provided that they are on the special unemployment register of the Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED). Moreover, all persons who have a child, sibling or spouse who are 67% or more disabled due to serious mental and physical problems are protected. By way of exception, at least 50% disability is required in the case of mental impediment and autism. c) All persons who took part in the National Resistance (Law 1285/1992) and their children. Also, the members of guerilla groups during the National Resistance under conditions, as well as the children, the surviving spouse and the surviving parent of those who were executed or died from injuries or hardships as a result of their anti-dictatorship action from 21.04.1967 to 24.06.1974. d) Persons disabled or wounded from war or war events, those who became incapacitated during conscription in the Armed Forces or the Security Forces and their children, war victims and war disabled civilians and their children, persons disabled in peacetime and their children. The children and surviving spouse of persons who were killed or disappeared in the military operations in Cyprus in 1964, 1967 and 1974 are also protected. e) Parents with three living children and one of the three children.
In compliance with the principle of equal treatment of persons with a disability, employers are obliged to take all appropriate measures, depending on the circumstances, so that such persons have the opportunity to access a job, perform it and progress, as well as the opportunity to take part in professional training, provided such measures do not place a disproportionate burden on the employer. The burden is not considered disproportionate when offset by protective measures which are taken within the framework of implementing disabled persons policy. Persons who come under the special categories can contact the DYPA service provided for by Law 2643/98 in order to get help with finding work
Employers cannot dismiss pregnant women or young mothers during the period of eighteen (18) months after the birth, unless serious grounds apply. Law 4808/21 provides for 6-month protection for the working father, as well.
Night work by women is governed by International Labour Conventions 41 and 89.
Corporate businesses (companies) are divided into three subcategories, i.e. personal (general partnerships, limited companies, silent partnerships), capital (public limited companies) and mixed enterprises (limited liability companies, private companies).
- In sole proprietorships, which may either employ other people or not, the entrepreneur is both owner and manager of the company. Therefore, being a sole partner, he or she is exclusively responsible both for the decisions and operation of the enterprise and for its liabilities, to the extent of all his or her personal property.
- A corporate business is created when two or more natural or legal persons associate with a view to achieving a common result. Partners’ contribution to the establishment of corporate property may be equal or unequal, depending on the provisions laid down in the company’s articles of association.
- General partnership: The main feature of a general partnership is that each partner is liable by their entire personal assets for all the company’s liabilities, even following its dissolution.
- Limited company: The main feature of a limited company is that general partners are liable by their personal assets for the company’s liabilities and may be appointed managers of the company. On the contrary, limited partners are liable up to the amount of their contribution.
- Silent partnership: This is an association of two or more partners (legal entities or individuals), only one of whom appears as manager of the company and in whose name the company operates. He or she is called the ‘general partner’, while the other ‘silent’ partners do not appear in any transaction whatsoever and are in no event liable for any debts of the company. Company links develop only in the relations between the partners, since only the general partner appears in the company’s relations with others and seems to run his or her own enterprise by himself or herself.
- Capital company: The corporate capital rather than the personal element prevails in capital companies or public limited companies.
- Public limited company: The capital of a public limited company is divided into equal parts that are called shares. Share is also the name used for the certificate that incorporates and denominates each of these parts of the capital and a person holding such capital parts is called a shareholder (member of the PLC). Each shareholder is liable up to the total amount of the shares he or she holds and may freely transfer his or her shares to another person, without affecting the company.
- Mixed enterprises: These are an intermediate legal form of companies, which borrow characteristics both from personal companies (general partnerships, limited companies) and from capital companies (public limited companies). Personal companies are often transformed into mixed enterprises (limited liability companies, private companies) and mixed enterprises are often transformed into capital companies (public limited companies), thus following a reasonable course of business growth.
- Limited liability company (LLC): It combines the advantages of a general partnership and of a public limited company. A limited liability company is used for smaller scale activities than those of a public limited company, while its capital is divided in shares acquired by various persons, which are exclusively and solely responsible for the shares each of them holds.
- Private Company: This is a company form between small and large enterprises, quite similar to a limited liability company, without falling, however, within the scope of EU guidance on corporate entities. It corresponds to the term Societas Private Europaea, and can also be a sole proprietorship. A particular characteristic of a private company, which explains its adaptability, usability and flexibility, is not the necessary capital threshold (which may be zero) but rather the freedom governing the provisions of its articles of association (Law 4072/2012 as amended and in force).
- Social Cooperative Enterprise (SCE): This is an urban cooperative of social purpose the members of which assume limited liability and which engages in commercial activities. SCEs are divided into three categories depending on their specific purpose. These categories are as follows: (a) Integration SCEs; (b) Social care SCEs; and (c) Collective and productive SCEs.
- Start-Up: This is a temporary organisation formed for purposes of rapid development, using a repeated and expandable business model. The average life cycle of a start-up is usually 1 year, since it must have obtained the structure and functions of a proper enterprise within 2 years at the latest. Essentially, in implementing the investment plan, the owners must decide what kind of legal form their project would have. Most start-ups evolve into limited liability companies or private companies, even though they may evolve afterwards into all other corporate forms.
- Public limited and limited liability companies (that are established as such and are not the product of conversion or transformation) are constituted using the one-stop-shop electronic application, which can be accessed only by certified notaries operating as OSSs.
- General partnerships, limited companies and private companies are constituted via the OSS electronic application, which is accessed only by the OSSs of the competent Chambers.
- Companies (public limited companies, limited liability companies, general partnership and limited companies) that must obtain a licence prior to starting business (such as health-regulated establishments), as well as foreign branches, which are established only via the General Commercial Registry (GEMI) departments of the relevant chambers, cannot be constituted via the OSSs.
- All private companies are constituted via OSSs (irrespective of their scope or of whether or not they have previously obtained a licence).
- Sole proprietorships are registered in the General Commercial Registry (GEMI) and the relevant chambers upon obtaining a business commencement certificate from the Public Revenue Office.
Necessary constitution documentation for each business form is laid down in Joint Ministerial Decision Κ1-802/23.3.2011 – Government Gazette, Series II, No 470, 2011).
To support unemployed persons who wish to start their own business, the Public Employment Service (DYPA) occasionally operates New Self-employed Professionals (NEE) grant programmes. The Ministry of Development and Competitiveness also runs special business start-up programmes.
Moreover, for those who close their businesses, unemployment benefits are available, provided they do not owe insurance contributions (or have made a debt settlement) and meet the following conditions:
- completion of at least 3 years of insurance (continuous or interrupted) with the social security body to which they belong;
- the total personal net taxable income in the last two tax years before the year in which the application was submitted must not exceed EUR 30 000 overall and the corresponding total household income must not exceed EUR 40 000 overall;
- proven termination of the professional activity from 1 January 2012 onwards;
- the beneficiary must not provide dependent work, must not be self-employed, must not be included in voluntary insurance, must not be retired and must not have submitted an application for a pension;
- the beneficiary must not have transferred his/her business or his/her share or shares in the business to which he belonged to a spouse or to a person of the first and second degree of kinship;
- the beneficiary must be a permanent resident of Greece.
Applications to receive the allowance of EUR 479 per month must be submitted within 3 months from publication of the ministerial decision deleting the interested person from the insured person's registry. The allowance will be paid for a period of from 3 to 9 months, depending on the number of years they were insured.
As of 01.04.2023, the statutory minimum wage and the statutory minimum daily wage for full employment for all employees and workers throughout the country, without age discrimination, is as follows:
a) For employees, the minimum salary is seven hundred and eighty euros (EUR 780 00).
b) For skilled workers, the minimum daily wage is thirty‑four euros and eighty‑four cents (€34.84). Employees are usually paid on a monthly, weekly or daily basis. Employers deduct the employees’ compulsory payments (social security contributions and income tax) before paying the remuneration. Employers pay the employees’ social security contributions to the social insurance bodies, together with their own employer’s contribution. They also pay any payroll taxes deducted to the tax office.
Employers keep a detailed record of payroll payments. Employees can obtain a written monthly analysis of their earnings, showing the wage or salary amount and the allowances and deductions.
The usual practice is for remuneration to be fixed by collective agreement. Employers frequently pay their workers a higher remuneration than that required by the collective agreement, particularly in the case of skilled workers when there is high labour market demand for a specific specialisation.
The collective agreements are negotiated by employers and trade unions. The Ministry of Employment may assist the negotiations.
