- response to COVID-19
- Support of SMEs
ΛΑΕΚ, Λογαριασμός για την Απασχόληση και την Επαγγελματική Κατάρτιση
LAEK, Special Fund for Employment and Vocational Training
Private companies and public sector bodies whose employees are insured through EFKA (the Unified Social Security Fund) can take part in the programme. To be eligible, companies must have paid the LAEK employer's contribution of 0.24% for its employees. An employee can be trained under a LAEK training programme for up to 100 hours a year.
LAEK is the Employment and Vocational Training Fund. It is managed by OAED (Technical support from Manpower Employment Organisation) and its revenues come from employers’ contributions paid by private and public sector companies to EFKA. The amount that each company has to pay to LAEK on a monthly mandatory basis (through the payroll system) is 0.24% of the gross income of all its employees who are insured with EFKA.
At the beginning of each calendar year, OAED publishes the 'LAEK-0.24% Vocational Training Programme' circular, which specifies the terms under which companies can implement the education and training programmes that their employees will attend through LAEK.
According to the 2018 circular, the training programmes can either be implemented by the companies themselves or assigned to training organisations. If the programme is implemented within the company, it must take place somewhere independent of the employees’ workplaces. Every training programme can be entirely theoretical or both theoretical and practical, and may take place during or outside working hours, but it may not exceed 8 hours per day.
Response to COVID-19
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all the educational processes in Greece, as well as the LAEK (Employment and Vocational Training Account) programmes, were suspended from 11 March 2020, and the training providers were informed about the procedures they had to follow. On 17 May 2020, the implementation time of the circular 'LAEK 0.24' of the year 2020 was completed. Therefore, only programme hours performed until the suspension of the first circular will be reimbursed. New programmes must be submitted for the remaining training hours, always according to the instructions provided by Joint Ministerial Decision 51888/ΓΔ4/2020 (OJHR 1739/B/6-5-2020). A key element of the new educational process is that the maximum number of people per department should not exceed 15, with at least 1.5 meters of distance between them. Therefore, based on the new circular 'LAEK 0.24-phase B', all programmes must comply with this assumption. For operators that, despite the ban on the educational process and the information received by OAED (Hellenic Manpower Employment Organisation), continued to implement live training programmes during the restrictive measures, the specific hours that were performed are out of the process and will not be paid. The pricing will be done based solely on the hours that were performed until 11 March 2020. The e-learning programmes and the postgraduate programmes of universities that were converted into distance learning programmes, with the existing participants, have been completed on 17 May 2020. For their continuation, a request will be resubmitted according to the rules of the new educational process established by the state. For these programmes, the pricing will be done solely based on the hours that were performed up to and including 17 May 2020. For the specific postgraduate programmes of universities that were converted into distance learning programmes, the operators must submit, by 20 May 2020, a declaration on honour to inform the relevant department (as requested with the announcement dated 6 May 2020); otherwise, these programmes are in danger of being canceled. For live programmes that suspended their implementation on 11 March 2020, based on the announcements, the pricing will be based on the hours that were implemented until 11 March 2020. The new parameter changes concerning circular '0.24' were announced on 19 May 2020 with a starting date for submitting proposals starting on 29 May 2020. Private companies and public bodies are entitled to submit an application if their employees are insured to the Single Social Security Entity (EFKA) and being subject to even one OAED Insurance Branch.
Managed by a tripartite committee.
Public employment services
Technical support from Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED).
Employer or employee organisations
Managed by a tripartite committee.
Funded by contributions from both employers and employees, amounting to 0.24% of the gross annual salary of employees in each enterprise, and collected by the Unified Social Security Fund (EFKA)
In 2018 12,491 LAEK training programmes have been implemented with 67,460 employees participating in these, according to the OAED's Activity Report (March 2015-June 2019).
Entrepreneurs who make use of LAEK programmes see it as an opportunity to make their business more innovative and competitive through employee training.
The crisis of the Greek economy, which has continued since 2009, has significantly hit LAEK’s revenues. Although in the past, the employers' contribution for LAEK amounted to 0.45% of the gross pay of employees, this figure fell in 2015 to 0.24%. At the same time, according to press reports, the number of companies implementing programmes through LAEK has recently fallen by 20-25% due to the crisis. The reason given for this decline is that many companies do not meet the funding criteria because they have incurred debts to EFKA and the state in recent years.