The main source of employment law in Hungary is the Labor Code, which came into force in 1992 and later amended in 2012. The Labor Code governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays and rest periods, wages, overtime, employment relationships. Another important source of law is the Constitution of Hungary, which protects the basic rights of employers and employees.
Hours & Pay Regulations
The regular daily working time is 8 hours per day. The employer and the employee can agree to increase daily working hours to not more than 12 hours daily for employees working on-call or who are close relatives of the employer or the owner.
Work shall be scheduled for 5 days a week, between Monday through Friday (standard work pattern). The scheduled working time of an employee may not be less than 4 hours except for part-time employees. According to work schedule –
- The daily working time of employees shall not exceed 12 hours including overtime or 24 hours in case of employees in stand-by jobs.
- The weekly working time of employees shall not exceed 48 hours including overtime, or 72 hours in the case of stand-by jobs if so agreed by the parties.
The work schedule shall be for at least 1 week and shall be made known at least 7 days in advance in writing. The duration of overtime work performed outside the regular working hours shall be included in the daily scheduled working time.
Daylight savings: If the date of switching to wintertime falls within the working hours of an employee as may have been scheduled, in such case, the daily or weekly working time can be exceeded by a maximum of 1 additional hour.
In cases where the duration of work performed by an employee cannot be measured, the entire duration of on-call duty with respect to such an employee shall be included in his/her scheduled daily working time. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 93 – 100 and 103.
Working Time Banking
When working time is defined within the framework of working time banking, the beginning and ending date shall be specified by the employer. The period covered by banking of working time shall be arranged based on daily working time (8 hours) and standard work pattern(5 days working week). Any public holidays falling on a working day within the standard work pattern and the duration of absence (for example due to training provided by the employer, breastfeeding, etc.) shall not be counted.
An employer shall ensure that the maximum daily working time in the working time banking is not less than 4 hours per day and shall not exceed 12 hours inclusive of overtime. The maximum duration of working time banking is 4months or 16. And the maximum duration of working time banking is 6 months or 26 weeks in the case of employees working in continuous shifts, working in shifts, etc.
The maximum length of the working-time banking period can be extended up to 36 months if this is stipulated in a collective bargaining agreement.
Employees are entitled to a 50 percent wage allowance for work performed within a working time banking timeframe or time off with a corresponding part of the base wage. The duration of time off shall not be less than the amount of work performed by the employee. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 93 – 94 and 143.
Work may also be scheduled in a way where the employee completes the weekly working time scheduled based on the daily working time and the standard work pattern over a longer period that the employer has determined, beginning on the given week (payroll period). The duration (maximum length) of the payroll period is the same as working time banking.
Employees are entitled to a 50 percent wage or time off with a corresponding part of the base wage for work performed above and beyond the payroll period. The duration of time off shall not be less than the amount of work performed by the employee. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 98 and 143.
Split Working Time
The employer may in agreement with the employee schedule daily working time is up to 2 periods split up over the day. Between the split daily working times scheduled at least two hours of rest must be provided. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 100.
On-call and Stand by
An employee may be required to stand by and remain available beyond the regular daily working hours scheduled. Standing by for a period of over four hours may be ordered. For on-call and standby duty, a wage corresponding to 20 percent and 40 percent, respectively, of the basic wage must be paid. If the duration of work performed cannot be measured, the premium rate is 50 percent for on-call duty.
The duration of standby duty may not exceed 168 hours, which shall be taken as the average in the event that banking of working time is used and the duration of on-call duty shall not exceed 24 hours and shall include both the duration of scheduled daily working time and overtime work on the first day of on-call duty. The employee may be ordered to stand by not more than 4 times a month if it covers the weekly rest day (weekly rest period).
In cases where the duration of work performed by an employee cannot be measured, the entire duration of on-call duty with respect to such an employee shall be included in his/her scheduled daily working time. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 92, 103, 139-142 and 144(3).
An employer shall maintain records of the time of commencement and end of any regular or overtime work, duration of stand by duty, periods of leave, etc of employees and shall update it on a daily basis. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 134.
The employer may require employees to work up to 250 hours of overtime, but if the employer concludes an agreement with the employee in writing, the employee can be assigned an additional 150 hours per year, and over time can be increased up to a maximum of 400 hours per year.
The maximum daily working hours is 12 and weekly working hours is 48 both inclusive of overtime, hence an employee can maximum work 4 hours of daily overtime per day and 8 hours of overtime per week.
Employers also can take up to 36 months to settle payments of accrued overtime and may agree on overtime arrangements directly with employees without having to include unions in the negotiations.
Pay for Overtime Work
Employees are entitled to a 50 percent wage allowance for overtime work or time off with a corresponding part of the base wage. The duration of time off shall not be less than the amount of overtime work performed by the employee. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 107 – 109 and 143.
Night work shall mean work carried out between 22:00 and 6:00.