Collective labour agreements lay down minimum levels of remuneration for most occupations every year. Family allowances, allowances for length of service and experience and unsanitary work (where this is considered justified), as well as other allowances relating to the specific requirements of the work, are added to the basic remuneration of the collective agreement, which depends on the employee’s specialisation and level of education. The collective agreements also set payment levels for work in excess of normal working hours (overtime) and for work on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. A number of organisations provide payment in the form of gratuities or other earnings based on results, mainly to managers and people in sales.
In cases where there is a risk of a company declaring bankruptcy as a result of the economic crisis, it is possible to enter into works agreements involving lower employee salaries.
Private companies pay a thirteenth monthly salary at Christmas, half a monthly salary at Easter and half a monthly salary in the summer. In the event of sickness, remuneration is protected through the social insurance system or through collective agreements or both.
Employees usually receive their monthly salary at the end of the month. In some organisations the monthly salary is paid in two instalments, on the 15th day of the month and at the end of the month. Day wage workers are paid at the end of the week. Remuneration is paid compulsorily by deposit into a bank account.
National General Collective Labour Agreements
Trade unions and collective organisations
Federation of Private Employees in Greece
Working hours are divided into statutory hours, i.e. those set out in legislative provisions, and contractual hours, i.e. those set out in individual or collective agreements and cannot be longer than the statutory hours. Article 58 of Law 4808/2021 set the legal weekly working hours at 45 hours for a 5-day work week and 48 hours for a 6-day work week. Also, for 5-day work, the statutory daily hours were set at 9 hours and for 6-day work it remained at 8 hours.
When the daily working time exceeds 4 hours, a break of at least 15 minutes and a maximum of 30 minutes is provided.
The minimum daily rest of workers cannot be less than 11 hours. A minimum period of continuous rest of 24 hours is required per week, which in principle includes Sunday. In the case of a five-day work week, employees are entitled to two days of weekly rest.
Exceeding the contractual working hours is considered overtime and is at the discretion of the employer. The 5 hours of additional work on a 5-day basis (from 41 to 45 hours) or 8 hours of additional work on a 6-day basis (from 41 to 48 hours) must be paid at the hourly rate of pay plus 20 % and must not be counted towards the permitted overtime limits provided for in the relevant provisions.
Exceeding the statutory hours is considered overtime and is paid with the paid hourly wage increased by 40 %. The upper limit of overtime work in all companies and for all employees in the private sector is set at 150 hours per year and up to 3 hours per day. Overtime work performed without complying with the prescribed conditions is considered illegal overtime, for which the employee is entitled to compensation for every hour equal to the paid hourly wage increased by 120 %.
Limits on working time
The types of leave that employees may be entitled to are described below.
Normal annual leave: From when they start work in a business and until they have completed 12 months of continuous employment, employees are entitled to a percentage of the normal annual paid leave which is proportional to the time they have spent in the business. The percentage is calculated on the basis of annual leave of 24 working days or, if the business operates a 5-day working week system, of 20 working days without including in the calculation those days of the week on which the person does not work because of the system applied. The employer is obliged to grant the above-mentioned proportion of annual leave by the end of the calendar year in which the employee was recruited.
In the second calendar year, employees are entitled to normal annual paid leave in proportion to the length of their employment in the business. The leave is increased by one working day for each year of employment in addition to the first year, up to 26 working days, or up to 22 working days if the business operates a 5-day week. Exceptionally, leave may be divided into two periods during the calendar year if there is a particularly serious or urgent need on the part of the business or holding.
In each following calendar year, employees are entitled to receive their normal annual paid leave from 1 January of each year, as well as their leave allowance (an additional half salary for private sector employees).
Normal leave is granted until the first 3 months of the following year, otherwise the employer is obliged to pay the employee the leave wages, which are single if there is no fault or negligence on the part of the employer, and double, i.e. with a 100 % increase, when there is negligence or fault on the part of the employer.
Convalescence leave (after sickness).
The duration of this leave depends on the employee’s length of service within the company.
Half a year’s leave is granted for various illnesses if the employee worked for 4 months during the previous year, a year’s leave is granted for the same illness if the employee worked for 12 months during the two previous years and 2 years’ leave is granted for the same illness if the employee worked 60 months during the previous years.
Education and study leave is granted to persons who are due to sit examinations, provided that they have completed 1 year of employment.
Maternity and childbirth leave: Under the national collective labour agreement, a female employee is entitled to seventeen (17) weeks paid maternity leave: eight (8) weeks before the birth and nine (9) weeks after the birth. If the woman does not use up all her leave entitlement for the period before the birth, she can use the remainder after the birth.
Special maternity protection leave: Under certain conditions, following the postpartum period leave and the equivalent leave time in terms of reduced hours of work, working mothers are entitled to apply for 6-month maternity-protection leave, which is provided for by DYPA.
Paternity leave: Law 4808/2021 provides for 14 days of leave for fathers after the birth of the child.
Parental leave: every working parent has the right to parental leave for the upbringing of his/her child, for a total duration of 4 months, which he/she can use continuously or in parts, until the child reaches the age of eight (8) years. For the first 2 months, DYPA pays a parental leave allowance to each parent, monthly, the amount of which shall be the minimum set out by the law, as well as a proportion of holiday bonuses and leave allowance.
Child care leave: parents are entitled, alternately, to a childcare leave. The leave is granted for a period of 30 months from the end of the maternity leave or the special maternity protection benefit or the parental leave, in the form of reduced hours. During the above period, the parent is entitled either to arrive 1 hour later or to leave 1 hour earlier every day from work or to interrupt it by 1 hour daily, as requested by the same.
Carer’s leave: every employee is entitled to a carer’s leave, lasting up to 5 working days in every calendar year, in order to take care of a person, as long as that person needs significant care or support for a serious medical reason.
At the same time, other leaves or facilities are provided to parents and carers (absence due to force majeure, submitting an application for flexible work arrangements, leave to be informed about a child’s school performance, as well as leave due to illness or hospitalisation of a child).
Finally, there are arrangements for the granting of a leave to be submitted to medically assisted reproduction methods, as well as to prenatal tests.
New Year’s Day
6 January, Epiphany
25 March, Feast of the Annunciation/National Day
Good Friday, Orthodox Easter
1 May, Labour Day
15 August, Assumption
28 October, National Day
Termination of a fixed-term contract
An employer may terminate a fixed-term employment contract before it expires only for ‘compelling reasons’, such as inadequate performance of duties in the workplace, professional inadequacy, bankruptcy or restriction of the activities of the business, worker absenteeism, etc.
If the notice of termination of the contract is for ‘compelling reasons’, the employer is not obliged to pay compensation. However, the concept of ‘compelling reasons’ is a legal one, and consequently it has to be scrutinised by the courts If the ‘compelling reasons’ were not genuine, the notice of termination of the contract is invalid and all compensation must be paid.
Termination of an employment contract of indefinite duration
(a) Regular notice of termination: Notice of termination of the employment contract and prior written notification of the person being dismissed are the features of this type of termination.
The written notification must be signed by the employer or by a person legally authorised by him/her and must be delivered to the employee at least 1 month and not earlier than 4 months before the termination of the contract (depending on the total period of employment of the person being dismissed). Oral notification is not lawful and is invalid.
In the case of a regular notice of termination of an employment contract, all employment relationships end after the above period of from one to 4 months within which the notification must be delivered.
(b) Irregular notice of termination:
In this case the lay-off period starts on the day of delivery of the notice of termination of the employment contract or on a date stated in the notice.
In any case, the employer must submit an electronic notification that the employment contract has been terminated through the ERGANI information system on the same day, irrespective of whether the contract is of fixed or indefinite duration and whether it is terminated regularly or irregularly.
The employer has to pay the dismissed person compensation corresponding to the duration of employment and the salary or wage of the last month, unless the reasons for the dismissal are or have been legally shown to be ‘compelling’.
In the case of a regular notice of termination of an employment contract in due form (i.e. timely written notification), the employer pays only half of the established compensation.
If the dismissed person has worked for an employer for between 2 months and 1 year, the employer can dismiss them immediately and pay one month’s salary in compensation or can give one month’s notice and pay half a month’s salary in compensation.
A proportionate rate applies to longer periods of work. When compensation due to termination of the employment contract exceeds two (2) months’ earnings, the employer must pay part of the compensation corresponding to the two (2) months’ earnings at the time of termination. The remaining amount is paid in bi-monthly instalments.
(c) Collective redundancies
Collective redundancies are dismissals carried out by businesses or holdings employing more than 20 workers for reasons that do not concern the individuals being dismissed but rather any other financial or technical shortcoming of the business. The provisions applicable to the calculation of compensation also apply to collective redundancies, but the procedure in place to bring them about is different. In order for the legislation on collective redundancies to apply, the following limits for each calendar month must be exceeded:
- 6 employees for businesses with 20 to 150 employees
- A percentage of 5% of staff and up to 30 persons for businesses employing more than 150 employees. This rate is set on a calendar semester basis.
