We examined, in our previous article, the essential terms of the employment contract that the employer must communicate to their employees. Also their content. We will be looking into, in the present article, the manner and time of said disclosure as well as the multiple, relevant, concerns.
Method of Update
Employers are obliged to provide employees with all the information as defined in the law (: art. 70 Presidential Decree no. 80/2022) and in the above-mentioned article (as well as additional information – of articles 72 and 73 – in in the case of work provided abroad.
The written information of the employees takes place (§1 of article 71 Presidential Decree no. 80/2022 – as amended by art. 5 of law 5053/2023, which incorporated articles 3 and 5 of Directive 2019/1152/EU): (a) by delivery of a tangible form or (b) in electronic form. In the latter case (provided for the first time by Law 5053/2023), it is assumed that the employee can access the relevant information, store and print it. Also, the preservation, by the employer, of the receipt of their dispatch or receipt.
As, further, it is explicitly defined (§4), the employer informs the employee of the provisions of the labor legislation, which are applicable and determine the minimum terms of pay and work. Said notification takes place free of charge, in a clear, transparent, detailed and easily accessible way from a distance, through printed or electronic form, including through existing online portals (at its simplest: online).
Law 5053/2023 also brought about changes in terms of the time within which the employer is obliged to provide the above information. In particular, a shorter period of information for the employee from the employer is foreseen, in relation to the existing regime. However, at the same time, differentiation is introduced in the update deadlines depending on the type of essential terms. The purpose of the new regulation is to inform the employee of the “basic” information as soon as possible (see in this regard, Memorandum of law 5053/2023 on art. 5).
In particular, under the previous regime, the employee was informed within two (2) months, at the latest, from the start of work. It was also foreseen that for those already employed, the relevant information would take place, similarly, within two (2) months from the entry into force of the relevant Section of the Presidential Decree to which the corresponding regulation was subject.
Based on the new regulation, there is no obligation to inform existing employees. As far as new employees are concerned, however, the (new) deadlines become shorter but also more complicated. In more detail:
(a) Within one week from the start of the employment contract, the employer must ensure that their employee is informed, in printed or electronic form, regarding:
The details of the identities of the contracting parties,
The place of work, the company headquarters or the employer’s residence.
The position or specialty of the employee, their rank, the category or – as it is now further defined – the branch of their employment as well as the subject of their work.
The date of commencement of the contract or employment relationship,
The expiry date or the expected duration of the employment contract – if it is for a certain period of time.
The duration and conditions of the trial period – if such has been agreed.
All types of remuneration to which the employee is entitled, as well as the periodicity and manner of their payment.
The duration of the employee’s normal daily or weekly working hours, the arrangements for overtime or additional work and their remuneration as well as the arrangements for shift changes – in the event that the work schedule is entirely (or mostly) unpredictable.
(b) Within one month from the start of the employment contract, the employer must ensure that his employee is informed, in printed or electronic form, regarding:
The details of the indirect employer, if it is a job provided through a temporary employment agency.
Any training provided by the employer.
The duration of the paid leave to which the employee is entitled as well as the manner and time of its granting.
The procedure followed by the employer and the employee in case of termination of the contract or the employment relationship; in particular regarding the obligation to give written notice. Also, about the notice periods and the amount of the compensation. Finally, for the (if necessary) existence of a great reason.
The collective agreement that defines the minimum wage and working conditions of the employee as well as the collective bodies that co-sign it.
The social security bodies in which the employee is insured as well as any other benefit from the employer related to social security.
The Basic Terms of Employment
Their disclosure and management
So far we have analyzed the essential terms of employment and the obligations arising from the law. The law, however, also makes a special (rather surprising) reference to the basic terms of employment (: art. 21 of Presidential Decree no. 5053/2023-“Posting of basic terms of employment and individual employment contract in the “ERGANI II” Information System – Electronic signature – Model of Basic Terms of Employment and Individual Employment Contract”).
The provision in question provides that every employer, who hires an employee with a dependent labor relationship under private law, is obliged to post electronically on the ERGANI II the so-called “basic conditions” of the employee’s work. Most importantly: before they start providing their work.
It should be noted here that the written individual employment contract, if such exists, is required (in particular: §1, para. a) to be posted within the deadlines set by the relevant legislation (: article 71 of Presidential Decree no. 80/2023 – safer: within a week of the start of the work).
For the validity of the aforementioned basic terms of employment as well as for the posting of the individual employment contract, their co-signature by the employee is required. The signature can be provided either physically or digitally. Specifically, by hand or with an approved electronic signature or with a digital certificate (via gov.gr-Single Digital Portal) or with acceptance by the employee through the ” MyErgani ” information system (§1, para. b).
Any change in the basic terms of employment must be posted, similarly, electronically on ERGANI II (§2).
The purpose of the above procedure is to notify the employee and their consent to the basic conditions of their work through a simplified and easy-to-use procedure (see, in this regard, Memorandum to law 5053/2023 on art. 5).
But what are the “key terms”?
From what is mentioned above, it follows that the recent labor law not only makes extensive reference to the “basic conditions” of the employment contract but also demands the fulfillment of specific obligations regarding their management.
But what are the “basic terms” of the employment contract? And in what, do they differ from the essential terms, with which it extensively deals?
The relevant concern becomes more intense when the law reserves a special treatment for them. The moment it claims, especially for them, their co-signature / posting / delivery before the start of the new hire’s work. While, on the other hand, the corresponding deadlines for the essential terms are, as the case may be, one (1) week or one (1) month from the start of work.
Unfortunately, the existing legislation does not provide us with any answer. And this despite the fact that (according to art. 21 §3), in the ERGANI II a “Basic Terms of Employment” template as well as an “Individual Employment Contract” template are shown. Although the present tense is used, these templates are not yet available.
Accessing them will, perhaps, make us wiser in regard to this, important enough, concept of key terms.
And the (ever present) bureaucracy…
We have already established that informing employees regarding their employment contract will take place, according to the law, in three stages: (a) for its basic terms before the start of work, (b) for some of the essential terms within one week of commencement of work and (c) for other material terms within one month of commencement of work. And if, of course, one recruitment per year is carried out by the employer, all of this could simply be characterized as unnecessary bureaucracy. But if we are talking about more recruitments, it would probably be difficult for someone to be in the position of being liable for the fulfillment of the relevant obligations of the company. And if we think about the cases where the recruitments amount to dozens, then one could easily talk about insanity and about lost hours/days/weeks. Also: for significant business costs that could easily be avoided.
No one would be able to overlook the value of informing employees (and of course the competent authorities) regarding their essential working conditions. But the matter is complicated by the volume, manner and time of the information that should be communicated to them. Especially since some of the information in question is currently unknown (:basic terms). The specific conditions acquire, in fact, a special importance and value as they will be invoked, among other things, in cases of unilateral harmful change of the working conditions. However, this particularly important case will be discussed in our next article.-
P.S. A brief version of this article has been published in MAKEDONIA Newspaper (October 29th, 2023).
Disclaimer: the information provided in this article is not (and is not intended to) constitute legal advice. Legal advice can only be offered by a competent attorney and after the latter takes into consideration all the relevant to your case data that you will provide them with. See here for more details.