The frequent developments in the economic sector and especially in business have created the need for the employment law to adapt by -among others- the creation of flexible form of occupation. These deviate from the ordinary salaried employment. The goal of those more flexible employment forms is to provide businesses with motives to hire more employees, while also meeting their needs and creating greater flexibility in the way businesses can distribute their human resources.
The ministerial decision no. 3716-1211/30.12.2009 defines seasonal occupation as “work provided in businesses, companies, or company branches which due to their nature, the weather or other special conditions or due to the raw materials they use, operate for a period longer than 2 months and shorter than 9 months within a year, while the rest of the year they employ up to 25% of the average number of persons they employ during the peak of their business activity”.
- Seasonal work, as a form of flexible occupation, is the occupation of a worker for a certain number of months in a year. Seasonal occupation mainly serves businesses with exclusively seasonal operation schemes, such as seaside restaurants or hotels on islands, olive mills and agricultural businesses. Moreover, this form of occupation is widely used in businesses that are open throughout the year but whose workload and therefore needs for additional employees rise significantly during some months of the year.
- In addition, a distinctive trait of seasonal occupation is the alteration between periods of service and periods of non-service, where the service offered is subject to the various fixed- term employment contracts for each period, and not just a single contract for the entire year. However, in many cases, the law provides for the seasonal workers’ right to request their reinstatement in the business where they worked in the previous period, again, with a new employment contract (see article 8 law 1347/1983 for employees in hotel businesses).
- It is worth noting that seasonal workers are not usually considered part-time workers, but only in cases where part-time provisions are in force, i.e., providing service for less hours per day.
- For a period of work to be considered seasonal occupation it must be no shorter than two and no longer than nine months per annum.
As is the case for every employee, seasonal workers are entitled to allowances, i.e., Easter allowance if they worked from 01/01 to 30/04 of that year, and/or Christmas allowance if they worked between 01/05 and 31/12. Moreover, seasonal workers are entitled to vacation pay which – since they do not take vacation days, but rather only rest days – they may seek upon their dismissal, along with the respective redundancy compensation.
Among other rights they are entitled to, seasonal workers are also more easily registered in the unemployment fund, something that aligns with the principle of equal treatment, based on which distinct cases shall be handled differently.
Indeed, seasonal workers shall be registered in the unemployment fund and receive the relevant allowance if they have completed just 100 days’ worth of pay, a number which may vary depending on the profession of the seasonal worker. In any case, the minimum number of days worked to receive the seasonal allowance range from 100 to 500.
Residence permits for seasonal employment in Greece
The legal framework in force for foreigners entering the country to work for a limited time as seasonal workers is determined by article 18 of the Immigration Act. More specifically, after the person’s entrance in Greece for seasonal employment, a certificate of entrance is issued which is valid for exactly the period the person will be occupied in Greece, and which cannot exceed the period of 6 months. This certificate issued from the consulate, and it concerns exclusively the performance of the specific work at the specific employer who issued the invitation for the foreigner’s entry into the country. After the predetermined period, the seasonal worker must leave the country and a 5-year entry prohibition from the date he originally should have left is imposed.