The number of staff includes the total number of workers at the headquarters and any branch offices of a business. The level of dismissals is set by taking into account the personnel employed at the beginning of the month. Moreover, the number of collective redundancies does not include dismissals for reasons concerning the individuals being dismissed (conduct contrary to contractual obligations, shortcomings, etc.) or voluntary redundancies.
Once the procedure of collective redundancies is underway, the final number of dismissals results from negotiations, with the exception of collective redundancies prompted by the termination of company or holding’s activity following a court decision, in which case the negotiation procedure follows to set out the number of dismissals.
Termination of an employment contract by the employee
Employees may submit a notification of termination either in written form or orally.
They must inform their employers 3 months before termination at the latest.
Employers are not obliged to pay compensation when the contract is terminated by an employee, and the employee is not entitled to unemployment allowance from the Public Employment Service (DYPA), since there is no prior notice of termination of the contract from the employer, which is a prerequisite for the payment of unemployment benefits.
Types of pension
Full old-age pension: This is paid when the person has 4 500 working days of insurance and has reached the age of 67.
A reduced pension may be given at the age of 62 with the same number of days of insurance. Insured persons are entitled to national and contributory pension.
Pension on account of the death of an insured person: The surviving spouse and his/her children are entitled to this pension.
Invalidity pension: This is payable to insured persons who are deemed by the health committees of the Disability Certification Centre (KEPA) to have a pensionable percentage of disability (50% or more). The person must also have been insured with IKA-ETAM for the minimum required time, depending on age.
Termination of employment contracts
The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) represents private-sector employees and employees in the public sector who are on fixed-term contracts.
Some 2 300 associations, 53 federations and 66 labour centres are affiliated to the GSEE, representing a trade union membership of 545 000 workers. The unions affiliated to the GSEE represent either particular occupations or branches of industry.
Trade unions are structured hierarchically on three levels.
First-level unions consist mainly of associations. Associations may be formed, at local or national level, by a company’s workers or workers in the same occupation. Some associations consist of workers in the same economic sector, irrespective of the companies which employ them or their occupations.
Second-level unions consist of ‘labour centres’ and ‘federations’. Labour centres are formed by several associations in the same region, irrespective of sector or occupation, and federations are formed by associations in the same sector, the same occupation or the same company at local or national level.
The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE), to which labour centres and federations are affiliated, and which represents workers at national level, is the only third-level union.
The GSEE provides workers with legal advice in collective and individual labour disputes and may also appear in court in support of unions and individuals.
National associations may conclude collective agreements. Associations of a single company may conclude special collective agreements.
National collective agreements are concluded by confederations.
The GSEE coordinates the activities of its affiliates and represents the trade union movement in dealings with the employers’ organisations and the government and at international level. It is a member of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).
Union membership is optional. In order to join a trade union, you need to contact it and register. High trade union membership is found only in large businesses and organisations.
The Confederation of Civil Servants (ADEDY) represents public sector employees at national level. The New Greek Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives (New PASEGES) represents farmers and agricultural cooperatives.
The state supervisory body responsible for monitoring and applying labour legislation rules is the Labour Inspectorate. In the event of a dispute and in order to avoid going to court, the Labour Inspectorate acts as arbitrator between workers and employers.
LABOUR DISPUTES – INDIVIDUAL DISPUTES
The current Greek law on labour and personal disputes is Law 2224/94, as amended by Law 4808/21.
Trade unions are powerful in Greece, especially in the public sector. If employees have problems with their employer, they can get in touch with their trade union, which will be able to help and provide a legal adviser.
The Greek courts have jurisdiction in all cases where the employee, in accordance with the Brussels Convention, resides in Greece or works in Greece on the basis of an employment contract. The Greek courts also have jurisdiction in employment contract cases outside Greece, if the employer has economic interests in Greece or the contract was signed on Greek territory.
Regulations governing strikes
The right to work and the right to strike are enshrined in the Greek Constitution, provided that the strike is called by a lawfully constituted trade union.
There is an obligation to notify the employer of strikes and work stoppages at least 24 hours before they take place (4 days for public utilities). This notification shall be made only in writing and served on the employer by bailiff.
In public enterprises or utilities, there must be available a Minimum Guaranteed Service Personnel to meet the basic needs of society during the strike.
Before a strike is carried out in institutions, services, organisations and enterprises of the State or public utilities, local authorities and all Legal Entities governed by Public Law, there is an obligation to hold a public dialogue before the Organisation of Mediation and Arbitration (OMED). For the rest of the institutions and businesses, holding a public dialogue is optional.
From 1.1.2022, plans are made for the creation of Registers of Trade Unions of Employees and Employers Organisations. For those organisations that will not be registered, the right to collective bargaining and the drawing up of collective labour agreements is suspended.
If a strike called by a primary organisation is found by the courts to be illegal and abusive, it is not allowed to call a strike against the same employer and on the same date by a secondary or tertiary organisation.
Organisation of Mediation and Arbitration
Register of Trade Unions of Employees (GEMISOE) and Employers Organisations (GEMIOE)
The term Vocational Education and Training refers to practical activities and courses related to a specific occupation or vocation, aimed at preparing participants for their future careers. Vocational training is an essential means to achieve professional recognition and improve chances to get a job. It is therefore vital that vocational training systems in Europe respond to the needs of citizens and the labour market in order to facilitate access to employment.
Vocational education and training has been an essential part of EU policy since the very establishment of the European Community. It is also a crucial element of the so-called EU Lisbon Strategy, which aims at transforming Europe into the world’s most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based society. In 2002 the European Council reaffirmed this vital role, and established yet another ambitious goal – to make European education and training renowned globally by the year 2010 – by championing a number of world-class initiatives, and in particular by strengthening cooperation in the area of vocational training.
On 24 November 2020, the Council of the European Union adopted a Recommendation on vocational education and training for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience.
The Recommendation defines key principles for ensuring that vocational education and training is agile in that it adapts swiftly to labour market needs and provides quality learning opportunities for young people and adults alike.
It places a strong focus on the increased flexibility of vocational education and training, reinforced opportunities for work-based learning, apprenticeships and improved quality assurance.
The Recommendation also replaces the EQAVET – European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training – Recommendation and includes an updated EQAVET Framework with quality indicators and descriptors. It repeals the former ECVET Recommendation.
To promote these reforms, the Commission supports Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) which bring together local partners to develop ‘skills ecosystems'. Skills ecosystems will contribute to regional, economic and social development, innovation and smart specialisation strategies.
Erasmus+ is the EU's programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe.
It has an estimated budget of €26.2 billion. This is nearly double the funding compared to its predecessor programme (2014-2020).
The 2021-2027 programme places a strong focus on social inclusion, the green and digital transitions, and promoting young people’s participation in democratic life.
It supports priorities and activities set out in the European Education Area, Digital Education Action Plan and the European Skills Agenda. The programme also
- supports the European Pillar of Social Rights
- implements the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027
- develops the European dimension in sport
Who can take part? Find out here.
Adult Education and Lifelong Learning in Europe
Lifelong learning is a process that involves all forms of education – formal, informal and non-formal – and lasts from the pre-school period until after retirement. It is meant to enable people to develop and maintain key competencies throughout their life as well as to empower citizens to move freely between jobs, regions and countries. Lifelong learning is also a core element of the previously mentioned Lisbon Strategy, as it is crucial for self-development and the raising of competitiveness and employability. The EU has adopted several instruments for the promotion of adult education in Europe.
In order to make lifelong learning a reality in Europe, the European Commission has set itself the objective of creating a European Area of Lifelong Learning. In this context, the Commission focuses on identifying the needs of both learners and the labour market in order to make education more accessible and subsequently create partnerships between public administrations, suppliers of educational services and civil society.
This EU initiative is based on the objective of providing basic skills – by strengthening counselling and information services at a European level, and by recognising all forms of learning, including formal education and informal and non-formal training.
EU organisations promoting vocational education in Europe
With the objective of facilitating cooperation and exchange in the field of vocational training, the EU has set up specialised bodies working in the field of VOCATIONAL TRAINING.
The European Centre for Vocational Training (CEDEFOP / Centre Européen pour le Développement de la Formation Professionnelle) was created in 1975 as a specialised EU agency for the promotion and development of vocational education and training in Europe. Based in Thessaloniki, Greece, it carries out research and analysis on vocational training and disseminates its expertise to various European partners, such as related research institutions, universities or training facilities.
