The Labour Ministry has taken 21 owners of catering establishments to court for failing to pay employees their share of the service charge, according to figures submitted to the House of Representatives.
The details were given by Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou in response to a question submitted by Greens MP Yiorgos Perdikis.
The service allowance is paid to employees at catering establishments and hotels in lieu of a pay rise. Emilianidou said that during 2017 Labour Inspectors carried out 561 checks, of which 21 led to criminal prosecutions.
Of the 561 inspections, 353 were carried out as part of a special campaign on the distribution of the service charge to the more than 3,200 employees working at catering establishments and hotels.
Under the rules, hotels and catering establishments charge a 10% service fee on all bills excluding for telephone calls, the purchase of cigarettes and the payment of taxes. They cover restaurants, delicatessens, cabarets, coffee shops, night clubs, bars, taverns, clubs or any other premises where food or drink is consumed. It is then distributed every month among employees under an agreement with employers depending on the employees’ position. The way the fees are distributed must be reflected in a table which employees can see. Menus specify that employers have an obligation to charge service fees.