ArticlesWorking On Sundays (Or Holidays)

November 26, 2023by Stavros Koumentakis

In our previous article we explored the concept of employment on the sixth day – on Saturday, in excess of the fifth day. On the day, i.e., of mandatory rest (which, usually, coincides with the Saturday). There, we referred to the changes and problems of the recent labor law (: law 5053/2023). We will look, in this article, into work on Sunday – a mandatory holiday. Also, during the other mandatory holidays.


The Employment Regime On Sundays

The Prohibition of Employment on Sundays

We have already explored the concept of work on Sundays in a previous article. The relevant legislative regime also governs the equivalent of the other mandatory holidays. The recent law did not differentiate the basic, relevant, parameters and regulations.

As Sunday is a mandatory holiday, work on this day is, in principle, expressly prohibited. It is allowed, however, exceptionally, in the cases provided by law (as will be analyzed below).

The hours worked on Sunday are not counted towards the hours worked on the other working days of the week. They are not taken into account, therefore, for the determination of any exceeding of contractual or legal hours. Consequently, neither for finding any overwork or overtime employment. However, in the event that the legal daily hours (eight hours) are exceeded on a Sunday, the additional hours constitute overtime.

The Compensation For Employment On Sunday

Employment on Sunday (legal or illegal) is paid with a 75% surcharge on the legal hourly wage. The same surcharge is paid in cases of employment on mandatory holidays.

At the same time, in case the (legal or illegal) employment on Sunday exceeds five hours, the employee is entitled, as a rule, to a compensatory rest, lasting 24 consecutive hours, on another working day “…of the week that started on Sunday, which starts from the end of the provision of the work”. However, there is no corresponding obligation to provide mandatory rest for employment on a mandatory holiday.

On the contrary, in the event that employment on Sunday is less than or equal to five hours, the employee is entitled to request an equivalent weekly rest period. This rest is provided during the working time of another day of the following week. In the event, however, that the employee is employed less than five days a week, the grant of supplementary rest is not due in case of employment on Sunday.

Depending on the method of remuneration of the employee, their wages for their employment on Sunday are calculated as follows:

Daily wage: Those who are paid a daily wage, regardless of the 75% increase on the legal daily wage they receive, are entitled, in addition, to remuneration corresponding to the hours worked on Sunday. This remuneration is independent of the provision of compensatory rest or not.

Salary: Those who are paid a (monthly) salary are not, in principle, entitled to any other remuneration, apart from the increment. The reason is that their Sunday pay is included in the salary. A condition, of course, for the inclusion is the provision of the mandatory substitute 24-hour rest on another working day of the week following the Sunday in question.

Otherwise, the provision of work on one of the five (or six depending on the work system) working days of the following week is illegal, because it violates the public order. Therefore, the employer is obliged, in this case, to give the employee the benefit they obtained from their employment, based on the provisions of unjust enrichment. According to the case law, this benefit amounts to 1/25 of the salary paid. That is, what the employer would pay the same employee if they worked on a non-rest day, without the addition of overtime on other days and the proportion of holiday and holiday allowances.


The Exceptions

As already noted above, Sunday employment is permissible for an extremely long list of cases. The exceptions provided are related to the type and form of the business/holding or the type of work provided. It may also depend on whether the business (or parts of it) operates in shifts.

The recent law provided a series of exceptions:

(a) Training centers for pilots, crews and aircraft technicians, as well as training centers for aircraft and passenger ground handling personnel, if they serve businesses or holdings that operate twenty-four (24) hours a day and seven (7) days a week.

(b) Food industry.

(c) Bottling of natural mineral water, production of soft drinks by manufacturing their bottling products.

(d) Organization of conferences.

(e) Greenhouse cultivation with manufacture and packaging of greenhouse products.

With regard to the above exceptions, the employment of workers on Sunday becomes possible without the obligation to comply with other formalities.


The needs (in this case the business needs as well as those of the citizens) are those that determine the legislative adjustments. Legislation, as always, follows. And in this case: the arrangements concerning work on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, could reasonably be characterized, for a long time, as obsolete.

For what serious reason should we not allow employment on Sundays and holidays (primarily, of course, on Saturdays) on the basis (also) of business needs – while respecting the limits and regulations of European and national legislation? Wouldn’t it be a tool to preserve and strengthen jobs? A tool to strengthen and develop business activity and the national economy?

Further lengthening the already extremely large list of (already 78!!!) exemptions for Sunday employment does not seem serious. Much more, it is yet another example of political audacity (if not hypocrisy).

Let’s avoid occasional (and piecemeal) handling of critical issues – depending on the pressures applied. We can (co)shape tomorrow respecting development and also people.-

Stavros Koumentakis
Managing Partner


P.S. A brief version of this article has been published in MAKEDONIA Newspaper (November 26th, 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.

Stavros Koumentakis
Nikis Avenue & 1, Morgenthau st., 54622 Thessaloniki
(+30) 2310 27 80 84

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