The European Training Foundation was established in 1995 and works in close collaboration with CEDEFOP. Its mission is to support partner countries (from outside the EU) to modernise and develop their systems for vocational training.
Quality of life – on top of the EU social policy agenda
Favourable living conditions depend on a wide range of factors, such as quality healthcare services, education and training opportunities or good transport facilities, just to name a few aspects affecting citizens’ everyday life and work. The European Union has set for itself the aim to constantly improve the quality of life in all its Member States, and to take into account the new challenges of contemporary Europe, such as socially exclude people or an aging population.
Employment in Europe
Improving employment opportunities in Europe is a key priority for the European Commission. With the prospect of tackling the problem of unemployment and increasing the mobility between jobs and regions, a wide variety of initiatives at EU level are being developed and implemented to support the European Employment strategy. These include the European Employment Services network (EURES) and the EU Skills Panorama.
Health and healthcare in the European Union
Health is a cherished value, influencing people’s daily lives and therefore an important priority for all Europeans. A healthy environment is crucial for our individual and professional development, and EU citizens are ever more demanding about health and safety at work and the provision of high quality healthcare services. They require quick and easy access to medical treatment when travelling across the European Union. EU health policies are aimed at responding to these needs.
The European Commission has developed a coordinated approach to health policy, putting into practice a series of initiatives that complement the actions of national public authorities. The Union’s common actions and objectives are included in EU health programmes and strategies.
The current EU4Health Programme (2021-2027) is the EU’s ambitious response to COVID-19. The pandemic has a major impact on patients, medical and healthcare staff, and health systems in Europe. The new EU4Health programme will go beyond crisis response to address healthcare systems’ resilience.
EU4Health, established by Regulation (EU) 2021/522, will provide funding to eligible entities, health organisations and NGOs from EU countries, or non-EU countries associated to the programme.
With EU4Health, the EU will invest €5.3 billion in current prices in actions with an EU added value, complementing EU countries’ policies and pursuing one or several of EU4Health´s objectives:
- To improve and foster health in the Union
- disease prevention & health promotion
- international health initiatives & cooperation
- To tackle cross-border health threats
- prevention, preparedness & response to cross-border health threats
- complementing national stockpiling of essential crisis-relevant products
- establishing a reserve of medical, healthcare & support staff
- To improve medicinal products, medical devices and crisis-relevant products
- making medicinal products, medical devices and crisis-relevant products available and affordable
- To strengthen health systems, their resilience and resource efficiency
- strengthening health data, digital tools & services, digital transformation of healthcare
- improving access to healthcare
- developing and implementing EU health legislation and evidence-based decision making
- integrated work among national health systems
Education in the EU
Education in Europe has both deep roots and great diversity. Already in 1976, education ministers decided to set up an information network to better understand educational policies and systems in the then nine-nation European Community. This reflected the principle that the particular character of an educational system in any one Member State ought to be fully respected, while coordinated interaction between education, training and employment systems should be improved. Eurydice, the information network on education in Europe, was formally launched in 1980.
In 1986, attention turned from information exchanges to student exchanges with the launch of the Erasmus programme, now grown into the Erasmus+programme, often cited as one of the most successful initiatives of the EU.
Transport in the EU
Transport was one of the first common policies of the then European Community. Since 1958, when the Treaty of Rome entered into force, the EU’s transport policy has focused on removing border obstacles between Member States, thereby enabling people and goods to move quickly, efficiently and cheaply.
This principle is closely connected to the EU’s central goal of a dynamic economy and cohesive society. The transport sector generates 10% of EU wealth measured by gross domestic product (GDP), equivalent to about one trillion Euros a year. It also provides more than ten million jobs.
The Schengen area
The Schengen Convention, in effect since March 1995, abolished border controls within the area of the signatory States and created a single external frontier, where checks have to be carried out in accordance with a common set of rules.
Today, the Schengen Area encompasses most EU countries, except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania. However, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania are currently in the process of joining the Schengen Area and already applying the Schengen acquis to a large extent. Additionally, also the non-EU States Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have joined the Schengen Area.
The creation of a single European market in air transport has meant lower fares and a wider choice of carriers and services for passengers. The EU has also created a set of rights to ensure air passengers are treated fairly.
As an air passenger, you have certain rights when it comes to information about flights and reservations, damage to baggage, delays and cancellations, denied boarding, compensation in the case of accident or difficulties with package holidays. These rights apply to scheduled and chartered flights, both domestic and international, from an EU airport or to an EU airport from one outside the EU, when operated by an EU airline.
Over the last 25 years the Commission has been very active in proposing restructuring the European rail transport market and in order to strengthen the position of railways vis-à-vis other transport modes. The Commission's efforts have concentrated on three major areas which are all crucial for developing a strong and competitive rail transport industry:
- opening the rail transport market to competition,
- improving the interoperability and safety of national networks and
- developing rail transport infrastructure.
Greece is a presidential parliamentary republic.
The supreme head of the Hellenic Republic is the President of the Republic, who is elected by the Hellenic Parliament for a 5-year term of office. Today the President of the Republic is Ms Aikaterini Sakellaropoulou since 2020.
Legislative authority is exercised by the Hellenic Parliament. The Hellenic Parliament consists of 300 representatives who are elected by the people for 4 years by secret ballot and direct and universal suffrage. Parliament exercises parliamentary control over the government. It elects the President of the Republic and provides the government with a vote of confidence in accordance with the principle of parliamentary democracy.
Executive authority lies with the President of the Republic and the government. The current prime minister and head of the government is Mr Kyriakos Mitsotakis who carries out his tasks by virtue of the parliamentary majority. In the last elections (25 June 2023) representatives were elected from a total of eight (8) parties: New Democracy, SYRIZA, PASOK-KINAL, KKE, Spartans, Victory and Course of Freedom.
Under the present administrative division, Greece is separated into 7 decentralised administrations, 13 regions and 332 municipalities. The regions and the municipalities are self-governing legal entities, their mayors and regional governors being elected by universal suffrage by registered voters every four years.
Greece’s legal system is supervised by the Ministry of Justice. Judicial authority is independent and is exercised by regular judges who enjoy full functional and personal autonomy. The supreme courts are the Areios Pagos, the Council of State and the Court of Auditors. Article 100 of the Constitution provides for the operation of a Supreme Special Court, which has special jurisdiction to, inter alia, rule on the validity of parliamentary elections, decide the removal of a Member of Parliament from office and resolve conflicts between Greece’s three supreme courts.
Greece does not have the death penalty.
Citizens are defended in court by the lawyer of their choice. If they do not choose a lawyer themselves, a lawyer for the defence is appointed by the court. In civil cases, representation by a lawyer acting for a party is also necessary, with the exception of minor disputes which come under the jurisdiction of district courts and the prevention of imminent risk.
The Ministry of Citizen Protection supervises the Police, the Fire Service and the National Intelligence Service (EYP) and is responsible for:
- safeguarding and maintaining public order;
- protecting public and national security;
- ensuring fire safety and rural security and extinguishing forest fires;
- ensuring civil defence; and
- helping secure national defence in cooperation with the armed forces.
Also belonging to this Ministry is the Secretariat General for Crime Policy, under which come the prisons, the Immigration Policy department and the Management Service for Development Programmes.
The labour market is supervised by the Ministry of Labour & Social Security. The Public Employment Service (DYPA) is the main instrument for implementing government policy on combating unemployment and promoting employment, and it caters to citizens’ needs at local level. As a public employment organisation, DYPA has branches throughout Greece which offer services relating to active and passive labour market policies, vocational training, housing and welfare-type benefits in general.
The income of a natural or legal person from employment, a pension, an agricultural or business activity, properties, dividends, interest, royalties and appreciation of capital transfer is subject to tax in Greece. It is necessary to be issued with a tax registration number (AFM).
There is a single tax scale applicable to income earned from 01/01/2021 to 31/12/2021 from employment, a pension, business and agricultural activities. The tax rates range from 9% to 44% as follows: (a) 9% for income of up to EUR 10 000, (b) 22% for income from EUR 10 001 to EUR 20 000, (c) 28% for income from EUR 20 001 to EUR 30 000, (d) 36% for income above EUR 30 001 to EUR 40 000 and e) 44% for income above EUR 40 001. Income from agricultural activities and income from property is subject to a separate tax, while all other income is aggregated and taxed based on a single scale. The tax rates applicable to income from real estate range from 15% to 45%. In addition to the actual income, a tax may, under conditions, be levied on the imputed income, namely income that arises from application of the presumptions on maintenance costs and acquisition of assets. Natural and legal persons engaged in an agricultural or business activity are subject to a single tax rate of 24% and to advance tax payment of 100%. In accordance to the provisions of the Income Tax Code, as amended in December 2019 by Law 4646/2019, the net incomes obtained by new tradesmen and self-employed during the first three years of their activities are now taxed at an extremely low rate tax, of the order of 4.5 %, as long as their annual gross income in the previous year did not exceed EUR 10 000.
