Changes in the Hungarian Labour Code from 2023
As of 1 January 2023, the Hungarian Labor Code will change significantly under European directives on work-life balance that have not yet been transposed. Some of the changes will enter into force retroactively, given that the transposition obligation expired on 1 August 2022.
Extending paternity leave and introducing parental leave and carer 'leave'
The additional paternity leave provided for by Section 118 of the Labour Code is changed to 10 working days (from the previous 5 days), which does not have to be granted in the year in which it is due, nor does it have to be prorated in the case of employment relationships arising during the year. The rules will already apply to children born on or after 2 August 2022. However, the employee will be only entitled to the absence allowance for the first 5 working days of paternity leave (which the employer can claim back from the Hungarian Treasury), and from the 6th working day onwards, the employee will only be entitled to 40% of the absence allowance.
Up to the age of 3, 44 working days of parental leave can be taken under the leave rules. The leave cannot be granted at the same time as unpaid leave, and is subject to a minimum of 1 year's employment. The employer may postpone the parental leave to be taken, but may not re-schedule it in the employee's place. Parental leave does not have to be granted in the year in which it is due. It is also important to note that under Section 125 of the new Labour Code, parental leave cannot be paid in cash on termination of employment. Parental leave is essentially an unpaid leave, at 10 per cent of the absence allowance, less several other items.
Paternity and parental leave constitute a ban on dismissal.
Furthermore, these new types of leave will extend the range of certificates to be issued at the end of the employment relationship. These certificates must be requested at the start of the employment relationship, as paternity and parental leave can be continued in the new job.
The rules on granting leave change
Under the current regulations, an employee can take a total of 7 days of leave when they want to, the rest is at the employer’s discretion. Under the amended rules, "for reasons of exceptional economic interest or for a reason directly and seriously affecting the operation of the company", the employer may refuse to grant an exception to the 7 days at the time requested by the employee.
The cases of exemption from work are extended
An employee is exempted from work for a maximum of 5 working days per year for the purpose of providing personal care to a relative who needs care due to serious health reasons or to a person living in the same household as the employee.
Shortening of information deadlines
The information period under Section 46 of the Labour Code is shortened and its content is extended. The employer must inform the employee in writing of the most important circumstances of the employment relationship within 7 days from the start of the employment relationship at the latest (instead of the previous 15 days).
The employee can request an easier form of employment
Pursuant to Section 61 of the Labour Code, employers should inform employees of the possibility of full-time, part-time, teleworking, and permanent employment by indicating the job title. Except for the first six months of employment, the employee may request an amendment to their employment contract.
A new provision is that the employees, up to their child’s age of eight, as well as employees providing care (“carers”), may request, except for the first six months of employment:
a) a change in the place of work,
b) a change in their working hours,
c) teleworking, or
d) part-time employment.
The employee must give reasons for the request in writing and indicate the date of the change. The employer shall respond in writing to the employee’s request within 15 days. If the request is rejected, the employer shall give reasons for its refusal. In the case of unlawful refusal or failure to provide the declaration, the court shall replace the employer's statement of consent.
Extension of a fixed-term contract may be subject to an additional probationary period (different job)
In the case of employment in a different job, if the fixed-term employment contract is extended or re-established, the probationary period may be agreed upon again. In the case of employment of fewer than 12 months, the probationary period may be agreed upon for a pro-rata period as a maximum.
Restoration of employment in the case of abuse of rights
The law has extended the rules on abuse of rights. Under Section 7(3) of the Labour Code, in the case of enforcement of a labour law claim based on an infringement of the prohibition of abuse of rights:
- the person asserting the claim proves the facts, circumstances and prejudice underlying the infringement of the prohibition;
- the right holder proves that there is no causal link between the fact or circumstance proved by the person asserting the claim and the prejudice. The cases in which the court may restore the employment relationship are extended (Section 83).
20, December, 2022.
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