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Economy

Stereotype Busted: Eurostat Figures Show Greeks Work Most Hours in Europe

ATHENS – The stereotype that Greeks are lazy and don’t work as hard as those in other European countries was dispelled by the European Union’s statistics agency Eurostat, which revealed that they work more hours than any other country in the bloc – and yet are paid less.

In addition to being among the highest-taxed and receiving lower pay compared to before the 2010-18 economic and austerity crisis, which inflicted wage and benefit cuts on workers, pensioners, and the poor, Greeks were burdened with the perception of laziness.

However, Greece’s labor productivity is about a third lower than the average of the 38 countries of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the Greek economy ranks in the middle of global competitiveness rankings.

Despite working long hours, this hasn’t translated into increased production. Workers in Greece aged 20-64 put in an average of 39.9 hours a week, similar to other maligned countries such as Romania, Poland, and Bulgaria, where wages are also notably low.

Countries with the lowest weekly hours of work were The Netherlands (32.2 hours), followed by Austria at 33.6 hours, and the EU’s biggest economy, Germany – which had ridiculed Greeks during the crisis – where workers spend only 34 hours weekly on the job.

While Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ New Democracy government has raised the minimum wage twice and increased pensions, he acknowledged the necessity of raising salaries across the board to address inflation and high food costs.

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