The main source of employment law in Hungary is the Labor Code, which came into force in 1992 and was significantly revised 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. The weekly working time of employees shall not exceed forty-eight hours.
Work shall be scheduled for five 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.
Working Time Banking
The employer may define the working time of an employee in terms of the ‘banking’ of working time or working hours also. The period covered by the banking of working time shall be arranged based on daily working time and standard work pattern. Any public holidays falling on a working day within the standard work pattern shall be ignored.
The beginning and ending date shall be defined if the working time is defined in terms of banking of working time.
The maximum duration of working time banking is four months or sixteen weeks. And the maximum duration of working time banking is six months or twenty-six 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. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 93 – 94
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). Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 98.
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 actual work performed cannot be measured, the rate is 50 percent for standby 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. The employee may be ordered to stand by not more than four times a month if it covers the weekly rest day (weekly rest period). Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 92, 103, 139-142.
An employer shall maintain a correct record consisting of employee’s working hours, wages, payroll records, etc of each of his/her employees which shall be updated 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 the overtime can be increased up to a maximum of 400 hours per year.
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. Employees are entitled to a 50 percent wage allowance for overtime work or time off from work with a corresponding base wage. 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 or overtime exceeds six hours, the employee is entitled to a minimum 20-minute uninterrupted break from work. If the duration of work exceeds nine hours, an additional 25-minute break must be given to the employee. Working time shall not cover break-time.
The break time shall not exceed 60 minutes in any case of agreement between the parties or via collective agreement. The break time shall be provided after not less than 3 hours and before not more than 6 hours of work. Labor Code, Act I of 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 eight hours. The total duration of the daily rest periods on two consecutive days shall, in any case, be at least 22 hours. Employees shall not be entitled to any rest period after an inactive stand by period. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 104.
Weekly Rest Day
Employees are entitled to two rest days in a given week. Employees shall be provided at least forty-eight 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 six 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 seasonal jobs. Employees shall be allocated at least one weekly rest day in a given month on a Sunday.
For overtime work performed on weekly rest days/periods, 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/period 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. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 105, 106, and 143(6).
In lieu of weekly rest days, employees shall be given at least 48 hours of an uninterrupted weekly rest period.
Employees must be paid a 50 percent allowance in addition to regular wages for working on Sundays in certain circumstances such as seasonal work, continuous operation, etc. 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. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 139 – 142.
Holidays are observed on their calendar date. They are not moved if they fall on a weekend or a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
The following 10 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
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 falls on a Sunday.
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.
Employees who perform overtime work on a public holiday are entitled to a 100 percent wage supplement and in cases, where the employer provides another day as time off 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. 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 twenty-five;
- 2 working days over the age of twenty-eight;
- 3 working days over the age of thirty-one;
- 4 working days over the age of thirty-three;
- 5 working days over the age of thirty-five;
- 6 working days over the age of thirty-seven;
- 7 working days over the age of thirty-nine;
- 8 working days over the age of forty-one;
- 9 working days over the age of forty-three;
- 10 working days over the age of forty-five.
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 permanently working underground or spending at least three 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. 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 15day 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 the maternity leave; or
- The day following the day when the child is transferred to a welfare institution.
In the circumstances stipulated above, the duration of the maternity leave cannot be less than six weeks following the birth. Mothers are entitled to a paid 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 – 131.
Upon the birth of his child, a father is entitled to five paid working days’ leave and in 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. Labor Code, Act I of 2012 (as amended), §§ 118(4) 128.
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 shall be entitled to paid leave as follows:
- 2 working days for one child;
- 4 working days for two children;
- a total of 7 working days for more than two children under sixteen years of age.
The leave shall be increased for children with disabilities by two working days per child. Employees 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(1), and 128 – 131.
Employees are relieved from the obligation to work in the following circumstances:
- For the duration of performing civic duties;
- 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), §§ 115.
Last updated on: October 29th, 2020