The payment of a Christmas gift to millions of private sector workers is under threat after the incredible decision of the court in Patras, which struck down the current legislation without good reason.
The payment of a cash sum for Christmas (δώρο Χριστουγέννων), the amount of which is approximately equal to one salary and is issued without fail to all employees until December 21, has never been challenged in court. Until yesterday, at a meeting in Patras, it was not adopted a decision to exonerate an employer who admitted that he had not made a payment.
An employee filed a complaint against the legal representative of a chain of furniture stores, a company based in the Achaean capital. She reported to the labor inspectorate that she was not paid for her Christmas present in 2020, reports newsbreak.gr.
Two years later, although to this day the employer company has not proceeded to pay the debt to the employee, the court acquitted the accused, despite her confession through her lawyer that she does still have to pay for part of the Christmas present.
It is worth noting that the provision of article 28 part 1 of Law 3996/201 expressly states: “Each employer who violates the provisions of labor law regarding working conditions and specifically terms of work, in accordance with paragraphs 5 and 6 of article 31 of Law 3904/2010 (A’ 218), payment of accrued wages, remuneration, safety and health of employees or payment of severance pay is punishable by law with imprisonment for a term of not less than six months, or with a fine of not less than nine hundred (900) euros, or both penalties in combination” .
However, despite the fact that during the court session very unconvincing excuses were made that the company’s bank accounts were allegedly seized (despite the fact that its normal activities continue), and that the employee refused to accept money “in a black way” (in an envelope ), as a result, the prosecutor recommended that the employer be acquitted, which the court did.
As the Association of Private Employees Soyuz (Σύλλογος Ιδιωτικών Υπαλλήλων “Η Ένωση”) stated, “This particular (and, in our opinion, erroneous) appeal decision sets a bad precedent. The worker, with our help, will defend the erroneousness of the decision by applying to the Supreme Court with an application, which she will submit to the competent authorities.”
In addition, the employee complained about the unworthy behavior of the owner of the company, who in December 2020, in a telephone conversation about the payment of a Christmas gift and the wages due to her, allegedly responded with insults.
And yet …. If such a precedent * is reached, then workers will have to “say goodbye” to much-needed payments at the end of the year.
** Precedent (from Latin praecedens “preceding”) – an event or event that took place in the past and serves as an example or basis for subsequent actions in the present.