At the beginning of November 2021, a bill was submitted to the Hungarian Parliament on the temporary provisions relating to the new Land Registry Act and on the amendment of certain acts of cultural subject and relating to the land registry, spatial planning (in Hungarian: “teruletrendezes”) and urban planning (in Hungarian: “telepulesrendezes”).
In order to respond quickly to the challenges caused by the pandemic in the workplaces, the Hungarian Government introduced temporary regulation on teleworking in 2020. Since these provisions are applicable only during the state of emergency, the modification of the Labour Code and the Act on Safety at Work are on agenda with the aim of clarifying the provisions on teleworking on a permanent basis. The proposed modification is in line with the rules on teleworking specified in the Government decrees currently in force.
Mihály Varga, Minister of Finance of Hungary has introduced many changes in tax legislation as of 1 January 2022 with an estimated HUF 750 billion to be left at the private sector. According to the statement of the Minister, tax reductions became achievable, as the economic growth of Hungary rose over 6,1%.
In 2018, the Hungarian Constitutional Court established in its decision that there was an infringement of the Fundamental Law by omission in connection with the entry into force of the amendment of certain acts relating to land-compensation. The issue was that the legislator abolished the rules on the auctions of agricultural land, so that the beneficiaries still had the purchase right serving the assertion of the compensation claim. The Constitutional Court called on the Parliament to fulfil its legislative duties by 31 December 2018.
At the end of October 2021, the Hungarian Government decided to take new protection measures to contain the fourth wave of the coronavirus outbreak, as a result, from 1 November 2021 employers have the right to require their employees to be mandatorily vaccinated. This means that to increase vaccination coverage and to protect workplaces, the Government allows employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against coronavirus as a condition of employment, either as a standard working condition for all employees or as an individual working condition depending on the job. For employees who have not yet been vaccinated, the employer may set a 45-day deadline for the first vaccination. Employers who require vaccination must inform the employee of the measure, the deadline and the possible legal consequences of not vaccinating, either electronically (in e-mail) or on paper. Furthermore, an employee who is medically certified as contra-indicated to be vaccinated against the coronavirus cannot expected to be vaccinated.
Immunisation Certificates played a big role in the previous wave of COVID-19 pandemic in Hungary. They were issued as a supplementary certificate to confirm that the cardholder had a positive COVID test or got at least the first shot of any of the available vaccines. At many stages of the pandemic, cardholders enjoyed specific privileges compared to the others (i.e. card was asked at many places that had an indoor room, such as theatres, cinemas, restaurants etc.). Even though the European COVID passport became available from 1 July 2021 among the EU, it is only issued for persons, who got an EU-approved vaccine. Since Hungary choose to vaccinate with non-EU-approved vaccines, the dichotomy of the certificates still remains.
The Hungarian judiciary system was facing with harsh critics in the past few years, especially in the field of digitalisation. However, the widespread of online meetings during the pandemic gave a boost to the digitalisation also in the courtroom. Even though the New Civil Procedure (entered into force 1 January 2018) and the New Criminal Procedure (entered into force 1 July 2018) provide for a long time the necessary institutional and technical conditions for online hearings, as well as for online witness testimonies, judges were reluctant to use them until last year, as it required more preparations and openness from their side.
From 2021, the rules on warranty for consumer durables (e.g. household appliances, kitchen appliances, gas appliances) have been comprehensively modernised. As a result of the changes, businesses must repair or replace defective products under warranty within a short period of time. In addition, the instrument for enforcing repair and replacement claims, i.e. the warranty certificate has also been affected by the amendments in September 2021. The Ministry of Innovation and Technology (ITM) created a warranty certificate template with a content agreed with trade associations to support the undertakings in their compliance.
A bill to exempt the minimum wage from personal income tax in order to reduce the tax burden on low wages was submitted to the Hungarian Parliament on 20 September 2021. The proposal aims to amend the Personal Income Tax Act. According to the preamble of the bill, the exemption is necessary, since the income of minimum wage earners is increasingly falling behind average earnings and the total tax burden on wages is one of the highest in Europe.
The draft of a huge EU solar tender for the residential sector was published by the Hungarian Government at the end of August 2021. The draft proposal shows that households earning less than the national average income will be eligible for 100% non-repayable grants of between HUF 3-11.5 million (EUR 8,500 – 31,500) for green investment purposes.