Overview of policies, strategies and programmes in relation to the occupational health and safety of older workers - Greece

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Initiatives from governmental/government-affiliated organisations

Occupational health and safety

The (first) National Strategy for Safety and Health at Work 2010-2013[1] was based on the EU Strategy 2007-2012 and the ILO Convention No 187. The basic aims of the Strategy are:

  • to promote a prevention and safety culture;
  • to minimise and efficiently address risks (especially new and emerging);
  • to reduce occupational accidents and diseases; and
  • to enhance workplace health promotion in SMEs.

In the context of the strategic target to support and promote research on new and emerging risks, it is noted that research outcomes on changes in the labour market should be utilised i.e., new forms of employment, older workers etc. General goals to promote prevention and workplace health promotion also contribute to making work sustainable.

Employment policies

The Operational Programme "Human Resources Development" (O.P.-H.R.D.)[2], co-financed by Greece and the European Social Fund, finances activities, inter alia, to prevent and reduce unemployment and enhance social inclusion of vulnerable groups. Within the framework of this Programme, the Ministry of Labour and the Manpower Employment Organisation have developed several programmes that focus on ageing workers, for example:

  • “A two-year programme for the promotion of employment by subsidising of the social insurance employer’s contributions for the recruitment of 25,000 unemployed”: when a company hires a person belonging to specific groups of unemployed, including long-term unemployed women and over 45 years old, the subsidy is defined as the amount corresponding to 80% of the monthly insurance contributions (employers and employees) for both years. At the end of the subsidy, companies are obliged to continue employing the person for another 12 months, without subsidy.
  • “Subsidy Programme of companies of the first and second degree regional authorities (Municipalities and Regions) for the recruitment of 5,000 unemployed aged 55 to 64 years”: Programme beneficiaries are companies of the first and second degree regional authorities (i.e. companies that are established and directed by the municipalities or the regions but are not considered as “public sector”), in order to employ short-term and long-term unemployed people aged 55-64 years.

Initiatives from social partners

As mentioned above (section 1.2) the Greek Economic and Social Committee (OKE) is based on tripartite cooperation. There are several initiatives carried out by OKE in the broader area of employment, active ageing, human resources etc.

  • In 2006, within the EQUAL programme, OKE conducted a study, together with the GSEE Labour Institute (INE GSEE). It was a ‘Quantitative investigation of ageing workers’ position in the labour market in Greece: developments and prospects’[3]. Through the analysis of the main features concerning the demographic outlook up to 2025, the study highlighted the inevitable increase in the share of older people in the working age population.
  • Also as part of the EQUAL initiative, OKE along with other organisations, adopted a proposal entitled ‘Innovative approaches for Social Dialogue Applications. The case of active ageing management’ and established the Development Partnership Centre and the “EXPERIENCE” Observatory. The aim of this project that ran during 2006-2007 was to test innovative practical measures and propose corresponding institutional measures to contribute to the integrated management of the problem of active ageing, i.e. the support and maintenance of employment of ageing workers in Greece.
  • Furthermore, OKE implements a relevant project under the Operational Programme ‘Human Resources Development’, NSRF 2007-2013. The Project is entitled ‘Development of specific innovative policies and practices in Business Administration, Strengthening the Social Dialogue and Support of Social Partners aiming at the Innovative Policy Proposals for the Issue of Active Ageing Management in Greece’. Five studies have been delivered together with a ‘Roadmap of active ageing in Greece 2012-2020’[4]. The Roadmap was developed as an easy to use navigation tool for active ageing management practices for human resource administrations of the relevant field bodies and the business world in general.

Initiatives from non-governmental organisations

The non-governmental organisation 50 SYN ELLAS (ageism) collaborates closely with international organisations such as the Age Platform Europe and the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) to promote a new international human rights legal instrument, suitably designed to provide a comprehensive and systematic framework for the protection and promotion of the rights of older people. In Greece, all citizens have the same rights enshrined in the Constitution, but the economic recession has increased the possibility of discrimination against vulnerable groups like older people, by expanding the already broad socio-economic inequality in Greek society.

References

  1. National Strategy (in Greek), available at: http://www.ypakp.gr/uploads/docs/4516.pdf (Accessed October 2014)
  2. Operational Programme "Human Resources Development" website: http://www.epanad.gov.gr/default.asp?pID=13&la=1 (Accessed October 2014)
  3. Available on OKE website (in Greek): http://www.oke.gr/empeiria/stud/1_1el.pdf (Accessed October 2014).
  4. Available on OKE website (in Greek): http://www.oke.gr/docs/stud_1_1_78.pdf (Accessed October 2014).