Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Unemployment benefits in Greece

OAEDPhoto from Proto Thema

A salaried worker insured with IKA or another eligible insurance fund is entitled to collect unemployment payments from OAED (Organismos Apascholiseos Ergatikou Dynamikou) for a maximum of one (1) year if fired, laid off or otherwise terminated from a job after two consecutive years employment.

Working illegally or as an independent or self-employed consultant/contractor/freelancer with OAEE (TEBE) does not qualify a worker for unemployment benefits, although the labor minister discussed the possibility of extending them to freelancers in April 2012.

Monthly payments commence after a 30- to 60-day waiting period and are determined on the total length of employment and social insurance contributions (ensima). A half payment is given at Easter and summer and a full payment at Christmas, much like a normal salary.

The monthly rate was reduced 22 percent to 359.97 euros on March 12, 2012.

* Article last updated December 26, 2013. There are three revisions pending for this article, with new info for 2014.

Who can collect unemployment payments?

  • Greek citizens
  • EU citizens
  • Non-EU citizens with a valid residence/work permit sticker or card: If your permit sticker/card expires and is not renewed during the year you are eligible to collect, unemployment payments will be cut off. No exceptions.

Eligibility Rules

First filing:
— Employed for the past two (2) years
— Worked at least 80 days per year, but a total of 200 days for the past two (2) years
— Must have worked a total of 125 days in the past 14 months, not including the last 60 days prior to dismissal

Second and subsequent filing(s):
— Must have worked a total of 125 days in the past 14 months, not including the last 60 days prior to dismissal
* Seasonal workers, such as those in tourism, must have 100 days in the last 12 months; other professions need 120 days in the last 14 months.


Age plays a factor, when determining benefits and counting ensima. For example:
— Up to age 49: To collect for a full year, you must have 250 ensima in the last 14 months.
— Aged 49 and over: To collect for a full year, you must have 210 ensima in the last 14 months.

When should I file?

An unemployment claim must be filed at OAED within 60 days of date of dismissal. My recommendation is to start as soon as possible since some employers provide the wrong or insufficient papers, and the former employee is responsible for gathering them. No mercy will be shown if time runs out.

Seasonal employees need to submit papers from October 1 to November 30. Failure to file during the specified period may result in loss of benefits for the year.

Where do I file?

You can file for unemployment at:

a) Any OAED office.

b) Any KEP Citizen Service Centre.

How much do I receive?

The basic unemployment benefit rate is 359.97 euros/month as of March 12, 2012, with 10 percent added for each eligible dependent. It lasts between five to 12 months, depending on length of employment.

Austerity measures from February 2012 reduced private sector salaries by 22 percent but excluded OAED. Eurogroup negotiations on March 1 determined more cuts were necessary to qualify for the next bailout tranche, and a 22 percent reduction would indeed apply to jobless benefits of 461.50 euros/month, set by a collective agreement on July 1, 2011.

In 2010, it was 454.25 euros/month.

The rate is 61 percent of the legal minimum monthly wage, as stated in “Salaries in Greece.”

How do I get paid?

Persons getting unemployment benefits are expected to have or open a bank account at the National Bank of Greece (Ethnikis Trapeza tis Ellados) to receive direct-deposited payments each month. The benefit is paid as long as the claimant continues to appear in person at scheduled intervals and meet eligibility.

If the claimant does not appear at scheduled intervals, OAED can discontinue benefits.

In the past, everyone was issued unemployment checks that needed be stamped each month by several OAED staff — after the specified date each month and before the expiration date — then cashed at a designated National Bank of Greece branch nearby.

Do you need to file a claim?

If you need to know the specific details on how to file an unemployment claim to collect benefit payments, click “How to claim unemployment benefits in Greece.”


Consult OAED to enroll or find out more information on work and integration programs at: However, take note that most employers do not participate in these programs because of burdensome bureaucracy and the state’s tendency to delay payments, which is why most companies lay off employees. There are also cases where the employer fires employees after getting the money.

Discounts for the Unemployed

Companies and businesses announced discounts for the unemployed, including PepsiCo (Ivi, Tasty Foods), AB Vassilopoulos, Wind Telephony, Everest, La Pasteria, Olympus Plaza Food Parks, Kotsovolos, Goody’s, Nikas (at Sklavenitis only), Flocafe and Papadopoulos. NEL Lines also offers a 50 percent discount on ferry tickets as of February 1, 2012.

Note that beneficiaries must have an OAED card and some restrictions apply.

Insurance for the Unemployed

Persons unemployed up to three (3) years may extended health insurance coverage by producing 50 ensima (stamps) — instead of 80 — in the past 50 days or anytime in 2011. This measure has been in effect since 2011 and has been extended to March 1, 2013.

Shipyard workers can retain insurance until 2013 with no stamps, and women on maternity leave can continue to retain benefits under existing legislation. — To Vima (in Greek)

In the Future

Greece may implement changes to the unemployment system by 2012 that will take into account a household’s total assets and income before claims are approved, thus disqualifying anyone with property, annual earnings of 6,000 euros or financial support from other sources (spouse, family, etc.). However, the minister now in charge since the recent cabinet reshuffle appears to have backed away from this change.

