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Factsheet for measure GR-2020-25/957 Updated – measures in Greece

'SYNERGASIA': Income support for employees working fewer hours

ΣΥΝΕΡΓΑΣΙΑ

Country Greece , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 15 June 2020 – 31 March 2022
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g., short-time work)
Author Penny Georgiadou (INE GSEE)
Measure added 10 July 2020 (updated 07 February 2022)

Background information

By virtue of Law 4690/2020, (Art. 31, οικ.23103/478/13.6.2020, Circular οικ. 26400/605 a special labour support mechanism, named ''SYNERGASIA'', has been established aiming to support employers to maintain the same headcount of full-time employees. Beneficiaries include full-time employees and all businesses that present at least 20% reduction of sales, in comparison to the reference month and depending upon the month of participation to the mechanism. The duration of the measure starts 15 June 2020 to 15 October 2020, and exceptionally until 31 December 2020.

Content of measure

By virtue of Law 4690/2020, (Art. 31, οικ.23103/478/13.6.2020, Circular οικ. 26400/605 a special labour support mechanism, named ''SYNERGASIA'', has been established. The mechanism stipulates the ability of enterprises to reduce the weekly working hours of all or part of the employees by up to 50%, without their employment contract being converted to part-time.

The mechanism applies only to full-time employees on the date of the law's publication.  Employees included in the mechanism are entitled to receive an additional support on top of their wage from the Greek state amounting to 60% of their net salary corresponding to the time where they do not provide any work. In case the net earnings of the employees, after the above adjustment, are less than the statutory minimum wage, the difference is covered by the state.

Τhe above mentioned employees are also entitled to receive annual leave and Christmas allowance proportion by the state, calculated upon the 60% of the employee state aid and the corresponding non working period. The social security contributions are covered in full by the employer both for the working and non working periods, unless explicitly regulated otherwise, as in art. 31 par. 5a of the Law.  Employers are not allowed to terminate the employment contracts of employees who joined the mechanism and if so, such termination shall be considered as null and void.

Employers shall also maintain the same nominal salaries of the employees for as long as the employees participate the mechanism. To be enrolled to the SYNERGASIA mechanism, the employers shall submit a statement to the online platform named ''myBusinessSupport'', stating their gross income in relation to the turnover cycle, depending on the month of participation to the SYNERGASIA mechanism. The remuneration of the employees, which corresponds to 60% of their reduced net salary corresponding to the hours they do not provide work, is paid within the first ten days of the month following the implementation of the mechanism. Beneficiaries include full-time employees and all businesses that present at least 20% reduction of sales, in comparison to the reference month and depending upon the month of participation to the mechanism. The duration of the measure starts 15 June 2020 to 15 October 2020, and exceptionally until 31 December 2020.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

30 December 2021

The "SYNERGASIA" mechanism is extended until 31 March 2022, for full-time dependent employees as of 31 October 2021. The employer can reduce the employee's working time by up to 50%, without changing the employment relationship. For the time the employee is not working, 60% of his salary is covered by the state budget. As long as the employee is part of the "SYNERGASIA" mechanism, they are not allowed to be fired.

01 July 2021

The "SYNERGASIA" mechanism is extended further for the months June - September 2021 by virtue of the 45456/01/07/2021 Amendment. As such, employers with a 20% reduction in sales, may reduce the working hours of all or part of their employees up to 50% per week, without converting the employment contracts and/or dismissing the employees participating in the mechanism. "SYNERGASIA" applies to, only, full time employees (as of 31 March 2021) who are entitled to receive on top of their wage an additional support from the Greek state amounting to 60% of their net salary. Social security contributions, at a rate of 100%, are paid by the state.

01 January 2021

The “SYNERGASIA” Mechanism (SWT scheme) with the Ministerial Decision No. 3297/110/2021 expanded until 28 February 2021 and thereafter by No 40 of Law 4778/2021 until 30 June 2021.

Use of measure

According to a study issued by the National Institute of Labour and Human Resources -NILHR – (Thematic Bulletin No. 4 - March 2021), the number of employees who entered to "SYN-ERGASIA" STW scheme from June 2020 when it was institutionalized until February 2021 does not exceed the 3.4% of the total number of wage earners (68,364 persons), with significant variations per month band variations in the length of time they have joined the scheme. The average salary replacement (part of their salary) by the “SYNERGASIA” is €247 per month. The total amount of state coverage of the part of the wages for workers who have joined the Mechanism until February 2021 was amounted at €69,798 million.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
National funds

Social partners

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:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: N/A

Involvement

No available answer.

Views and reactions

Most probably supportive from the part of employers, disagreement on the part of trade unions.

Sources

  • 26 January 2020: Amendment of No. Eco. 23103/478/13-6-2020 Joint Ministerial Decision "Determination of the framework "SYN-WORK"" (B' 2274), as applicable. (Τροποποίηση της υπ' αρ. οικ. 23103/478/13-6-2020 κοινής υπουργικής απόφασης «Καθορισμός του πλαισίου εφαρμογής του Μηχανισμού ενίσχυσης της απασχόλησης "ΣΥΝ-ΕΡΓΑΣΙΑ"» (Β' 2274), όπως ισχύει) (www.taxheaven.gr)
  • 01 June 2020: Law 4690 / 2020 (OGJ 104, 30.05.2020) (www.e-nomothesia.gr)
  • 19 February 2021: law 4778/2021 (www.taxheaven.gr)
  • 11 March 2021: NILHR – EIEAD-Thematic Issue 4-Employees under suspension (Ενας χρόνος πανδημίας Εργαζόεμνοι με αναστολή σύμβασης εργασίας= (www.eiead.gr)
  • 01 July 2021: Amendment of the Ministerial Decision on "Defining the framework for the implementation of 'SYNERGASIA' mechanism (www.taxheaven.gr)
  • 30 December 2021: Reactivation of Employment Contract Suspension (www.moneyreview.gr)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), 'SYNERGASIA': Income support for employees working fewer hours, measure GR-2020-25/957 (measures in Greece), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/GR-2020-25_957.html

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