In the case of employees working in shifts, if the beginning of their scheduled daily working time changes frequently, for work performed between 18:00 and 6:00, a 30 percent wage supplement (shift allowance) shall be paid. Employees must be paid a 15 percent allowance for working at night if the work exceeds one hour (performed between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.) provided that the employee is not entitled to shift allowance. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 139 – 142.
If the scheduled daily working time exceeds 6 hours, the employee is entitled to a minimum 20-minute uninterrupted unpaid break from work. If the duration of work exceeds 9 hours, an additional 25-minute unpaid break must be given to the employee. Working time shall not cover break-time. Employees shall be provided with a break after 3 hours of work but before the completion of 6 hours of work. However, employers can be exempted from providing breaks within such a time frame, if they provide breaks more than one break. But, any break which an employee is entitled to within the timeframe mentioned above shall be of at least 20 minutes.
The break time, in any case, shall not exceed 60 minutes via an agreement between the parties or via collective agreement. Labor Code, Act 2012, (as amended), §§ 103.
Daily Rest Period
Employees must be allowed at least 11 hours’ uninterrupted rest after the conclusion of daily work and before the beginning of the next day’s work. If the employee works split shifts, continuous shifts, multiple shifts, or in seasonal or on-call duty positions, the daily rest period must be at least 8 hours. Employees shall not be entitled to any rest period after an inactive standby period. An employee shall be provided at least 7 hours of rest period if it falls on the date of switching to summertime. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 104.
Weekly Rest Day
Employees are entitled to 2 rest days in a given week. Employees shall be provided at least 48 hours of a weekly rest period as an average of working time banking or the payroll period.
In the case of an irregular work schedule the weekly rest days may be scheduled irregularly and after 6 days of work one rest day shall be allocated in a given week, with the exception of employees working in continuous shifts, shift work, or in seasonal jobs.
Employees shall be allocated at least 1 weekly rest day in a given month on a Sunday, except for part-time employees who work on Saturday and Sunday only.
Pay for overtime work on a weekly rest day
For overtime work performed on weekly rest days, an employee shall be paid at a rate of 100 percent wage supplement or shall be paid at 50 percent if the employer provides another weekly rest day to the employee.
The time off or the weekly rest day (weekly rest period) shall be provided at the latest in the following month when the overtime work was performed, or by the end of the banking of working time or the payroll period in the case of an irregular work schedule. By agreement of the parties, time off shall be provided at the latest by 31 December of the following year. In lieu of weekly rest days, employees shall be given at least 48 hours of an uninterrupted weekly rest period. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 105, 106, and 143(3).
Employees must be paid a 50 percent allowance in addition to regular wages for employees working in shifts and stand-by jobs on Sundays. If an employee working in a stand-by job is scheduled to work on Sunday, he may not be scheduled to work on the preceding Saturday.
Pay for overtime work on Sunday
An employee shall be paid at a rate of 100 percent wage supplement or shall be paid at 50 percent if the employer provides another weekly rest day to the employee. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 139 – 142.
The following 9 national holidays are observed in Hungary:
- January 1: New Year’s Day
- May 1: Labor Day
- Whit Monday (varies)
- August 20: Hungary National Day
- August 21: Public Holiday
- October 23: 1956 Revolution Memorial Day
- November 1: All Saints’ Day
- December 24: Public Holiday
- December 25-26: Christmas
Employees may be required to work on national holidays only if they are employed seasonally, the employer operates on a continuous basis or the nature of the business makes it necessary for the employer to be open on national holidays.
Pay for Work on Holiday
Work performed on a holiday must be remunerated at 100 percent of normal pay. This wage supplement is also paid for work performed on Easter Sunday or Whit Sunday or public holidays which fall on a Sunday.
Pay for Overtime Work on Holiday
Employees who perform overtime work on a public holiday are entitled to a 100 percent wage supplement and in cases, or where the employer provides another weekly rest day/period for work performed on a public holiday, employees are entitled to a wage supplement of 50 percent. Labor Code, Act I of 2012 (as amended), §§ 101 – 102, 140 and 143(4)
The basic annual leave entitlement is 20 working days. Employees receive basic and additional annual leave for each calendar year of employment.
Working days shall include any duration of exemption from work as scheduled, paid leave, maternity leave, the first 6 months of leave of absence without pay for caring for a child, incapacity up to 30 days per calendar year, leave of absence without pay taken up to 3 months for the purpose of actual reserve military service, the duration of other exemption from work.
The annual leave entitlement of employees is increased with additional days depending on the age (not the seniority) of the employee with up to 10 additional working days. Employees shall be entitled to extra vacation time as follows:
- 1 working day over the age of 25;
- 2 working days over the age of 28;
- 3 working days over the age of 31;
- 4 working days over the age of 33;
- 5 working days over the age of 35;
- 6 working days over the age of 37;
- 7 working days over the age of 39;
- 8 working days over the age of 41;
- 9 working days over the age of 43;
- 10 working days over the age of 45.
