Greek business community welcomes reduction of employer contributions for young people

The Greek business community welcomed a government decision to lower monthly employer contributions for workers aged below 25 years, saying it is a positive step that will help boost employment, but reiterated their demands for lower taxation and a total restructuring of social insurance contributions in the country.

Constantinos Michalos, president of the Central Union of Chambers and of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the decision is clearly a positive step that will contribute to combatting unemployment among young people and raising registered employment. He repeated, however, the business community’s long-term demand for the restructuring of social insurance contributions as a necessary condition for lowering the non-payroll cost of labour, which remains extremely high in the country and undermines business activity, discouraging new job position creation and squeezing workers’ available income.

Vasilis Korkidis, president of the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government made a decision that was “very right” for both employers and young workers, since it subsidises employment instead of unemployment. He added that a general and wider reduction of the non-payroll cost could help further boost employment, not only among young people, but for all age groups.

Giannis Hatzitheodosiou, president of the Professional Chamber of Athens said the government decision is undoubtedly a positive development on two levels, since it offers respite to enterprises with young workers and helps combat unemployment. He added, however, that the business environment needs measures to cover the majority of workers and these are a reduction of corporate taxes and a restructuring of social insurance contributions.

Pavlos Ravanis, president of the Athens Chamber of Craftmanship, also welcomed the government decision but stressed it was a small intervention compared what needs to be done to bring the market into balance and exit the crisis, especially for small- and medium-sized businessmen, who have shouldered a huge burden during the years of the crisis.