In particular, Article 29(2) of the current Income Tax Code provides for that, for the first three (3) years of business activity by a natural person, the tax rate of the first level of the tax scale is reduced by 50 % if the annual gross income from business activity does not exceed EUR 10 000.
A tax reduction ranging from EUR 33 to EUR 360, calculated according to the number of dependent children, applies to the income tax levied on wage earners, pensioners and farmers. Moreover, there is a tax reduction for the same taxpayer categories, provided that during 2019 they have paid, using electronic payment methods (credit or debit cards, or e-banking), for purchases of goods or provision of services amounts that account for a specific percentage of their annual income, namely 30%. If the taxpayer does not cover the necessary amount, a 22% tax will be levied on the remaining amount. An exception from the obligation to earn the tax reduction through electronic payments for goods and services is granted to wage earners, pensioners and farmers over 70 years of age, those with at least 80 % disability, those under judicial support on account of incapacity, EU residents who are obliged to file tax returns in Greece and are subject to the tax scale applicable to wage earners and pensioners, as well as those affected by the pandemic. Those categories of taxpayers must have made payments in cash equal to the percentage required and make the relevant receipts available to the tax office in order to benefit from the reduction in tax. Vulnerable social groups and special categories of taxpayers are fully exempted from that obligation. Note that the reduction in tax that resulted from expenses for medical visits, hospital care and medicines was repealed from 2018, and such expenses are simply added to the general expenses for reaching the tax-free income allowance. In light of the above, the tax-free income allowance (salaries and pensions) is EUR 8 633 with no dependent children, EUR 9 000 with one dependent children and EUR 10 000 with two dependent children and 11 000 with three or more dependent children .
Generally, tax reductions of EUR 200 are provided for persons with at least 67% disability and special categories of taxpayers, such as victims of terrorist actions or war, or pensioners who took part in the National Resistance or the civil war. Moreover, donations give rise to a reduction in income tax of up to 10% provided that they exceed EUR 100 during the tax year and that the total donation amount does not exceed 5% of taxable income.
Taxable persons who are not resident for tax purposes in Greece do not qualify for tax allowance, save where their residence for tax purposes is in another EU or EEA Member State and (a) at least 90% of their income is earned in Greece and (b) they prove that their taxable income is so low that they qualify for tax exemption under the tax arrangements of their country of residence.
On the contrary, under the provisions of the Income Tax Code, natural persons who transfer their tax residence to Greece and will be employed in new jobs or start a business as a self-employed person are entitled to an income tax break and exemption from the special solidarity levy, of 50% of the income they acquire in Greece for 7 years. According to the decision issued by the Independent Authority for Public Revenue, those persons must submit the relevant application by 30 September 2021.
According to that decision, all persons who move to Greece for tax purposes will have a 50% discount on income tax, as well as an exemption from the presumption of possession and use of a car.
Any interested party may apply for inclusion in this framework where:
- he/she was not tax resident in Greece in 5 of years prior to transfer of his/her tax residence to Greece;
- he/she transfers his/her tax residence from a Member State of the EU or EEA or from a state with which an administrative cooperation agreement in the field of taxation with Greece is in effect;
- he/she provides services in Greece in the context of an employment relationship at either a Greek legal person or legal entity or at a permanent establishment of a foreign undertaking in Greece. The same privileges apply by analogy to natural persons who transfer their tax residence to Greece for the purpose of carrying on individual business activity in Greece;
- he/she declares that he/she will remain in Greece for at least 2 years.
Natural persons who have already transferred their tax residence to Greece and have concluded employment contracts or have commenced business within the 2020 tax year may submit an application for inclusion in the special method of taxation from salaried work and business activity which arises in Greece, if they were not tax residents of Greece in the years 2015 to 2019 inclusive.
In addition to the taxes levied based on the annual tax returns, citizens must also pay other, direct or indirect, general or local taxes. More specifically, property owners are subject to a single property ownership rate (ENFIA). Also, a value added tax (VAT) of 24% is included in the price of most goods and services provided. However, certain goods and services, such as medicines and hotel accommodation, are subject to reduced rates of 13% and 6%. Excise duty is levied on heating oil and car owners pay a circulation tax that varies with the age and engine capacity of their vehicle. Taxpayers pay local taxes in the form of charges levied by municipalities for the cleaning of communal areas, lighting, waste collection and disposal.
The annual earnings of salaried persons in the private sector (which are made up of 12 monthly salaries, a Christmas bonus, an Easter bonus and a summer leave allowance, are also subject to other deductions on top of income tax, namely deductions relating to health insurance, old-age pension and insurance against unemployment.
As of 1 April 2023, the statutory minimum wage and the statutory minimum daily wage for full employment for all employees and workers throughout the country, without age discrimination, is set as follows:
a) For employees, the minimum salary is seven hundred and eighty euros (EUR 780.00).
b) For skilled workers, the minimum daily wage is thirty‑four euros and eighty‑four cents (EUR 34.84).
The basic salary and salary thresholds depend on parameters such as length of service or marital status and others, which are accurately documented in each employment contract, e.g. occupational, sectoral in the specialty of each employee.
Under EU regulations, people who have worked in two or more EU countries are able to add together contributions paid in each state in order to qualify for a state pension. It is advisable to contact the social security ministry and the insurance provider in the country where you live and in the country where you last worked for more information.
The cost of living in Greece is relatively low on a global level, though it is quite high relative to the income of its population. The country is ranked 209th in the world in terms of general consumer prices. With regard to restaurant prices, Greece is 192nd place, while for residential rent it ranks 271st. Finally, in terms of spending power, it is in 311th place.
On a European level, the cost of living relative to income remains rather high, since 4 out of 10 households in Greece spend 40 % of their income on basic needs, when the corresponding European average is around 10 % of income. Furthermore, while the purchasing power in the EU shows an increase of 1.9% compared with previous years, Greece remains in 22nd place in Europe. The purchasing power expressed as an average estimated amount for consumer spending per inhabitant in Greece reaches EUR 9 433.00 per year or EUR 786.00 per month.
The cost of living is higher in semi-urban and tourism areas. In non-tourism areas the cost of living is lower because of the availability of local agricultural products and lower rents. Indicatively, Greece holds the 22nd place at the European level for the basic expenses of a house and the 15th place in terms of food prices.
Here are a few examples of costs, on average:
Estimated monthly cost of living for a four-member family without rent costs EUR 2 486.70
Estimated monthly cost of living for one person without rent costs EUR 735.60
Prepaid mobile charges per minute roughly EUR 0.41
Monthly internet connection EUR 25.00 - EUR 30.00
Public transport ticket EUR 1.40
Taxi starting fare EUR 4.00 and fare per kilometre EUR 1.00, and night fare (00.00-05.00) EUR 1.25
Unleaded petrol around EUR 2.50 per litre
Pack of imported cigarettes EUR 4.60
Bottle of water (500 ml) from a kiosk EUR 0.60
Bottle of milk (1 litre) from a supermarket EUR 1.12
Bottle of wine (750 ml) from a supermarket EUR 6.00
Loaf of bread (500 g) EUR 1.00
Meal for 1 person in a restaurant EUR 10.00
Cappuccino coffee EUR 2.50
Local beer (500 ml) EUR 4.00
Drink in bar from EUR 6.00
Hot dog from EUR 0.90
Souvlaki (meat skewer) from EUR 3.00
Based on information from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for the year 2020, 64 % of Greeks live in privately-owned homes, 9 % live in homes purchased/constructed with a housing loan, 20 % pay rent for their homes, and a small percentage use other methods to secure housing (subsidised rent, housing offered by special schemes, etc.).
There is a large number of furnished and non-furnished accommodation available for rent. However, furnished accommodation is usually only sparsely equipped.
Rent prices vary depending on area, size, age and special features (floor, storage room, parking slot, proximity to public transport and other points of interest, view, etc.). For accommodation with two or three main spaces in an average area of Athens, the price will vary between EUR 500 and EUR 750. Usually a deposit of 2 months’ rent is required. Rents are arranged by private agreements (written or oral), with a compulsory electronic declaration giving the details of the rent.
