The main source of employment law in Hungary is the Labor Code, which came into force in 1992 and was significantly revised in 2012. Another important source of law is the Constitution of Hungary, which protects the basic rights of employers and employees.
Hours & Pay Regulations
Eight hours a day is considered fulltime employment. The weekly working time generally should not exceed forty-eight hours. The employer and the employee can agree to increase fulltime employment to as many as 12 hours daily for employees working on call or who are close relatives of the employer or the owner.
On-Call and Standby Time
An employee may be required to standby and remain available beyond the regular daily working hours scheduled. The duration of standby may not exceed 168 hours per month, which shall be taken as the average if an alternative working system applies. The employee may be ordered to work standby time for not more than four times a month if it overlaps with the employee’s designated weekly rest day.
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. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 92, 103, 139-142.
Employees are entitled to a 50 percent wage allowance for overtime work (if no compensatory paid time off is provided), 100 percent for overtime work on a rest day (or 50 percent if another rest day is provided) in addition to normal salary.
For overtime work on national holidays, employees are entitled to a 100 percent allowance in addition to the payment due for normal work. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 107109, 143.
If scheduled work time frequently changes, the employee is entitled to a shift allowance of 30 percent for work performed between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Employees not receiving shift allowance must be paid a 15 percent allowance for working at night if the work exceeds one hour and is performed between 10:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. 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.
The minimum duration of the daily rest period will continue to be 11 hours, however, it will still be possible to reduce this to eight hours in certain cases. A recent amendment in January 2019 states that, if the employee has only eight hours of daily rest period on a given day, the employee will be entitled to a longer rest break the following working day. The total duration of the daily rest periods on two consecutive days shall, in any case, be at least 22 hours.
The amendments concern employees working in shifts or in seasonal jobs where the rule of one weekly rest day after six days of work does not apply. Pursuant to the amendments, such employees shall be entitled to at least one weekly rest day every month.
Employees must be allowed at least 11 hours of 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.
Employees must be paid a 50percent allowance in addition to regular wages for working on Sundays in certain circumstances. Labor Code, Act I of 2012, (as amended), §§ 139142.
Holidays are observed on their calendar date. They are not moved if they fall on a weekend or a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
Work performed on a holiday must be remunerated at 200 percent of normal pay. Under the Labor Code, the following 10 national holidays are observed:
- 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 2526: 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 (if the service provided is required on that particular day by local tradition or commonly accepted social custom or is necessary to protect human life, health or property). In addition, employees providing services abroad (for example, shared service centers) or posted abroad on days not qualifying as public holidays in the recipient country may be instructed to work on Hungarian national holidays.
Employees can only be instructed to work overtime on national holidays if they can otherwise be required to work on that day or to prevent or mitigate the imminent danger of accident, natural disaster or danger to life or health. Labor Code, Act I of 2012 (as amended), §§ 101102, 140.
Employees receive basic and additional annual leave for each calendar year of employment. The basic annual leave entitlement is 20 working days. 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. Workers shall be entitled to extra vacation time as follows:
- One working day over the age of twenty-five;
- Two working days over the age of twenty-eight;
- Three working days over the age of thirty-one;
- Four working days over the age of thirty-three;
- Five working days over the age of thirty-five;
- Six working days over the age of thirty-seven;
- Seven working days over the age of thirty-nine;
- Eight working days over the age of forty-one;
- Nine working days over the age of forty-three;
- Ten working days over the age of forty-five.
Employees shall be first entitled to extra vacation time in the year when reaching the age.
Employees in special circumstances receive additional leave as follows:
- Employees under 18 are entitled to 5 extra days of vacation each year;
- Parents are entitled to extra vacation time depending on the number of children under the age of 16: 1) two (2) days a year for one child, 2) four (4) days a year for two children and 3) seven (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 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. Labor Code, Act I of 2012 (as amended), §§ 115 – 120.
An employee is entitled to 15 working days of leave per the 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. Incapacity must be certified by a physician. During the sick leave, the employee receives 70 percent of his or her absence fee (total compensation including base salary and other allowances) paid by the employer for the 15day sick leave. If the employee is still incapable of working after 15 days, sick pay is covered partly by social security and partly by the employer, but only for a period of up to one year. After this date, invalidity benefits may be granted. Labor Code, Act I of 2012 (as amended), §§ 118, 146.
A pregnant employee is entitled to 24 weeks of maternity leave, 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 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 one hour per day (two hours in the case of twins) until the end of the ninth month after the birth. An employee is entitled to unpaid leave:
- Until a child reaches age 3 to provide care at home; or
- Until a child reaches age 10 during the period of eligibility for the childcare allowance, provided the employee cares for the child at home. Labor Code, Act I of 2012 (as amended), §§ 127131.
Upon the birth of his child, a father is entitled to 5 working days’ compensated leave, in case of twins the duration is 7 working days’ leave within two months following the date of birth on days he requests. An employee is entitled to unpaid leave:
- Until a child reaches age 3 to provide care at home; or
- Until a child reaches age 10 during the period of eligibility for the childcare allowance, provided the employee cares for the child at home. Labor Code, Act I of 2012 (as amended), §§ 118, 128.
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 two working days per occurrence;
- If the employee is incapable of working due to illness;
- For the duration of compulsory medical examinations (including pregnancy tests);
- For the duration of service as a volunteer firefighter;
- For the duration of absence to donate blood (minimum four hours);
- 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;
- If the law so requires;
- With the employer’s consent; and
- For the duration of treatment related to a human reproduction procedure.
An employee is entitled to unpaid leave when:
- 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
- Duration of voluntary reserve military service
Last updated on: October 31st, 2019