Greeks worked 179 days of the year to pay for their taxes and levies to the state this year according to a survey by the Centre for Liberal Studies in Greece (KEFIM), that was unveiled on 29 June (Day of Tax Freedom) when the tax requirements would have been met for the year.

The organisation said in a statement that if the general government deficit for 2021 was taken into account (with this figure representing future taxes), Greeks would have to work an extra 42 days (221 days of the 365) to 10 August before they would have met their full tax and insurance requirements for the year.

“The total burden of citizens and businesses from taxes and insurance contributions in 2021 amounts to €71.9 billion and is almost double the amount paid by households to meet their basic needs (€44.4 billion in 2019 for food, clothing , housing, household goods, transport and communications, according to a recent ELSTAT (Hellenic Statistical Authority) survey,” said KEFIM in its statement.

“In the 20 years from 1999 to 2018, 47 more working days were added for the state. Specifically, in 1999, we worked 139 days, in 2012 174 days, while in 2018, we reached 186 working days to pay taxes and contributions.

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KEFIM added that Greece had the seventh highest charges from taxes and insurance contributions for 2019 (12 days above average among the 26 European countries sampled). It ranked 24th in terms of lower degree of effectiveness of social policy and had the eighth highest burden of taxes and insurance contributions (14 days above average).

Meanwhile, the Greek cabinet is to meet next week to discuss the minimum wage. According to the Athens Macedonia News Agency (AMNA), the Labour Ministry will introduce the topic and will consider input and opinion from social partners and scientific agencies. It will consider the fiscal flexibility and living wage needs of the workers on minimum wage particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Greek minimum wage in the private sector is €650 a month with a nominal salary of €758 if Christmas and Easter bonuses were taken into account.

The Bank of Greece along with most business and industrial associations in the country support a freeze on the minimum wage. The private sector labour federation is looking for an increase to €751 with a further increase to €809 in the middle of next year.