The system in place now allows anyone meeting eligibility to collect unemployment payments in Greece, regardless of how rich they are.


All media sources linked above
Ανάχωµα στην ανεργία” — Ta Nea
Στους εργοδότες μέρος των επιδομάτων ανεργίας” — Eleftherotypia
«Φτωχές» οι εκπτώσεις για τους ανέργους του ΟΑΕΔ” — Eleftherotypia
“Χωρίς περιουσιακά και εισοδηματικά κριτήρια το επίδομα ανεργίας” (article removed) — Ta Nea
Wealthy found collecting Greek unemployment benefits” — Kathimerini
Eκπτωση 50% σε άνεργους στα πλοία της NEL Lines” — To Vima
Από τη Δευτέρα ισχύουν οι μειώσεις στο επίδομα ανεργίας” — To Vima
“OAED: Seasonal benefit to start October 1” — Naftemporiki
Only 1 in 10 jobless receive OAED unemployment benefits” — To Vima

Related posts

OAED offices in Greece
Other types of benefits offered by OAED
How to qualify for additional unemployment benefits from OAED

Updates pending


  hameed wrote @ September 7th, 2010 at 18:07

hi, kat thank you for your answar,
But now problem is every thing is ok, but they are saying that my dilosi from 2010 I have done this from a lawyer, and he make it 3000 more. don’t know how. he ask me that if I like to increase it. I said if he can, there is no problem then you can, and increase the dilosi and I got back from the eforia too. It’s all well, but in OAED they are saying that there are showing two jobs, one regular and other overtime and where you was working over in overtime, and something i don’t know, what i do now, the lawyer is not in connected with me now. how he done this, is there any way to fix the problem?

Kat Reply:

The problem is a result of you and your lawyer’s decisions and actions. Therefore, the only people who can fix it are you and the lawyer.

It’s a bit rude to ask me for free advice, not follow it, then come back and ask for more free advice to resolve a problem with a person you did pay. Good luck.

  hameed wrote @ September 8th, 2010 at 12:05

well you are right kat, but that lawyer, he is gone he leave his office not picking up the phone and i don’t know other one trying to search some one who can help me in this, can you advice me some lawyer, or logusti. i am in athens egalio, if you know some one for this, will be so thankful to you, 🙂

Note from Kat: The advice I originally gave you was to help yourself for free. You did not need a lawyer, who has now cost you money and added trouble. I do not know any lawyers in Aigaleo; in 13 years, I only use a lawyer to handle my court cases and plagiarism disputes in Greece.

  Elodie wrote @ September 27th, 2010 at 15:03

Hey! Thanks for this information.

I’d just like to know what means first “filing” and second “filing”.

I am a Belgian citizen and i have worked in 2007 and 2008 in Greece during 7 months each time. This year I’ve spent 135 days working in Greece again. In between I was working in Belgium.

I’d like to claim for the unemployment salary but I’m not sure it will be accepted. I’ve always worked in tourism as seasonal worker.

Tomorrow, I’ll go to OAED and try to get any information from them, although I know it’s very difficult to find someone competent there.

Kat Reply:

‘First filing’ means the first time you file for unemployment. ‘Second and subsequent filings’ means the second time you file for unemployment, and each time after that.

If OAED is (or ever gets to the point of) cross-checking employment records with other EU nations, collecting unemployment from one member state while working in another would logically be grounds to be disqualified.

  durdina wrote @ October 12th, 2010 at 22:12

is anyone know what would happened this year with unemployment benefits?
I am working in tourism like season worker and i am worried so much! it would be so helpful to me! i am listening all the time different stories and i get very depressd! thank you very much!

Kat Reply:

I’m not sure what you mean by “what would happened this year.” OAED started accepting claims from seasonal workers in September, just as they do every year.

Read the article above and find the heading, “Where do I file?”, choose a location and file a claim. You receive unemployment benefits, as long as you are eligible and entitled. All best.

  brian wrote @ November 17th, 2010 at 18:13

Can i still claim unemployment benefit, if i am not here for the 1st signing on date, as i might after go back to the Uk, for a few weeks. Thank you very much

Kat Reply:

The most important thing is to file your unemployment claim in Greece by the deadline. Once your claim is approved, there is a waiting period before payments begin and an absence of a few weeks does not make a difference since there is a grace period that allows you to still collect it.

If you don’t file your claim by the deadline, it may not be approved and no payments will follow.

  maxzi wrote @ November 30th, 2010 at 10:20

Hi great site, my friend and her husband submitted their papers and got dates of 13th and 16th. the problem is they booked to go to their homeland months ago on hearing a member of family is not well in order to have xmas altogether, so they leave on the 11th for 3 and a half weeks. will they lose their money or should they go and explain, thank you

Kat Reply:

If they already filed their claim and it was approved, they should not be in danger of losing money. I haven’t collected unemployment in Greece in a long time, but back then there was a grace period during which you could collect payments up to 60 days. They didn’t expect you to show up on the exact day though most people did because they needed money.

If your friends would like to confirm, they should go to KEP or OAED and ask.

