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An important modification on “Syn-Ergasia” mechanism

Monday, June 15, 2020

I. An important modification on “Syn-Ergasia” mechanism

The Ministry of Labor proposed a modification on “Syn-Ergasia” mechanism, which has been approved by the Greek Parliament and it will immediately get published in the Government Gazette.

According to the provisions before the modification in question, the employer participating in this mechanism should cover all the insurance contributions of the employee whose employment time was reduced, calculated on the basis of their full nominal salary, during the period of use of this scheme. The modification put in place that the state will cover 60% of the amount of the insurance contributions of the reduced employee, from 15.06.2020 until 31.07.2020.

This change was decided by the Minister of Labor with the aim to provide a motive to the employers in order for the latter to submit their businesses under this employment regime/scheme.

II. Supporting measures for businesses and employees of specific categories by virtue of Joint Ministerial Decision Β’/2268/13-6-2020

A. Supporting measures for seasonal businesses & employees in the sector of touristic and hotel accommodation and tourist buses

Employers of the business area of tourist and hotel accommodations, as well as tourist buses, who re-hire on the basis of a dependent employment contract employees who were also employed by them in the year 2019, may place a part or even the whole of their workforce under suspension from 1.6.2020 until 30.9.2020.

It is noted that employers of touristic and hotel accommodations shall re-hire for the current seasonal period a number of employees equal to the average of the total number of employees of the past two years, preferably by prioritizing the hiring of the employees who worked in their business the last year, whereas employees of tourist bus business shall re-hire for the current seasonal period the same employees with last year.

Employers may not terminate any contracts while using the suspension option, otherwise terminations are void and null.

Suspended employees are entitled to receive a €534 state aid, unless they hold another employment contract with different employer. The same applies to seasonal employees with the right to get re-hired by the businesses in question, yet the latter will not operate at all during this year’s seasonal period.

  • For suspended employees of seasonal businesses operating this year, payment process regarding the state aid includes: a. submission to ERGANI of a solemn declaration by the employer, declaring the suspended employees’ data and the data of their business leased property along with the data of their lessor, whereas notification by the employer to the employee regarding the said submission and its protocol number is required, and b. submission in the electronic platform supportemployees.services.gov.gr of a solemn declaration by the employee, stating their personal data, the protocol number referring to the employer’s application, IBAN number and data regarding their leasehold and their lessor.
  • For employees entitled to get re-hired in seasonal businesses, yet the later will not operate this year, payment process involves submission in the electronic platform supportemployees.services.gov.gr of a solemn declaration by the employee only, stating their personal data, IBAN number, leasing details and information related to the employer – business which does not operate this year.

The submission periods for the above petitions (both under i & ii), are provided in the respective Tables 1 and 2 of the Joint Ministerial Decision in question.

Employers in question shall permanently recall suspension of employment contracts according to the percentage of completeness their business periodically notes, as follows: for 20% completeness, they shall recall suspension of at least 1/3 of their employees, for 50% at least 2/3, and for 80% the total workforce shall be permanently recalled from suspension. At the same time, employers may use the “Syn-Ergasia” scheme, as described above, to employees whose suspension has been permanently recall. It is not possible for permanently recalled employment contracts to be re-put under suspension. Employers shall declare permanent recalls of employment contracts in an ERGANI special form.

B. Supporting measures for seasonal employees not entitled to get re-hired for the seasonal period 2020

Seasonal employees of the tourist and catering industry, who worked whole or part-time during the seasonal period 2019 and are not entitled to get re-hired for 2020, yet they are entitled to receive an unemployment subsidy, shall receive, for the months June- to- August, a state aid equal to the last unemployment subsidy they received.

This state aid is free from all and any tax, contribution and deduction, as well as net and protected from seizure or sett-off against any debts. The payment process takes place before the Institution for Labor and Employment (OAED) and it is analyzed in article 2 of Section B of the Ministerial Decision.

C. Option to extend suspension of employment contracts to certain businesses and state aid to their employees

i. Private-sector employers of the food & drinks industry, with Activity Code Number (ΚΑΔ) belonging to businesses adversely affected by the crisis, as the latter are determined in the Ministerial Decision’s Annex, may extend suspension of already suspended employment contract or place for the first time under suspension a part or the whole of their workforce, including fixed-term employees, for thirty (30) days, but only between 01.06.2020 and 31.06.2020. The above measures may be applied during June, periodically and for the 100% of the employer’ total workforce.

While using the above options of suspension, that is until 31.06.2020, employers are restricted from terminating any employment contracts, otherwise said terminations are null and void. Additionaly, for thirty (30) days after the end of the suspension period, employers shall maintain the same number of employees and the same type of employment contracts.

ii. Employment contracts of employees of private – sector employers whose suspension of operation was extended by state order during June, are further extended as well, for an equal period of time. For the period of suspension by state order, employers may not terminate any employment contract, otherwise terminations are null and void. Fixed - term employment contracts are explicitly extended for an equal to suspension by state order period of time.

iii. Private-sector employers of tourism, transportation, culture and sports, who have been adversely affected by the crisis, according to their Activity Code Number (ΚΑΔ), as defined in the Ministerial Decision’s Annex, may extend suspension or place for the first time under suspension a part or the whole of their workforce, including fixed-term employees, for thirty (30) days and only until 31.07.2020. The above measures may be applied during June, periodically and for the 100% of the employer’ total workforce.

While using the above options of suspension, that is until 31.07.2020, employers are restricted from terminating any employment contract, otherwise said terminations are null and void. Additionaly, for thirty (30) days after the end of the suspension period, employers shall maintain the same number of employees and the same type of employment contracts.

Businesses either severely affected by the crisis and therefore using the option to suspend employment contracts or businesses re-operating by state order after having been suspended also by state order, may permanently recall employment contracts in order to “get back to work”. Permanently recalled employees shall not get re-put under a suspension regime.

In any case, said businesses may temporarily recall employees in order to address emergency business issues, submit employees under teleworking regime and make use of the “Syn-ergasia” mechanism, only regarding employees currently not suspended and according to the special provisions regulating this scheme.

Employees of businesses of all the categories (i – iii) mentioned under C), are entitled to receive a state aid calculated on the basis of €534 corresponding to thirty (30) days, depending on the actual days of their suspension. The state aid is net and protected from seizure or sett-off against any debts. As to the payment process, the following applies:

a. For employees suspended for the first time, employers and employees shall submit a solemn declaration, following the standard procedure as already described above under A)

b. For employees whose employment contract is further suspended, submission of a solemn declaration is not required by their side, only in case they need to modify the solemn declaration they had initially submitted, the first time they were placed under suspension.

In both above cases, employers shall notify their employees regarding the solemn declaration they submitted, along with the protocol number referring to the petition. The submission period for the above petitions (both under a & b), are provided in the respective Table 3 of the Joint Ministerial Decision in question.