There are estate agents in Greece, mainly in large cities. You will need the services of a lawyer to negotiate the purchase of property and of a civil engineer to carry out a technical inspection on the purchased accommodation. Generally, the housing market in Greece, in large cities in particular (Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Patras, etc.), offers many investment opportunities due to the low price level. Prices correspond with the criteria given for rented accommodation and are given according to square metres. Indicatively, for new accommodation of two or three main rooms in an average area of Athens, prices approach EUR 1 700 per m², while for older accommodation, depending on its special features, prices are appreciably lower. When purchasing a property, it is necessary for the contract to be made before a notary public. The process of entering property rights into a national land registry is still evolving in Greece.
Property for rental or sale is advertised in newspapers, specialist magazines and websites. The advertisements include the sign ‘FOR RENT’ [ΕΝΟΙΚΙΑΖΕΤΑΙ] or ‘FOR SALE’ [ΠΩΛΕΙΤΑΙ].
Advice: In the case of a real estate purchase, connection to the network of the following public utilities must be arranged:
(1) WATER SUPPLY AND SEWERAGE COMPANIES
There are specialist companies in the Athens area (EYDAP) and the Thessaloniki area (EYATH and HRADF) In other areas the municipal and communal authorities provide services of a generally similar nature.
(2) THE PUBLIC POWER CORPORATION (DEI)
A simple application to the competent service of D.E.I., stating the necessary particulars, suffices for connection to the electricity supply.
(3) TELEPHONY and INTERNET
A simple application to the local branch of OTE or to an alternative provider suffices for a land line connection with or without internet connection.
(4) A monthly sum for television services is paid through the electricity bill. The operating system is PAL-SECAM and NTSC. The new transmission system is digital (mpeg4 and DVB-T2). Foreign channels can be received with a satellite dish. It is also possible to set up a digital connection via private providers for an additional fee.
(5) Municipal and communal services
An amount, which varies depending on the surface area (m²) of the house or apartment, is paid through the electricity bill for all the services provided by the municipality or community of residence.
THE NATIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM
The Greek National Health System (ESY) was established in 1983. It aims to provide medical and hospital care to all living in Greece. Its main pillars are local health centres (TOMY, primary health care units for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation) and the general regional hospitals (secondary and tertiary health care facilities for in-patient care).
The National Centre for Emergency Assistance (EKAB) is an emergency unit providing direct on-site first aid and evacuation services of patients to the nearest medical facility (Tel.: 166)
Healthcare services are also provided by social insurance funds to their members. EOPPY [National Organisation for Healthcare Provision] is the body responsible for providing such services.
Social insurance contributions are paid via the social security system. Social insurance is compulsory for all citizens who receive an income from employment or self-employment in Greece. The social security system is funded from three sources: contributions from workers, employers and the State. The contributions from private-sector workers are paid both by the workers and by their employers. The self-employed and those working in free professions pay these contributions themselves. Some insurance funds receive additional state assistance and social contributions. Healthcare under the social security system (insurance funds) is provided from the higher share of the contributions paid by the employer compared to the share paid by the worker. The level of contributions depends on the social insurance body and the insured person’s profession.
All medical care at public healthcare facilities is free except for prescribed medicines, for which a personal contribution of up to 25% of the cost of the medicine can be charged, depending on the case.
The right of access to Medicare (healthcare providers, pharmacies, doctors contracted with EOPYY, etc.) is called “insurability”.
EFKA (the National Social Security Provider) is the body responsible for laying down the conditions and procedure for insurability for healthcare purposes.
3) Through the state-of-the-art platform myEFKAlive, citizens can be served remotely for specific EFKA services, by requesting an appointment on a specific day and time when there is availability, to be served by an employee of the Organisation, via teleconference/video call. The regions that have joined the myEFKAlive services are: Attica, Central Macedonia, North Aegean, South Aegean, Epirus and Corfu, Western Greece, Zakynthos, Kefallinia and Lefkada, Peloponnese and Crete, as well as regions of East Macedonia-Thrace, Central Greece and Thessaly.
A necessary condition for insuring citizens is that a social security number is issued by the Citizen Service Centres (CSC) and AMKA offices which operate at social security funds across all of Greece.
EOPPY [National Organisation for Healthcare Provision] makes available a list of affiliated doctors providing primary healthcare services. Insured persons can choose whether or not to select a doctor from this list. Visits to EOPYY’s doctors are made by appointment and are free of charge.
6) Law 4368/2016 and JMD A3(c)/GP/our ref. 25132/4-4-2016 established the right of free access to all public health structures for the provision of nursing and medical care to the uninsured and vulnerable social groups. The most fundamental change is the equalisation of the right of insured, uninsured and former holders of the Financially Disadvantaged or Uninsured Individual Booklet in terms of access to the public health system. The health coverage guaranteed by the new framework is complete and includes the costs for hospitalisation, diagnostic tests and medicines. Through the website of the Ministry of Health, uninsured citizens can be informed about all the issues and questions of their interest.
7) Law 4932/2022 established the institution of the Personal Doctor.
Citizens will contact their personal doctor when they have a health problem. They will consult him/her, get instructions, directions and a referral for the next move in the Health System. In particular, the personal doctor refers the recipient of health services to the medical specialists of the Health Centres, the public secondary and tertiary health care structures and the health service providers contracted with EOPYY. Specialist doctors also have the right of referral for the matters of their specialty. Emergency services do not require a referral.
The personal doctor provides comprehensive and continuous care to citizens in order to prevent diseases and promote health, with a wide range of services: prevention, updating the medical file, visiting for an examination, prescribing the necessary medicines, referral for tests for specialist doctors or for hospitalisation when there is a need. The services of personal doctors are provided within the public Primary Healthcare units of the Local Primary Healthcare Service Networks, the headquarters of the Local Health Groups, private clinics and at home.
Citizens may freely choose to register with a Personal Doctor in the following ways:
- through the personal doctor registration platform (https://ehealth.gov.gr/p-rv/p), where entry is made using taxisnet codes and the citizen’s social insurance registration number (AMKA)
- in person at a Primary Healthcare unit or to a personal doctor, bringing with them their AMKA and presenting an identification document (e.g. Identity Card) or a photocopy
Free emergency treatment is provided for visitors and jobseekers from the EU/EFTA/Switzerland, who should bring with them the European Health Insurance Card from their country of origin.
The final phase of reorganisation of the social security system in Greece started on 1 January 2017, when all old social security providers and, in particular, their social security sectors, were consolidated into a Single Social Security Provider (EFKA). The health insurance sectors of the social security providers had already been consolidated into EOPPY by 2012.
EOPPY operates exclusively under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and provides healthcare cover for insured persons and pensioners throughout their life.
Those with EOPPY insurance are entitled to benefits in kind, i.e. medical, pharmaceutical, hospital and dental care, additional health care and preventive medicine, and to cash benefits in the form of a maternity grant, the pregnancy and confinement allowance, sickness and accident benefits, a death grant and pensions.
All medical treatments/examinations done by EOPYY affiliated doctors in surgeries, medical centres or in the home are free of charge for insured persons and their families. Certain general and specific tests in affiliated laboratories are also free of charge, as is dental treatment. As appropriate, the insured persons may be required to pay 25 % of the value of the relevant test.
A portion of the fee for a visit to a private doctor and of the cost of medicines in an emergency is reimbursed in accordance with the rates in force.
The cost of prosthetics and major appliances, such as pacemakers, hearing aids, wheelchairs and contact lenses, is covered by EOPPY on receipt of a medical report from the attending physician.
Non-prescription medicines can be obtained from day and night pharmacies in each area.
National Social Insurance Body:
Ministry of Health
European Health Insurance Card
National Organisation for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY)
‘Education is the second sun for people’ Plato (427-347 BC)
The educational system is subject to the general supervision of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. At regional and local level, the regional directorates for education and the directorates for primary and secondary education respectively implement the national education policy and are also responsible for the supervision of school units. Under Article 16 of the Constitution, education is a fundamental duty of the State and is provided free of charge to all citizens in public educational facilities irrespective of their level of education.
The Greek education system is divided into three levels:
- Primary education
For preschool education, there are nurseries and day care centres, which are subject to the supervision of the municipalities. Children are enrolled from the age of 6 months (or from the age of 2 months under specific conditions) until they reach the age of enrolment in compulsory education. Primary education (ISCED 1) includes nursery schools and primary schools. Children attend nursery school for two years. They are enrolled at the age of 5 years (compulsory attendance) and infants at the age of 4 years (gradually compulsory attendance within 3 years based on the newLaw 4521/2018). Then they must attend primary school for 6 years, from the age of 6 to 12.
From 6 years of age, students are taught English and from 11 they choose also either French or German.
