Wow, I Can't Believe the Post Office Has Not Thought of This

From a Michael Lewis article on the European financial mess

To get around pay restraints in the calendar year the Greek government simply paid employees a 13th and even 14th monthly salary—months that didn’t exist.


  1. Scott M:

    Reminds me of Congress' action in (I believe) 1986. They moved Federal payday from the 30th of September to the 1st of October and saved a whole month in the fiscal year.

  2. morganovich:

    i'm surprised the USPS doesn't try to use month 13 and 14 as delivery dates.

  3. Frederick Davies:

    That is nothing new; in Spain they get paid 14 times a year: in June and December they get double pay (supposedly extra money for the Summer holidays and Christmas presents).


  4. a_random_guy:

    I'm not sure that's what it is about. In many (most?) European countries, it is entirely normal to have a "13th month salary". This almost certainly began as a Christmas bonus, and has evolved into a tradition.

    Nowadays, it has lost this meaning. When you negotiate your salary for a new job, you negotiate an annual salary. If the company pays a 13th month salary, your monthly salary will be 1/13th of whatever you negotiate.

    I am not specifically familiar with Greece, but in this regard I imagine it is similar to the rest of Europe.

  5. Ian Random:

    I've probably said this before, but I was trying to think of the stupidest things you could do for a story. Turns out Greece does all that and then some. There is no price variation at the private pharmacies. Lawyers pay a percentage of earnings into a pool that gets redistributed, the proceeds can be so lucrative that some don't have to work. I really love the empty trains, reminds me of the empty public buses I've ridden. As for that 13th paycheck, my parents used to have a money withheld throughout the year and included in their final paycheck for presents.

  6. Mesa Econoguy:

    Stupid Roman numerals...