Panicking amid the health crisis, company managers can easily feel pressured to take some “seemingly obvious” legal or business measures to resolve their situation. However, these measures often involve serious legal risks and should be approached with caution.
With regard to the state of emergency the Hungarian Government has passed several employment related laws. According to Government Decree no. 47/2020, the provisions of the Labour Code shall be applied with several modifications during the term of state of emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The purpose of the modifications is to make the employment regulations more flexible and to enable the employers and employees to adapt to the challenges caused by the pandemic.
The occurrence and rapid spread of the COVID-19 disease and related legislation force companies and other business actors to rethink the method of their operation. The Hungarian Government declared a State of Danger through Government Decree No. 40/2020. (III.11.) and provided other provisions on the operation of legal entities in Government Decree No. 102/2020. (IV.10.) (hereinafter: “Government Decree”) in connection with the current situation. In this guide we intend to present the most important changes introduced by the Government Decree.
On March 11, 2020, the Government of Hungary declared a state of emergency for the entire territory of Hungary in connection with the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic, and at the same time a special legal order. The new type of coronavirus and some related precautionary measures have completely overturned the market in a number of markets: in some sectors (e.g. aviation, event management, other tourism-related services, automotive, etc.) production of goods/provision of services has almost completely stopped, while in other areas, the sudden and extreme increase in consumer demand is causing disruptions (e.g. mouth masks, hand sanitizers, durable foods, toilet paper, medicines / vitamins).
The impending economic crisis is expected to upset the financial position of many businesses. At these companies, the responsibilities of the company manager will also change: in a near-bankruptcy situation, the manager is obliged to take into account not only the interests of the company but those of the creditors as well. But what is simple on paper is not so straightforward in practice.
Regulators and governments across CEE have introduced or are proposing several measures to mitigate the worst economic fall-out of the coronavirus situation. These measures generally include either hard (i.e. legally mandated) or soft (recommended) moratoriums on loans allowing for payment deferment without triggering default provisions, special state-guaranteed emergency financing schemes as well as certain broader macroeconomic remedial measures (bail-outs to impacted small entrepreneurs, tax deferments, “kurzarbeit”-type labour-cost subsidies etc.).
The currently running Public Administration and Public Service Development Strategy 2014-2020 program has set high goals for the processes of public administration, including organization, consistency, professionally trained staff, cost-effectiveness and competitive service fees. To reach these goals, the debate of a legislative package aiming to simplify the operation of government offices started in November 2019 in the Hungarian Parliament. The package was accepted in December 2019, with the majority of the changes getting into effect starting in March 2020, and the remainder coming in September 2020 and January 2021.
In response to the new trends in the labour market, the rules on training grant financed from the Hungarian National Employment Fund are changing in 2020. Favorable amendments will make the process of applying for and using this grant more flexible and as a new option, grant may also be applied for job keeping purposes.
Due to the state of emergency related to the coronavirus outbreak, sooner or later many business owners, company managers, and chief legal or financial officers will be relieved of their more routine, day-to-day work. This is a time when it might be worthwhile to sort out the company’s legal or financial issues that you may not have had time for during your day-to-day operations. Here are five tips worth considering.