Greek civil servants lose outdated holiday perks


Greek lawmakers are scrapping an anachronistic perk that gives civil servants six extra days of holiday if they use a computer.


Oli Scarff

Greek civil servants have been under fire in the last few years amid ever harsher austerity measures.

Now, in what might be the most devastating blow of all, the Greek government has announced that it is ending six extra days of holiday given to those civil servants that use computers.

The bizarre perk was granted in 1989, the Wall Street Journal said, and given to all those who work on a computer for at least five hours per day or more. It was abruptly halted last week as a part of the public-sector reforms that Athens hopes will help it meet the terms of a bailout deal with the European Commission, Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

"According to the European regulation, those using a computer should take a 15-minute break every two hours," Greek public sector union chief, Ermolaos Kasses, said.

"It is not easy to have all those breaks during the day, so it was decided back then that it should be given as a day off every two months."

The move would apparently add the manpower of another 5,000 extra employees.

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According to the BBC, Greek government officials said that the privilege "belonged to another era" and called it a "small, but symbolic move."

A bonus for all civil servants who show up to work has already been eliminated, the BBC said.

It is expected that around 15,000 Greek civil service jobs will be erased by 2014. Twenty-five thousand civil servants will also have their salaries reduced this year.

The decision to cut the jobs has sparked protests in Athens and around the country this week.

Greece's economy has shrunk by nearly one quarter since 2008 and the unemployment rate is nearing 30 percent.