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New Employment Law Provisions Applicable During the State of Emergency Caused by the Virus

New Employment Law Provisions Applicable During the State of Emergency Caused by the Virus

Hungary
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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 most significant modification is that during the term of state of emergency, the employee and employer may deviate from the provisions of the Labour Code with mutual consent, even for the detriment of the employee. Other employment law provisions of the Government Decree shall be applied until 30 days after the termination of the state of emergency. According to the new provisions, the employers may unilaterally require the employees to perform work within the framework of ‘home office’ or ‘teleworking’. Another amendment relates to the working time schedule. Under the original provisions of the Labour Code, the employers had to notify the employees about the working time schedule one week in advance, and it was possible to modify it at least 96 hours before the commencement of the working day. According to the new provisions, the employer may modify the working time schedule without any restrictions. Furthermore, the Government Decree enables the employers to check the health conditions of the employees.

On 10 April 2020, in the framework of Economy Protection Action Plan, the Government published new decrees which also contain relevant employment provisions. According to Government Decree no. 104/2020, the employer may require the employee to perform work within the framework of a work time cycle (‘munkaidőkeret’ in Hungarian), the duration of which may be maximum 2 years. According to the original provisions of the Labour Code, the maximum length of the work time cycle could be 4 months (or 6 months in specific jobs) or 3 years under the provision of collective agreement. The main advantage of the work time cycle is that it allows the employer to schedule the working time irregularly within a longer period. Government Decree no. 105/2020 introduced the state-aided part-time employment scheme, under which if the employer undertakes not to terminate the employees’ employment relationship, but decides to employ them on a part time basis, the state will provide compensation for the employees for the loss of their salaries resulting from the reduced working hours.

By Levente Csengery, Partner, KCG Partners Law Firm

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KCG Partners is a Hungarian business law firm providing a comprehensive range of legal services to international and local clients seeking local knowledge and global perspective. The firm comprises business-minded lawyers with sector-specific expertise, creating value for clients by applying a problem-solving approach and delivering innovative solutions.

The firm has a wealth of knowledge in corporate law, M&A, projects and construction, energy, real estate, tax, employment, litigation, privacy and forensics, securitization, estate planning and capital markets.

To address clients’ regional and international concerns, the firm maintains active working relationships with other outstanding independent law firms in Central and Eastern Europe, whilst senior counsel Mr. Blaise Pásztory brings over 40 years’ of US capital market and fund management experience.

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