2. Secondary education
Secondary education comprises two levels of study. The first level (ISCED 2) is compulsory and lasts 3 years. It corresponds to the Gymnasio (Lower Secondary School) and covers the ages from 12 to 15, as well as the Evening Gymnasio from 14 for those who work. The second level (ISCED 3) is not compulsory and comprises the General Lykeio (Upper Secondary School), the Evening Lykeio and Vocational Education. Vocational Education is divided into Vocational Lykeio (EPAL) and Vocational Apprenticeship Schools (EPAS) of the Greek Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) for graduates who have completed at least the first class of Lykeio. EPAS follow the dual educational system. Attendance is for 3 years at all the Lykeia and for 2 years at EPAS.
The Secondary Education system also operates specialised Gymnasia and Lykeia, such as the Model-Experimental, Music, Art, Sports, Ecclesiastical, Cross-cultural and Minority schools.
Specifically, there are Pilot Schools and Experimental Schools established and operating with the aim of contributing to the optimal educational planning and the pilot implementation of the educational policy, in order to cultivate and spread the best educational methods, practices and tools across the education system.
Their operation is governed by Law 4692/2020 (Government Gazette, Series I, No 111/12-6-2020) as amended and in force.
Pilot Gymnasiums are connected to Pilot High Schools.
The Network of Pilot and Experimental schools in the 13 regions of the country has been expanded after the implementation of Law 4692/2020. From 62 Pilot and Experimental Schools operating in the school year 2019-2020, they reached 112 in 2021-22 and 120 in the school year 2022-23. More students now have access to a quality, upgraded public school, with the aim of spreading good practices throughout the country's education system.
Alongside public schools, there are also private schools with the same curriculum, but the percentage of pupils attending such schools is quite low compared to the average of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, amounting to around 7% in the 2017-2018 school year. Fees vary between EUR 1 200 for nursery schools and may reach EUR 13 000 for the higher grades.
NEETs – Not in Employment, Education or Training
The percentage of young people between the ages of 15-24 who leave school early without being in education, training or employment is high compared with the average in OECD countries (15.5% compared with 10.7% for 2018).
Prior to Higher Education is the Post-Secondary Education, which is ungraded and is divided into:
- Public and private Vocational Training Institutes (IEK) (ISCED) 4), which are formal ungraded educational establishments providing training in individual specialties in two-year cycles.
- Private colleges which provide specialised curricula and training and
- Lifelong Learning Centres (KDBM), which provide continuous vocational training and general education for adults. Lifelong learning centres are designed for adults, the employed and unemployed, and in cooperation with the Organisation for Employment of the Workforce (OAED), aim to facilitate personal development as well as entry or re-entry into the job market. Most of the programmes are funded by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the European Social Fund (ESF).
So as to ensure equal access of opportunities and information to all children in the Greek Education System, organised Integration Classes are provided as well as educational services giving parallel support to pupils with disabilities and/or special educational needs.
For the higher levels, there are Single Special Vocational Gymnasia and Lykeia as well as Special Vocational Education Workshops.
3. Higher education
Higher (Tertiary)Educationis the third level in the formal education system (ISCED 6). ISCED 5 is not provided in Greece). It is to be noted that the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens was established in 1837, and that there are many university faculties and academies in Greece that date back more than 100 years.
Admission is based on annual written examinations. Higher education includes the University Faculties, Polytechnics, School of Fine Arts, School of Pedagogical and Technological Education (ASPETE), the Military Academies, the Police and Security Forces’ Academies and Ecclesiastical Schools. The Hellenic Open University, a distance education establishment offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses, does not require any examinations, but the payment of fees.
As regards those entering tertiary education, Greece ranks 4th among OECD countries (2017) for the ages 19-22, with women accounting for 52% of those entering university. Also according to OECD data for 2018, the percentage of those between 25-34 years old graduating from Tertiary Education comes to 42.8 %, which is close to the OECD average of 44.48 %.
Post-graduate courses are also offered at the International Hellenic University.
DOATAP (Hellenic National Academic Recognition Information Centre) is the competent body for the recognition of degrees from foreign universities and technological institutes and for the provision of information relating to higher studies abroad and in Greece.
4. Postgraduate studies
Programmes are provided both online and remotely, with or without a tuition fee, as well as with full or partial tuition by the Higher Universities and Technological Institutions.
Greece has an important cultural and historical heritage, with a large number of historic sites, artefacts, festivals and exhibitions which integrate the past into the present. There are archaeological sites and interesting museums throughout Greece.
Greece is a real paradise for cultural tourism, and the ideal place for taking a long journey into history and art. Educational tours, theatrical performances, pilgrimages, visits to archaeological sites, monuments and museums, excursions to study the natural environment, folk culture and art are just some of the things Greece has to offer in the field of cultural tourism.
Greek culture is the result of the fermentation of elements and influences from the east, west, north and south over a very long period of time. The paths of the great civilisations of the Mediterranean basin intersected in Greece and left their indelible mark. However, the final result was much greater than the sum of its separate parts. The course of history and the crossing of the Hellenic spirit with influences from other cultures produced the rich mosaic of traditions, artistic achievement and outlook that make Greek civilisation unique.
The Greeks, as a people, have always been open to influences and experimentation. Eagerness to preserve elements of the past alternates with an appetite for novelty and innovation in all areas of life – that is what makes Greek culture unique, a uniqueness and a quality that are recognised throughout the modern world, with specific points of reference that are unsurpassed even today in the entire history of human civilisation.
Greece’s cultural heritage includes all those monuments which are distinguished by their originality, authenticity and historical significance, and by the quality of the message that they pass on from one era to the next. The historical, Christian and archaeological monuments of great artistic interest, and all the material and spiritual elements of traditional culture, such as customs and traditions, are all part of this heritage.
Most areas of Greece have important museums containing a wealth of archaeological exhibits. The new Acropolis Museum, opposite the sacred rock and with a view of the Parthenon, was opened in June 2009.
During your stay in Greece you will discover many different things you can do to enjoy your free time (there is something to satisfy all appetites and tastes) whether on an island or in the city. For shopping seek out traditional markets or well-known fashion houses; for those seeking luxury there are relaxation and care centres; sample traditional taverns next to the sea or mountain, or visit cinemas and theatres which offer a diverse range of remarkable performances.
Greece is primarily renowned for its particularly intense, multi-faceted night-life, which is not limited to weekends alone, and unlike the rest of Europe, entertainment continues until the morning.
Visitors can enjoy a pleasant stay and also savour unforgettable experiences. That will happen if, in addition to getting to know the country’s culture, idyllic countryside, and Greek culinary tradition, visitors experience the unique Greek way of life.
Touring the Greece of Dionysus and savouring the country’s select wines is one trend which is winning over people’s hearts. Fans of the country’s fine wines and spirits follow wine routes, allowing them to get to know more about the Greek countryside while tracking down wonderful, liquid treasures.
As they explore these charming routes, they also get to know local culture. The small villages dotted around the vineyards, traditional guest houses and venues serving authentic Greek cuisine are a world full of pleasures and emotions.
The Greeks love song, folk and popular dancing and like enjoying those things at entertainment venues.
Entertainment in Greece can meet all tastes and is in harmony with both traditional and modern ways of entertainment.
At the same time, there are many places for recreation and creative activities for children and teenagers, such as modern music stages, theatre performances for children, and amusement parks.
In the summer, there are many song and music festivals and theatre performances of classical comedies and tragedies, as well as contemporary works held in various cities and towns, particularly ancient theatres, most notably at ancient Epidavros.
There are also touring theatre companies which present performances of Greek and European works in different cities in Greece.
In the city of Athens in the 2019-2020 season, there were 95 theatres and 138 cinemas, while in the last two years due to the pandemic there was a significant downturn in the cultural life of the capital and the entire country.
Greece also has a lot of music halls, restaurants and night clubs and offers, in general, a vibrant night life. The relatively good weather enables the Greeks to get out and about and mix socially.
Throughout Greece, and especially in the large cities, there is a great variety of theatres, cinemas, local cultural centres, art and modern sculpture exhibitions, as well as music schools, which entertain while at the same time showcasing habits, modes of thought and behaviour from which will spring a new culture and Weltanschauung as way of life.
There are many ways of making the best possible use of one’s free time in Greece. Opening hours for shops vary from place to place and are set by the trade association in each city. However, usually shops are open every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 09:00 until 15:00 and every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00-14:00 and from 17:30-21:00. In tourist areas shops stay open all day. In addition to going to traditional markets and supermarkets, having an outdoor meal in a traditional taverna or a coffee on the beach or mountain spot is always a great pleasure.
