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Factsheet for measure HU-2012-27/2741 Updated – measures in Hungary

Allocated cumulative working time (working time bank)


Country Hungary , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 July 2012
Context COVID-19, Restructuring Support Instruments
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Employment protection and retention
– Working time flexibility
Author Nóra Krokovay (KOPINT-Tárki) and Eurofound
Measure added 11 July 2022 (updated 22 November 2022)

Background information

All companies which have requirements for ad-hoc tasks or tasks which are not equally distributed throughout the year are allowed to administer allocated cumulative working time, in accordance with the (new) labour code - Act I of 2012.

The labour code (modified in late 2018) allows the working time banking period to be raised to 36 months only by collective agreement. The employer may determine employees' working time in a flexible way. This means that the duration of an individual's working time may be arranged in such a way as to suit the requirements of the company, however it cannot be less than four hours or more than 12 hours daily.

Content of measure

A maximum of four months or 16 weeks of cumulative working time (or working time bank) of the employees can be allocated (by any employer). Working under allocated cumulative working time means that the employee should accrue the same amount of working hours as a standard work week, but across an extended period. If the employee has accrued more hours worked than the standard working time by the end of the established period, that will be counted as overtime. If the working time of an employee is only distributed unevenly (so that sometimes the person works for more than 12 hours) but at the end of the established period the employee has not accrued more working hours than the standard working time, then no overtime is counted.

Working time banking can be extended to as much as a period of 6 months or 26 weeks when certain requirements are met. This includes employers/employees involved in:

  • shift work;
  • seasonal work;
  • on-call work, or
  • The transport sector.

Employee approval is not necessary to establish a working time bank scheme.

Moreover, if any employer (except those meeting the requirements for the 26-week extension) has a collective agreement with a trade union which has agreed that an extended working time bank period is required for the continued operation of the business, an extension to 36 months can be granted (before 2019, this extension limit was 12 months). The company must be able to independently prove that such an extension is required due to the technical or operational structure of the company and in accordance with the law.

See related cases Working time banking period raised in the pandemic situation and Trade unions’ joint positions on COVID-19 measures


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

29 June 2021

Before 29 June 2021, the working time banking period remained in effect until expiry even after the expiry of the collective agreement. Since then, however, due to an amendment of the Labour Code (Act I/2012, par. 94.), the working time banking scheme is annulled three months after the expiry of the collective agreement at the latest.

18 June 2020

On 18 June 2020 the ‘state of danger’ and the regulations relying on it were revoked. However, Act LVIII on post-emergency transitional regulations and pandemic readiness leaves two exceptions to the general rules of the labour code regarding working time banking. First, longer periods set either uni- or bilaterally during the state of danger shall, by default, persist until their expiry. Second, employers may apply for special permission to set a working time bank of up to 24 months in case of investments creating new workplaces and bearing crucial importance to the national economy. Case handling is delegated to the Békés County Government Office.

11 March 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government proclaimed a ‘state of danger’, a type of special legal order, which was in effect from 11 March to 17 June 2020. In this context, they also introduced new temporary provisions (decree 104/2020) allowing employers to set the working time banking period – or raise a previously set period – to 24 months during the emergency. The measure was designed to make working arrangements more flexible for the employer to help protect jobs in companies where business has shut down or work reduced due to the pandemic. This meant that the rules set out in the labour code capping the working time banking period at 4 months (or 6 months in some professions) no longer applied.

Use of measure

There are many sectors (e.g. tourism, manufacturing, and the services industry) where it is useful to apply this method as it provides flexibility for the employer. The system is an important tool in managing the working time as well as the labour costs. The system gives flexibility for the employers because they can better organise employees' working time, better manage human resources and reduce undue personal expenses. It should also be able to help employers weather times of economic recession, such as in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic. The measure can be unpleasant for employees as their workload and wages keep changing. Moreover, it increases the administrative costs of the company because the hours worked by the employees must be recorded. 

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A


Social partner involvement was not identified, the partners voiced their criticism to the measures after they were introduced.

Views and reactions

In April 2020, at a tripartite session, the trade unions expressed their outrage and the employers’ side expressed their bafflement about decree 104/2020 that had made it possible for employers to unilaterally impose a 24-month working time banking period during the “state of danger”. The social partners strongly criticised that the decree had been passed without any previous consultation. They noted that at the previous two tripartite sessions there had been no mention of any plans regarding the new legislation from the government.

In June 2020, the president of the MASZSZ trade union federation expressed the union’s opposition to Act LVIII that made it possible for employers to get special permission to unilaterally reintroduce 24-month working time banking periods indefinitely.

In December 2020, the employers’ side proposed at a tripartite session that employers receive again unlimited authorisation – without the need of applying for special permission – to unilaterally impose a 24-month working time banking period. The motion was uniformly rejected by the trade unions.


  • 06 January 2012: Law I/2012 on the labour code (
  • 01 April 2012: Clauwaert, S. and Schömann, I. (2013), The crisis and national labour law reforms: a mapping exercise. Country report: Hungary, ETUI Working Paper, European Trade Union Institute, Brussels. (
  • 24 February 2016: Így működik a munkaidőkeret (That's how allocated cumulative working time works) (
  • 04 January 2018: Hogyan alkalmazható a munkaidő keret? (How to apply allocated cumulative working time?) (
  • 15 April 2020: Trade union: Government takes revenge with 'new slave law' (
  • 16 April 2020: Egyhangúan elítélték a „nagypénteki rabszolgatörvényt” a szakszervezetek és a munkáltatók / The trade unions and the employers uniformly condemned the “Good Friday slave law (
  • 03 June 2020: Rabszolgatörvény 2.0 - az összes szakszervezet tiltakozik az eltitkolt terv miatt (Slave Act 2.0 – all labour unions protest against the covert plan) (
  • 03 June 2020: The “slave law 2.0” will mean non-stop work and unpaid overtime work: MASZS (
  • 04 December 2020: Employers lobbying for reintroduction of “Good Friday slave law”, the trade unions protes (
  • 14 April 2022: Emergency state: deviating from labour code (


Eurofound (2022), Allocated cumulative working time (working time bank), measure HU-2012-27/2741 (measures in Hungary), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.