  Robert wrote @ May 3rd, 2011 at 13:58

I have worked in Crete for the last 5 summers, all stamps paid and OAED collected as normal each winter. Just as the season was getting under way this year (2011) I was told that there was no work for me. I’m 59 and have not been able to find any other work. An enquiry at KEP resulted in being told that I may be able to claim some benefit but OAED basically told me that KEP doesn’t know what they are talking about and I cannot claim.

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Kat Reply:

From what I know about unemployment benefits, and going only by what you told me, there are two possible benefits:
a) Long-term unemployment benefit for those aged 45-65: However, you must have been unemployed for more than a year. I’m not sure about the ensima requirement.
b) Long-term, low-income unemployment benefit: Anyone unemployed for 12 full months since the termination date with a total household income less than ___ . Last I checked it was somewhere around 9000 euros; I do not know what it is now.

You do not qualify for either of these because you have not yet been unemployed for 12 full months.

KEP Citizen Centres are not necessarily reliable sources of information, as staff are forced to be generalists because of the diversity of bureaucracy they handle and it’s overwhelming to keep up with changing laws and updates. Staff at OAED are specialists…or at least, more likely to be. Therefore, I’m more inclined to consult with OAED. If you want a second opinion, try a different office.

All best.

  Slabu wrote @ July 6th, 2011 at 11:31

Buna ziua.Din 1 iunie 2010 figurez ca angajat si seful plateste la ika.Am 25 zile pe luna platite la ika.Pe data de 4 iulie 2011 seful m-a concediat.Am drept de somaj chiar daca nu am lucrat 2 ani?Somajul va fi pe 6 luni sau 12 luni?Multumesc frumos.

Translation: Hello. From June 1, 2010 I was included as an employee and the boss pays IKA. We have 25 days per month paid to IKA. On July 4, 2011 the boss fired me. Do I have the right to unemployment even though I didn’t work two years? Unemployment will be 6 months or 12 months? Thank you very much.

Kat Reply:

If you only worked a total of one year in Greece, you do not qualify for unemployment benefits. You must meet all eligibility rules to collect payments. You cannot fulfill half the requirements and collect half the payments. It’s all or nothing.

  Mary wrote @ October 8th, 2011 at 23:38

This is my second year working at a tourist resort and my first time trying to apply for unemployment in Greece due to the fact my contract ends, and I can’t find employment. I worked six months last year and five months this year. This resort hires with contract from April to September usually. Do I qualify for assistance until I can find a job? I have two kids 6 and 2 years old. Do I get more aid financially for dependents? Thank you very much.

Kat Reply:

First question: You did not provide enough information. Consult OAED in Greece at one of the locations listed under, “Where do I file?”

Second question: Already answered under, “How much do I receive?”

  diane wrote @ October 19th, 2011 at 18:09

hi could you help me i have been told i can claim ikea in my first year working for the summer season if i have a full national insurence history in england is this right do you know thanks

Kat Reply:

I don’t know what UK laws and insurance entitle you to do in Greece. Best to head over to and look at the website and forum postings of a UK citizen living in Greece. She would know better than I would.

Btw, the national insurance is called IKA as explained in “IKA vs. IKEA in Greece.”

  Angie wrote @ October 25th, 2011 at 12:37

Hey hi, i was wondering if any one could help with a problem im experiencing trying to claim unemployment here. Ive worked for two full years at a bar here on the island, my employer has paid all the correct payments in order for me to claim unemployment. I opened a bussiness here three years ago that never traded as i was unable to get the final liecense to operate, my ex accountant never closed the bussiness, crazy because it never opened and i took no money, im now being told im a professional and i cant claim, my new accountant is saying because the bussiness never opened and i took no money that i can. Pleeeeease i need some advice any help would realy be appreciated. Thanks.

Kat Reply:

You didn’t provide enough information for me to help you, and it’s not as simple as what your new accountant claims because everything must be documented with official papers.

Instead of consulting accountants and strangers, just go straight to OAED, ask them if you qualify and be prepared for them to request proof of everything. Use the links I provide to find an office nearest you, take all of your documentation and bring someone who speaks fluent Greek if you do not.

  farina wrote @ November 2nd, 2011 at 11:20

Thank you for explaining everything so clear! My Greek is not that good but i try to watch the news and i still can’t understand if the OAED money went up, down or stayed the same. I’m a single mom with twins of 16 and of course they go to school. I’ve worked 5 months and 11 days in the summer with IKA. Do you know how much i will receive? Thank you for reading my question.

Kat Reply:

Based on the little information you gave, there’s no way to know if you qualify for unemployment payments. You need to visit an OAED office as I instruct above.

Assuming you are eligible, I’ve already answered the question of how much under “How much do I receive?” Take a look.

  Ian wrote @ November 29th, 2011 at 21:52

I live in Greece and collect the payments in winter, my papers are ready to collect from my accountant but i am held up in the UK.

How long do you you have to complete your forms at OAED? from the date your employer stopped paying the IKA and makes you redundant? if you can help i would be very greatful.


Kat Reply:

The answer is in the above article under “When should I file?”

Sorry, comments are closed at this time.