Water activities: Nearly all Greek waters are suitable for diving. Ideal spots are Monastiri (Paros), Palaiokastritsa (Corfu) and all beaches on Kastelorizo. There are diving schools on Corfu, Evia, Leros, Santorini, Milos, Paros, Rhodes and in Glyfada (near Athens).
Windsurfing or water-skiing lessons are available on most beaches. The price for renting equipment ranges from EUR 15 to EUR 90.
Climbing: Greece is a mountainous country and therefore ideal for mountaineering and rock climbing. Local mountaineering associations can be found in many countries and their activities are available to all those who express an interest.
Cycling: Cycling has become very popular in recent years. This is probably due to the fact that there are over 4 000 km of coastal roads in Greece. Bicycles can be hired by the day. Moreover, a number of people like to use their bicycle as a basic means of transport. Bicycles can be transported by train and by boat. Some travel agencies specialise in offering cycling tours.
Greece is a colourful land packed with amazing countryside, culture and beauty. It has an endless network of cycle routes on mountains, islands, plains and coastlines, making cycling an exciting experience. However, it also has certified destinations, certified hotels, travel agencies and cycling companies focused on serving cyclists.
The “Bike Friendly” certification mark, a scheme run by the Ministry of Tourism, means fans of cycling will enjoy a unique level of service. A network of certified destinations and businesses marked “Bike Friendly” is available to visitors who want to learn more about Greece’s countryside, culture and architecture from the wheels of a bike!
Skiing: Greece is one of Europe’s most affordable skiing destinations. There are 16 ski resorts in Greece. The most famous are the ski resorts of Parnassos, located 195 km north-west of Athens, and Vermio, 110 km from Thessaloniki. The ski season in Greece lasts from January to April.
Rafting: For those who enjoy adventure, rafting has become very popular in recent years, and many rivers in Greece, such as Acheron, Voidomatis, Acheloos and Arachthos, are suited for such a pursuit.
Mountain climbing/trekking: Mainland Greece is crossed by the European path E4 (- GR) which, starting from the Pyrenees, arrives in Greece via Northern Macedonia at the Nikis border post in Florina. The E4 passes through the Peloponnese and ends at Gythio but then continues on Crete. This gives mountaineers the chance to get to know the diversity of the Greek landscape and the wealth of the Greek countryside in its entirety.
The highest altitude on the overall route is Skolio peak on Mt. Olympus (2,911 m). The ideal period for trekking on the E4 path in Greece is 15 May to early October. Frequently, new openings of forest roads can result in mountaineers becoming confused. Some villages along the route are uninhabited in winter, meaning that places for overnight stays are limited. The climate is Mediterranean and tends to be very dry in the summer and there is a major difference in temperature between day and night. The period one can encounter snow along the length of the route is November to June. The route along the southern section of the Path (Peloponnese and Crete) is much easier than the one in the north and can be accessed all year round because the climate there is milder.
Other activities include cruises, sky-diving, excursions, visits to museums and monasteries, etc.
Ministry of Culture and Sport:
New Acropolis Museum
Births, marriages and deaths are recorded by the local registries. The respective consulates of the other EU Member States are responsible for EU nationals.
To register a birth it is necessary to have a doctor’s or midwife's certificate. The name of the child is given on a simple personal declaration or on the baptism certificate The marriage certificate indicates the surname.
Declaration of baptism
Competent service: the local municipality
Responsibility for declaring a baptism lies with the parents who have custody of the child, the godparent, the baptised person, if he/she has reached the age of 14 – or the blood relatives to the third degree.
The Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) announced statistical data about changes in Greece’s demographic figures in 2019. The source of this data is the official Registries kept by Municipal Authorities. The data relates to natural events such as births, deaths, marriages and cohabitation agreements for the population living in the territory of Greece in 2019.
According to the above, there were 85 346 births in Greece in 2021 (43 998 boys and 41 348 girls) compared to 84 764 births (43 531 boys and 41 233 girls) in 2020, namely a 0.7 % increase. These figures do not include stillbirths, which amounted to 453 in 2021, an increase of 2.3 % compared to the 443 stillbirths in 2020.
With regard to marriage, a distinction is made between religious and civil weddings.
There were 40 759 weddings (18 487 religious and 22 272 civil weddings) in 2021, a 29.5 % increase compared with 2020 when there were 31 475 weddings (11 935 religious and 19 540 civil weddings). Registered partnerships in 2021 amounted to 11 550, increased by 28.5 % compared to 2020, when they were 8 986. Registered partnerships in 2021 included 225 partnerships between men and 89 partnerships between women.
The supporting documentation issued as evidence of a wedding is either a church certificate or a corresponding certificate from the municipality.
For the purpose of registering a death, a doctor’s or hospital certificate is required.
There were 143 919 deaths (73 418 men and 70 501 women) in 2021 recording an increase of 9.8 % compared to 2020, when they were 131 064 (66 201 men and 64 863 women). There were 297 deaths of infants aged less than one year. Therefore the infant mortality rate (deaths of infants aged less than one year per 1 000 live births) was 3.48 in 2021, compared to 3.24 in 2020.
According to data for 2022, the number of deaths in Greece in the 52 weeks of 2022 (03/01/2022 - 01/01/2023) was 140 292 (70 588 men and 69 704 women), while during the 52 weeks of 2021 (04/01/2021-02/01/2022), they amounted to 143 586 (73 243 men and 70 343 women). During the corresponding 52-week period in 2022 (03/01/2022 - 01/01/2023), deaths had risen to 140 292 (70 588 men and 69 704 women), reflecting a 10.7 % increase.
Hellenic Statistical Authority
Athens Registry Office
Registry office Thessaloniki
The Athens ‘Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport’ is one of the largest airports, not only in Greece but in the entire European Union. The second largest airport in Greece is Thessaloniki’s Makedonia Airport.
Airports serving the itineraries of Aegean Airlines and another 10 smaller Greek airlines are to be found at the following locations:
Athens, Alexandroupoli, Astypalea, Zakynthos, Heraklion, Thessaloniki, Thira, Ikaria, Ioannina, Kavala, Kalamata, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kasos, Kastelorizo, Kastoria, Corfu, Kefalonia, Kozani, Kithira, Kos, Leros, Limnos, Milos, Mykonos, Mytilini, Naxos, Paros, Preveza, Rhodes, Samos, Siteia, Skiathos, Skyros, Syros, Chania and Chios.
Flights are much more frequent in the summer months and in periods of increased movement and are also further increased by direct flights from European airlines.
The railway network
The main railway network operator in Greece is the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE). The network consists of branches between Athens and northern Greece and the Athens-Peloponnese branch. There are also lines from Thessaloniki to Edessa, Amyndaio and Florina and from Athens to Chalkida.
The suburban railway connects various parts of Athens and Piraeus with the suburbs and the airport, as well as to the west with Corinth and Kiato, while the line will soon be extended to Aigio.
Athens has an extensive metro network, with branches linking the port of Piraeus with ‘Eleftherios Venizelos’ airport. The fare on all metro, bus, tram and suburban routes is EUR 1.20, and the ticket is valid for continuing journeys for 90 minutes, while the reduced price ticket is 50 cents. The daily ticket for all public transport services costs EUR 4.10, and there is a 5-day ticket available for all public transport services at a price of EUR 8.20. A journey to and from the airport by metro costs EUR 9, while by bus it costs EUR 5.50. There is also a 3-day tourist ticket which costs EUR 20 and is available for all transport services (including one service to and from the airport). In the other large Greek cities, transportation is made by urban or inter-city buses (the fares vary from EUR 1.20-2.00).
The main motorways in Greece are: Athens – Thessaloniki – Evzonoi, Via Egnatia (Igoumenitsa – Thessaloniki – Kipoi Evros), Olympia Odos (Athens – Corinth-Patras), Ionia Odos (Patras – Ioannina – Kakkavia) and Moreas Motorway (Corinth – Tripoli – Kalamata). Toll charges vary from EUR 3.30 to 31.35, depending on the distance in kilometres and the number of toll stations.
There are bus services between towns and cities throughout the country.
Piraeus links Greece’s capital with the islands of the Aegean and Crete, while the port of Patras links Greece with Italy and the Ionian islands. Other large ports include that of Thessaloniki, Volos and Heraklion, which facilitate domestic passenger transport as well as the transportation of goods.
The islands are served by a large number of ferries and high-speed vessels and by airlines.
International Airport of Athens, Eleftherios Venizelos
Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy
Hellenic Railways Organisation
Athens Mass Transit System:
Athens Mass Transit System:
KTEL [Intercity Bus Company] Prefecture of Attiki