The Greek Law 4808/2021, in Part III (articles 24-55), incorporated Directive 1158/2019 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the work-life balance for parents and carers. The regulations are directly applicable to informal caregivers as of the date of publication of the law, 19.6.2021. The purpose of the Law is, on the one hand, to adapt national legislation to the provisions of the aforementioned Directive and, on the other hand, to achieve equality of treatment and opportunities between men and women in work and employment, by providing facilities and protection to parents and caregivers.
The rules apply to carers who are employed under private law in both the private and public sectors, in any employment relationship or form of employment, including part-time and fixed-term contracts, temporary employment contracts or relationships and paid mandates, irrespective of the nature of the services provided.
The Act defines a “Caregiver” as: an employee who provides personal care or support to a relative or person who resides in the same household as the employee and who is in need of significant care or support for a serious medical reason. So for the first time the concept of informal carers is recognised in law.
- Employment Rights of Caregivers provided for by Law No. 4808/21:
- A) Carer’s licence:
- Up to 5 days per year,
- At least 6 months of completed employment with the employer,
- To care for a relative or person living in the same household,
- Relative: Spouse, civil partner, children (natural and stepchildren), parents, brothers and sisters, and relatives by marriage to the same degree,
- For a serious medical reason confirmed by a medical certificate.
- B) Absence for reasons of force majeure:
- Up to 2 times a year from 1 day at a time,
- With pay,
- No minimum employment requirement at the employer,
- For urgent family matters in case of illness or accident,
- Medical certificate from a hospital or doctor
- C) Leave due to illness of a child or other dependent:
- Up to 6 working days per year,
- In one lump sum or in instalments,
- It is increased to eight (8) working days if the beneficiary is protecting two children and to fourteen (14) working days if the beneficiary is protecting more than two.
- “Dependent children or other family members” in need of care or support include: (a) Children up to sixteen (16) years of age; (b) Children over sixteen (16) years of age who have a documented need for special care because of a serious or chronic illness or disability; (c) A spouse if, for reasons of acute, serious or chronic illness or disability, he or she is unable to care for him or herself, (d) Parents and unmarried brothers and sisters who, for reasons of acute, serious or chronic illness or infirmity or age, are unable to support themselves, provided that the worker has care of them and their annual income is not more than 8.886€.
- D) Flexible Working Arrangements e.g. teleworking, flexible working hours, part-time work:
- For caring reasons
- At least 6 months of employment completed with the employer
- The employer examines the application and must reply within one month.
- It is not compulsory for the employer to accept it. If it rejects it, it must document why.
- When the agreed period expires, the worker returns to the previous form of employment.
- He/she may return earlier at his/her request if circumstances have changed.
- How are the above rights vis-a-vis the employer secured?
At the end of any leave or flexible working arrangement, the employee returns to the same terms and conditions of employment as before. Any discrimination or consequence against an employee who has exercised his or her rights or who has complained to the company or initiated legal proceedings for non-compliance with the above rights is prohibited. Violation of the above obligation shall result in criminal and administrative sanctions against the employer. It also gives rise to a claim for compensation for the employee, which covers damages as well as moral damages. The Ombudsman, the Labour Inspectorate and the Courts are designated as the bodies for the protection of workers.
- Protection against dismissal:
It is expressly prohibited and void to terminate the employment contract of an employee because he or she has requested or exercised a right provided for in Part III. In the event of dismissal of an employee, the employer shall be obliged to give the reasons for dismissal in writing. A breach of this obligation by the employer shall constitute a rebuttable presumption that the termination of the employment contract took place in violation of para. 1 of Article 48. If an employee, before a court or other competent authority, establishes facts sufficient to support the belief that he or she was dismissed because he or she requested or received leave or facilitation under this Part, it shall be incumbent on the employer to prove that the dismissal was for other reasons.