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Politics

Mitsotakis Says Labor Reform Bill Will Protect Greek Workers

ATHENS – Addressing detractors in Parliament, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said his New Democracy government's labor bill will “set some rules in the (labor) jungle and “builds a modern working environment” in Greece.

He told lawmakers that the current labor labor didn't provide for changes brought by rapid technological developments such as remote working or the role of both parents in raising their children, perhaps the most contentious provision.

The new bill introduces for the first time a 14-day paid paternity leave, Mitsotakis said, pointing out that it is longer than the 10 days foreseen in European legislation, while the new father will be protected from dismissal for six months, reported Kathimerini.

He said another key aim is to prevent strikes, which has drawn furious fire from rivals and critics who said that takes away a key right for the aggrieved but he said many of those actions have often been ruled unlawful by courts.

“That is why the new law comes to change the situation that existed since 1982,” he said, calling his opponents as supporters of “conservatism and stagnation.”

Those who challenge the bill, the prime minister added, showed themselves to be supporters of conservativeness and stagnation, as the new bill "builds a modern work environment in our country."

"Ten bold changes are included in this bill," Mitsotakis stressed and added: "Changes that will finally help the Greek economy and society to meet the fast pace of the rest of Europe, as well as of our times."

"The first change is the digital employment card… which will simultaneously combat both undeclared work and contribution evasion. This is a standing demand of the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) and was, in fact, implemented on a pilot basis by the PASOK party but will now be implemented universally," he pointed out.

"The new bill introduces, for the first time, a 14-day paid paternity leave," the prime minister added, referring to the provisions of the bill for families. "Even longer than the 10 days given under European legislation," he said, adding: "The new father will be protected from dismissal for six months. It is also forbidden to dismiss a pregnant or new mother."

The most disputed part of the bill allows employees to work up to 10 hours on one day and less time on another, his speech coming as unions went on strike for 24 hours complaining that they fear employers will force them to work longer hours.

The bill would also give workers the right to disconnect outside office hours and introduce a “digital work card” from next year to monitor employees working hours in real time, as well as increase legal overtime to 150 hours a year, the report also said.

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