Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure HU-2020-12/659 – Updated – measures in Hungary
|Country||Hungary , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Open ended, started on 19 March 2020|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Changes of working hours or work arrangements
|Author||Nóra Krokovay (KOPINT-Tárki) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||16 April 2020 (updated 15 June 2022)|
Under Section 6 of the government decree 47/2020 (18 March), the employer may deviate from the Labour Code or from any part of an existing collective agreement in making new working arrangements involving working schedules, ordering employees to work remotely (home office) and in any other aspect necessary in connection with health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic. The aim of the measure is to allow the employer to make flexible changes in work conditions rather than lay off workers in the adverse economic climate of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The measure applies to all employees working under the legal status regulated by the Labour Code (Act. 1/2012). The employer can change working arrangements, for example order remote work unilaterally. The employer may carry out any measures necessary to ensure the worker’s health and safety during the pandemic. The employer and the employee can make any new arrangement by agreement even if it contradicts the provisions of the Labour Code. Some of the more important issues experienced by workers during the COVID crisis are the options available to the employer for sending employees home and paying reduced wages or none at all. In human services-heavy sectors where work has become impossible, unpaid leave or "standby" status are common.
Some 2-3% of employees were involved in teleworking before COVID-19. This jumped to 17% or 750,000 in May 2020 and dropped back to 5.3% in August 2020. In March 2021, one year after the initial outbreak, teleworking went up to 16% and in May 2021 dropped to 9%. Some 300,000 said they worked from home regularly and 450,000 occasionally. The overall rate was 3.6% in Hungary, but 74% among the high skilled. There is a higher representation of teleworking among women and in cities, according to an official of the Ministry for Information and Technology (9 July 2021).
In averages of three months’ in 2021, the rates were as follows, according to data from the Central Statistical Office (KSH).
Employees in standard employment
||Does not apply to businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Company / Companies
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
Social partners were not consulted, but trade union confederations have signed a joint statement protesting this new measure, arguing that it is putting too much of the economic burden suffered from COVID-19 on employees.
Unions and employer organisations had held talks and made proposals for the new telework regulations, but the new legislation is still not on the agenda of the government. Trade union confederation MASZSZ and the Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers (VOSZ) both voiced concern that the bill - flagged for the autumn of 2020 - was still unprepared. VOSZ said that a lack of clear legislation in this respect will make it less likely that companies can grow and keep their employees.
In July 2020, LIGA trade union confederation said teleworking and remote work should be regulated as part of the Labour Code and they should apply for all kinds of telework, not just computer-based ones. They did not agree that work from home should be unilaterally ordered by the employer and would also set a higher limit for the monthly compensation payable. The new regulations published in November did not meet unions' expectations, they want to make monthly compensation compulsory. The VDSZ trade union said the biggest problem was that rules about telework and remote work overlap and are confusing. VDSZ repeated its calls in March 2021 for support for parents who stay at home because of school lockdowns. Under current temporary regulations, parents can stay at home if the employer agrees, but no compensation is paid. Holidays can be taken but only at the expense of their regular holidays. Four trade union confederations have complained in a joint call that the measure creates new kinds of “dependencies” for the worker, as the employer has gained too much flexibility in the arrangement of working conditions. By temporarily suspending the protections laid down in the Labour Code, the measure puts disproportionate burdens on employees which should not be the aim of this regulation, they said.
These four trade union confederations are as follows:
Eurofound (2020), New working arrangements (eg. telework) due to pandemic, measure HU-2020-12/659 (measures in Hungary), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/HU-2020-12_659.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.