Employees shall be first entitled to extra vacation time in the year when reaching the age.
Additional Vacation Leave
Employees in special circumstances receive additional leave as follows:
- Employees under 18 are entitled to 5 extra days of vacation each year;
- Employees are entitled to extra vacation time for children under the age of 16: 2 days a year for one child, 4 days a year for two children and 7 days a year for more than two children, and an additional two days per child if the child is disabled.
- Employees permanently working underground or spending at least 3 hours a day on a job exposed to ionizing radiation are entitled to 5 extra days of vacation each year; and
- Employees receiving disabled or blind benefits and employees with at least 50 percent disability are entitled to 5 additional days of vacation each year.
A collective bargaining agreement or an employment contract may provide additional leave days.
Employers shall allocate seven working days of the vested vacation time in a given year is not more than two parts, at the time requested by the employees, with the exception of the first three months of the employment relationship. The employee shall notify the employer of such a request at least fifteen days in advance. Otherwise, vacation shall be granted to contain at least 14 consecutive days at a time.
Timing of Vacation
- Vacation shall be granted in the year in which it is due.
- If the employment relationship commenced on the first of October or subsequently, the employer shall be entitled to grant vacation time by 31 March of the next year.
- If vacation time could not be granted in the year in which it is due for reasons within the employee’s control, it shall be allocated within sixty days after the cause is remedied.
Upon termination of employment, an employee shall be compensated for any vacation time not previously granted as due. An employee whose employment is concluded or terminated is entitled to an adequate or proportionate amount of vacation in such a year. Any fraction of a day that comes to half a day shall count as a full working day. Labor Code, Act I of 2012 (as amended), §§ 115 – 125.
Effective January 1, 2020, the mandatory minimum wage is HUF 161,000 and the guaranteed wage minimum is HUF 210,600.
The minimum wage given above is subject to change and may not be up to date. Kindly access the link to see current wage rates.
An employee is entitled to 15 working days of leave per calendar year for times when the employee is incapable of working due to illness, not including industrial accidents, illnesses specified by social insurance provisions, and the incapability to work due to endangered pregnancy. During sick leave, the employee receives 70 percent of his or her absence fee paid by the employer for the 15 day sick leave. Labor Code, Act I of 2012 (as amended), §§ 118, 126 146.
A pregnant employee is entitled to an unpaid leave of 24 weeks, commencing four weeks prior to childbirth. The maternity leave terminates:
- If the child is stillborn;
- On the 15th day after the death if the child dies during maternity leave; or
- The day following the day when the child is transferred to a welfare institution for over 30 days.
In the circumstances stipulated above, the duration of the maternity leave cannot be less than six weeks following the birth. Mothers are entitled to pay one hour’s leave twice per day (or two hours twice per day in the case of twins) during the first six months of breastfeeding and thereafter paid one hour per day (two hours in the case of twins) until the end of the ninth month after the birth. Labor Code, Act I of 2012 (as amended), §§ 127 – 13
Upon the birth of his child, a father is entitled to five paid working days’ leave and in the case of twins, seven paid working days’ leave which shall be taken within two months following the date of birth on the days as may be requested by the father. The leave shall be provided also if the child is stillborn or dies.
Employees (both parents) shall be entitled to unpaid leave at the times requested for the purpose of taking care of his/her child until the child reaches the age of 3. Employees shall be entitled to unpaid leave for providing care for a child in person until the child reaches the age of 10, during the period of receiving a child-care allowance. Labor Code, Act I of 2012 (as amended), §§ 118(4) 128 and 130.
Maternity leave shall also be provided to a woman who has been given custody of a child for the purpose of adoption. The duration is 24 weeks of unpaid leave. Labor Code, Act I of 2012 (as amended), §§ 127(2).
Employees are relieved from the obligation to work in the following circumstances:
- Upon the death of a close relative, for at least 2 paid working days per occurrence;
- If the employee is incapable of working due to illness;
- For the duration of compulsory medical examinations (including pregnancy tests) with pay;
- For the duration of service as a volunteer firefighter;
- For the duration of absence to donate blood (minimum four hours) with pay;
- If the employee is unable to appear at work for personal or family reasons or due to circumstances beyond his or her control;
- For the duration of classes if employees are pursuing elementary school studies or for the duration of training if participating by agreement with the employer with pay;
- For the duration required to attend any calling from the court or authority;
- For the duration of treatment related to a human reproduction procedure;
- For any duration specified by the regulations.
Labor Code, Act I of 2012 (as amended), §§ 55.
An employee is entitled to unpaid leave:
- For any extended (more than 30 days) nursing or home care of a close relative up to a maximum of two years provided the employee personally provides the care; and
- For the duration of actual reserve military service.
Labor Code, Act I of 2012 (as amended), §§ 131 – 132.
Last updated on: March 26th, 2021