The failure to pay the employees’ earned salary, albeit in the long run, sufficient by itself to establish the notion of the harmful change in the terms of the employment contract. This is what judges in Greece’s Supreme Court ruled this week.
Harmful change of employment contract is established when the payment delay is linked to employer’s intention to enforce the employee to resignation so that the employer avoids to pay compensation.
The Supreme Court practically confirmed court decisions in other instances.
The ruling is clearly against employees who remain in “hostage status” awaiting to be paid for several months.
The Supreme Court ruled following a combination of several labor and Civil Code legislation with the oldest to be from 1920 and the latest from 1995.
The reasoning is based on the assumption that the employer’s unilateral and unfavorable to the employee change in the terms of the employment contract does not entail any termination but it gives the employee the right to either consider that change as abusive termination of the contract by the employer and to demand payment of the legal compensation or to persist in the contract terms and demand compliance with the terms and claim belayed wages payment.
“However, the delayed payment of wages alone does not harm the terms of work contract,” the court ruling said adding that it has to be proven that the employer’s delay is “fraudulent” with the purpose to enforce the employee to leave the job.
In plain English, the Supreme Court ruling says:
employees have the right to not pay their employees.
Thousands of employers started to delay the payment of salaries in Greece’s private sector ever since the economic crisis deepened in 2011. The practice continues.
PS have we gone completely nuts in this country?