December 2, 2022

Non-fault-based impediment to work – Illness

Articles 657 and 658 of the Civil Code

Article 657 of the Civil Code (Presidential Decree 456/84, Government Gazette A’ 164) stipulates that: “The worker shall retain his claim to the salary, if after at least ten days of work, he is prevented from working on serious grounds, not due to his fault.

The employer shall have the right to deduct from the salary the amounts paid to the worker because of statutory insurance due to the impediment”.

Article 658 of the Civil Code stipulates that: “In accordance with the previous article, in the event of an impediment, the period during which the claim to the salary is retained, may not exceed one month, if the impediment occurred at least one year after the beginning of the labour contract, and half a month in any other case. The claim for this period shall exist even if the employer terminated the contract, because the worker was entitled to it due to the impediment.

The provisions of the above articles constitute jus cogens and therefore no individual or collective agreement may be signed, which is contrary to the time threshold during which the worker’s claim to his salary is retained.

The concept of being absent from work on serious grounds

In order for a worker to maintain his claim to salary, even though he does not provide work, the impediment to employment must be on serious grounds, namely a reason which, in accordance with good faith and fair dealing, justifies the non-performance of work.

Serious grounds for being absent from work can be any incident that refers either to the employee and his personal environment in general or to a fact that makes the provision of work by the employee impossible. The employee’s illness under the provisions of Articles 660, 661 of the Civil Code, paragraph 3 of Article 5 of Law 2112/1920 (GG A’ 67), Article 8 of the Royal Decree 16/18-7-1920 and Article 3 of Law 4558/1930 (GG A’ 124) but also as it has been accepted by the case law of the courts (826/2011, 542/2010, Athens Court of Appeal) constitutes serious grounds for being absent, without adverse consequences for the worker.

The concept of the year under Article 658 of the Civil Code/ Claim to salary

In the true sense of Article 658 of the Civil Code, “year” shall mean the working one, namely the one for the calculation of which, the contract effective date is taken as the starting point while the corresponding date of the following year and not the calendar year is taken as its expiry date. Therefore, the employee, after having completed the work time duration corresponding to the effective date of the contract, is entitled to claim a maximum one month remuneration.

The payment of the above remuneration shall be made in combination with Article 5 of the Emergency Law 178/67, according to which the employer for the first three (3) days of the impediment is obliged to pay half of the wage or the corresponding salary. From the remaining period’s remuneration, the employer is entitled to deduct the amounts that due to the impediment were paid to the employee by the Social Security Organization (IKA) (Article 657 para.2 of the Civil Code). In case that the worker is not subsidized by the insurance body, the employer is required to pay the latter for each day of absence as many wages as his working hours, during which the latter would work, if there wasn’t the impediment to work.

Relevant institutional framework:

  • Articles 657 and 658 of the Civil Code
  • Articles 660, 661 of the Civil Code
  • Article 5, para.3 of Law 2112/1920 (GG A’ 67)
  • Article 8 of the Royal Decree 16/18-7-1920
  • Article 3 of Law 4558/1930 (GG A’ 124)
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