Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure GR-2020-12/670 – Updated – measures in Greece
|Country||Greece , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 15 March 2020 – 19 April 2021|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Income protection beyond short-time work
– Extensions of income support to workers not covered by any kind of protection scheme
|Author||Penny Georgiadou (INE GSEE)|
|Measure added||16 April 2020 (updated 12 August 2021)|
By virtue of the Legislative Act 20 March 2020 "Urgent measures to address the consequences of the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, to support the society and entrepreneurship, and to safeguard the smooth operation of the market and public administration" and as was amended by Art. 25 'Financial support measures for freelancers, self-employed and sole proprietors who are affected by COVID-19 pandemic' of the Legislative Act 30 March 2020 "Measures to combat the pandemic of coronavirus COVID-19 and other urgent provisions", freelancers, self-employed and sole proprietors are entitled to a special state benefit of €800. In addition, according to Art. 8, LA - 20.03.2020 as amended by art. 25, LA - 30.03.2020 & Δ.15/Δ'/οικ.21552/681/26.6.2020, employees and the self-employed receiving the €800 handout will be given a suspension of social security contributions pertaining to May 2020.
By virtue of the Legislative Act 20 March 2020 "Urgent measures to address the consequences of the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, to support the society and entrepreneurship, and to safeguard the smooth operation of the market and public administration" and as was amended by Art. 25 'Financial support measures for freelancers, self-employed and sole proprietors who are affected by COVID-19 pandemic' of the Legislative Act 30 March 2020 "Measures to combat the pandemic of coronavirus COVID-19 and other urgent provisions", freelancers, self-employed and sole proprietors, who are affected by COVID-19, are entitled to a special state benefit of €800 for the period 15/03 – 30/4/2020. Social security contributions on the nominal amount of the salary for the aforementioned period is covered by the State.
The special state benefit is exempted from tax, seizure and shall not be offset against any liability. In addition, according to Art. 8, LA - 20.03.2020 as amended by art. 25, LA - 30.03.2020 & Δ.15/Δ'/οικ.21552/681/26.6.2020, employees and the self-employed receiving the €800 handout will be given a suspension of social security contributions pertaining to May 2020. The payment of said contributions will be made in four monthly instalments starting in October 2020.
The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.
|19 April 2021||
On February five 2021, with the Joint Ministerial Decision No 5629-22 was approved the payment of an extraordinary one-off financial aid to lawyers, engineers, economists and geotechnicians who were financially affected by the pandemic, for the months March to November 2020 and meet specific requirements.
The amount of the aid is 400 euros for each person and is tax free. The expenditure was estimated at 40 million euros and will be covered by the OAED budget. The beneficiaries submitted an application to the ERGANI information system for the granting of the lump sum aid.
On March 31, 2021, the Ministry of Labour with a new decision, increased the number of the beneficiaries to be included in the measure, by changing the criteria and by giving a new deadline for application for inclusion in the measure until April 19, 2021
|11 March 2021||
According to OAED figures given in 11 March 2021, based on the applications submitted until 15 February 2021, the beneficiaries of the aid were 44,248 persons and the grant is expected to reach €17.7 million.
|29 December 2020||
Following the Legislative Act of 20 March 2020 and as the consequences of COVID-19 outbreak unfolded not only in Greece, but also in Europe, the Greek Government adopted new amendments, pertaining explicit details on their implementation, the progressively increased number of new sectors and categories of employees eligible, the period of enforcement. In that context, the following amendments are:
SURE funds will cover the government’s COVID-19 support measures announced to safeguard employment in Greece, which include the allowance for the self employed, free lancers and specific categories of professionals.
|17 November 2020||
By virtue of Law 4756/26 November 2020, approximately 100,000 professionals - lawyers, engineers, dentists, veterinarians, accountants, economists, notaries etc. will be entitled to a €400 subsidy to be paid by the end of January 2021. The extraordinary financial aid is granted to those that have been included between March and November 2020, in the affected Activity Code Numbers (ACD) of the Ministry of Finance, due to the measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
|29 April 2020||
After the cancelation of the special training programme for the specific “science” professionals, (see case GR-2020-15/671), on 27 April 2020, a new Joint Ministerial Decision (No 16604/3224) provided for the one-off economic support payment of €600 directly to the above mentioned “beneficiaries”, who were eligible participate in the training programme. The beneficiaries of the measure is the same group, as it was provided initially (Ministerial Announcement of 29/03/2020). Therefore, the specific bonus/payment, concerns 180.390 self-employed scientists such as: engineers, economists and accountants, lawyers and notaries, freelancers with or without contracts, doctors, trainers and researchers.
According to data of the Ministry of Development & Investments 480,810 freelancers, self-employed and individual business owners and legal entities employing 0-20 employees received the special purpose compensation of €800, for the period 17 March to 30 April 2020. The overall cost was €384 million, out of a total budget of €500 million, and it was financed by the Partnership Agreement (PA) 2014-2020 through the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) resources. According to an announcement of the Ministry of Finance 178,538 freelancers, self-employed and individual business owners and legal entities employing 0-20 employees received (July 2020) the exceptional financial support of €534 or €300, for the time period 1 May to 31 May 2020, (Joint Ministerial Decision 134/16-06-2020). The total budget is approximately €110 million borne by the state budget.
One person or microenterprises
|Does not apply to citizens|
Company / Companies
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Role||No involvement||No involvement|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
There was no involvement.
According to the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE), as one of the social partners, they did not participate, at least at an official level, in the planning of the measures. Besides, the time for the planning and implementation of the measures was minimal. However, although there was no consultation, the Confederation's proposals concerning the improvement of the procedures and the broadening of the scope of business support measures were, in general, adopted by the Government and the competent Ministries. For the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) this measure was also a result of social partners’ pressure towards this direction since it was clear, at least from ESEE’s point of view, that the lock down impact had to be somehow offset by state’s aid. Of course, the amount of cash flow was not exactly generous, but budget restrictions and other supportive measures taken by the public sector had also to be considered. ESEE, did not propose a specific amount of aid but underlined the need for a bold support by the government as well as to retain this measure for the necessary period of time.
Eurofound (2020), State income benefit to support freelancers, self-employed and sole proprietors, measure GR-2020-12/670 (measures in Greece), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/GR-2020-12_670.html
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