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COVID-19 State of emergency is over: Are the employment regulations previously introduced in response to the emergency situation still applicable?

  • Hungary
  • General

26-06-2020

COVID-19
State of emergency is over:

Are the employment regulations previously introduced in response to the emergency situation still applicable?
26 June 2020
Following the decision of the Parliament and the Government, the state-of-emergency ended in Hungary on 17 June at midnight. The Parliament adopted the Act LVIII of 2020 on the transitional rules and “epidemiological preparedness” related to the termination of the state of emergency. The Act includes many transitional regulations, which also affect the employment regulations that were introduced during the state of emergency.
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Employment regulations after state of emergency
Act II of 2012 on the Labour Code (‘Labour Code’) was indeed applicable during the state of emergency, however, deviation from the Labour Code was possible in the following matters. From now, these special rules will be abolished, and they can only be applied until 1 July 2020:

1.    The employer is entitled to amend the employees’ work schedule with derogation of the provision set forth in Section 97 paragraph 5 of the Labour Code meaning that communicated work schedule can be modified at any time in case of unforeseen circumstances occurred in business.
2.    The employer is entitled to unilaterally instruct employees to work remotely or work in home office.
3.    The employer is entitled to take the necessary and justified measures in order to check the employees state of health. For example, the employer might require the employee to go to a doctor.
4.    The employee and the employer are entitled to conclude an agreement to deviate from the provisions of Labour Code.
In addition, the employer was entitled to order a 24-month working time banking period during the state of emergency and this was not conditional on a collective agreement in place with the trade union. According to the transitional regulations from now, it is not possible to order such a long working time banking period. However, the termination of state of emergency does not affect the introduced working time banking period.

How long can state wage subsidies be applied for?
In light of the pandemic emergency, the Government has introduced two types of state wage subsidies, which have been available since 16 April 2020, and from 29 April the application has been simplified and the conditions have become more favourable.

One type of support is available to employers of research and development employees (R&D) and the other tis available to employees and employers who agree to apply reduced working hours as defined in the applicable government decree. Please see our previous newsletters in these topics, which are available here and here.

After the end of state of emergency, the wage subsidies can be applied for until 31 August 2020 and the provisions of the Government Decree on the wage subsidy for part-time and R&D employees are applicable until 31 December 2020.

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