Greece’s labour market entered the COVID-19 shock following several years of sustained employment growth and with wages picking up. Unemployment remained high and employment rates were low, especially among women, the young and older workers. The shock led to a sharp fall in labour force activity and has stalled new hiring. The improved social protection and temporary support measures have helped to support households’ incomes and protect jobs during the COVID-19 crisis. However, high tax and social security contribution rates, together with little in-work support for the low-paid, continue abetting high structural informality. This heightens insecurity – by excluding many workers from activation policies or social and employment protection – and weakens productivity. Boosting the capacity of employment services and activation policies would support the recovery from the COVID-19 shock, in addition to durably improving employment prospects especially of long-term unemployed. Giving workplaces further flexibility to adapt collective agreements to specific circumstances would help align wage growth with productivity developments and help businesses to weather the COVID-19 shock. Building on the population’s solid education levels by equipping workers with the skills needed by the labour market can support employment and incomes. This will require a substantial boost to professional education and training at all levels and ages. This chapter applies the 2018 OECD Jobs Strategy to Greece to identify reforms that can help to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and create a virtuous cycle between productivity, job creation, and well-being.
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