The New Hungarian Labour Code Of The Future

Author:Ms Kinga Hetényi and Krisztina Gergely
Profession:Schoenherr Attorneys at Law

The new Hungarian Labour Code is expected to make the life of employers easier and the Hungarian labour market more competitive.

The move towards a more employer-friendly labour law started with amendments to the current Labour Code (Act XXII of 1992 on the Labour Code), which were adopted by the Hungarian Parliament in the fi rst half of July 2011. Most of these amendments entered into force on 1 August 2011.

One change is that if the employee works beyond his or her agreed working hours (overtime), the employer may decide whether to provide time off from work or to pay the salary supplement for the overtime. On a regular business day, the supplement is 50% of the salary (ie, a total of 150% salary is payable). The time off may not be less than the duration of the extra work performed. Before this amendment, this option used to be available to the employer only if the parties had agreed so in advance or if a collective bargaining agreement had so provided.

A new Hungarian Labour Code

On 22 July 2011 (about two weeks after the adoption of the above modifi cations), the Ministry of National Economy published the first draft of a new Hungarian Labour Code. This draft is currently subject to discussions between Ministry offi cials, university professors, trade unions, and the employers' representatives. The new draft Code is expected to be adopted by Parliament at the end of 2011 and come into force beginning 2012.

The first draft of the new Code was much less employee friendly than the current Labour Code and triggered protests by various trade unions. The government announced that, to a certain extent, they would back off their original plan and cut back fewer employee rights and benefi ts. The new Code is, however, still expected to be more modern than the current legislation and also regulate certain new types of employment, one of which would be on-call work.

Call on work

If the employee works maximum six hours a day in part-time employment, the employer and the employee may agree in the employment contract that the employee works when the task is due. The employer must notify the employee of the work at least three days in advance.

Increased liability for employee negligence

The new provisions, which are less employee-friendly than the current provisions, contain, for example, an increase of the employee's liability for damage caused to the employer through negligence. Under the current Labour Code, if the employee causes damage through...

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