Changes To The Contract
In accordance with contractual principles, parties shall be entitled to amend employment contracts by mutual consent under the rules relating to the conclusion of employment. The employee has the right to pursue a claim in connection with any amendment of the employment contract implemented by the employer’s unilateral decisions.
There are new relevant rules in this regard:
In the event of any change in the employee’s health, the employer shall adjust in the working conditions and in the work schedule accordingly.
If the conditions of employment in the original job cannot be modified, the employee shall be offered a job fitting for her/her state of health, if the pregnant women unable to work in her original position according to a medical opinion from the time her pregnancy is diagnosed until her child reaches one year of age. The employee shall be given the base wage normally paid for the job offered, which may not be less than her base wage fixed in the employment contract. The base wage shall be payable for the duration of discharge, except if the job offered is refused without adequate reason.
Employers shall amend the employment contract based on the employee’s proposition to part-time work covering half of the regular daily working time until the child reaches the age of four, or the age of six in the case of employees with three or more children.
Change In Ownership Of The Business
When there is a change in ownership of a business the transfer of undertaking rules do not have to be applied.
Social Security Contributions
Wages, salaries and other types of remunerations (including certain in-kind benefits) are subject to social tax payable by the employer and social security contributions payable on behalf and to be deducted from the remuneration of the employee.
The social tax is 15.5%, it is based on the income paid to individuals for dependent and independent services. The tax is to be assessed, declared and paid by the employer monthly by 12th of the month following the month concerned.
The social security contribution covering both the health care and the pension contribution, payable on behalf of the employee is 18.5%. The employer paying the remuneration is required to assess and withhold the tax due from the payment made to the employee. The tax withheld from the payments of the wages and salaries is to be declared electronically and is payable by 12th of the month following the month concerned.
Accidents At Work
Employers must ensure the safety of their employees by providing a safe working environment (e.g. providing protective equipment). The employer is liable to provide compensation for damages caused in connection with the employment relationship including the damages caused by an accident at work. It is also considered as accident at work if the accident happens while the workers are travelling to or from work. It is not compulsory but recommended for the employer to have insurance to cover potential claims by employees in this regard.
Discipline And Grievance
Disciplinary actions may either be regulated by collective bargaining agreements or by the employment agreement. Disciplinary action may only impose such sanction as amends the terms of the employment for a fixed term. The material consequences may not exceed the employee’s monthly salary. Disciplinary actions must be in writing, and decisions must include reasons.
Each natural or legal person has the right to lodge a complaint to the Equal Treatment Authority about the violation of equal rights or to start a legal action at the labour court.
Employees are protected from discrimination on grounds of sex, age, sexual orientation, marital status, race, religion or belief, disability, part-time status and fixed-term status.
Discrimination may occur before the employment relationship commences (for example in advertising the job), during the employment (for example in failing to promote), on termination or even after the employment has ended (for example in writing the reference).
In the case of discrimination on grounds such as sex, race, age or religion, the discrimination may be direct (for example refusing to employ a man or woman), or indirect (for example by imposing a condition which is irrelevant to the job but is such that fewer people of a particular group can qualify). In other instances, such as disability discrimination, there is no specific distinction between direct and indirect discrimination.
The employer is expected to comply with the principle of equal treatment in the following cases:
- access to employment, especially in public vacancy advertisements, hiring, and in the conditions of employment;
- establishment and termination of employment;
- in case of employment equal pay shall be provided for equal work;
- in organizing work or public service, the same conditions shall be created at work service, qualification or vocational training, retraining, and work experience for each employee or civil servant;
- provisions made before the employment or other relationship related to employment have commenced;
- no retribution shall be shown against those who has lodged complaints for discrimination; and
- during grievance procedures and processes aiming to define the liability of the employee for damages caused.
The injured party or their representative has to prove the likelihood of that:
- the injured person or group has suffered disadvantage or the immediate risk of suffering of this exists; and
- the injured person or group possesses a protected characteristic defined in the Equal Treatment Act.
If the injured party has sufficiently evidenced the above circumstances, the respondent has to prove that:
- the circumstances that have been proved to be likely by the injured party do not exist, or
- it has observed, or in respect to the relevant relationship was not obliged to observe, the principle of equal treatment.
If the Equal Treatment Authority has established that the principles of equal treatment have been violated, it may
- order that the situation constituting the violation of law shall be eliminated;
- prohibit the continuation of the violation of law;
- publish its decision establishing the violation of law;
- impose a fine from fifty thousand (cca. EUR 145) to six million HUF (cca. EUR 17,300).
Damage can only be awarded by the labour court, and so to get compensation the victim has to sue the violator at court.
Compulsory Training Obligations
There are no compulsory training obligations for employees generally, but obviously some trades/professions will impose their own standards/expectations.
It is possible for employers to offset earnings against an employee’s debts, but not where such offset would reduce the employee’s salary under the statutory minimum pension. However, the employer may only make a deduction from the employee’s wages if it is required by a statutory or contractual provision; or if the employee has given his prior written consent to the deduction.
Payments For Maternity And Disability Leave
Employees will benefit from certain payments subject to satisfying the relevant necessary requirements. To trigger statutory maternity, pay entitlement, a woman must accrue at least 365 days employment during the two years prior to the birth of the child.
The employees are entitled to 15 days/year sick leave payment. During this period, they receive 70% of their wages.
After sixteen days, regarding disability leave/sickness absence, an employee will be entitled to receive statutory sick pay (which is currently 60% or 50% of the average salary) from the sixteenth day of consecutive absence. The statutory provisions established a daily maximum amount of the sick leave payment.
The first 15 days of the sick leave is paid by the employer, after the sixteenth day the employer has to pay 1/3 of the sick leave payment and the remaining 2/3 is covered by the social security system for the duration of the insurance relationship (i.e. the duration of the employment relationship) for the duration of the incapacity for work, but not exceeding a maximum period of one year.
No compulsory insurance is prescribed by the Hungarian law, other than the statutory social security insurance.
Absence For Military Or Public Service Duties
Employees are entitled to take unpaid leave for military or public service duties.
Works Councils or Trade Unions
There are two different ways to establish a trade union: (i) ten employees may establish an independent trade union, or (ii) they can join an existing external trade union and form a sub section.
An employee who is an official of a trade union (whether independent or external) has certain rights in relation to his employer. For example, dismissal for membership of, or for taking part in the activities of, an independent Trade Union is automatically unfair for the purposes of unfair dismissal and higher awards of compensation may, in some circumstances, be made. Action sort of dismissal of an employee or subjecting an employee to a detriment for membership of, or for taking part in the activities of, an independent Trade Union, gives the employee the right to complain to a tribunal which may award him or her compensation. A Trade Union official has the right to time off work without pay to take part in Trade Union activities. In addition, certain Trade Union officers have the right to take time off with pay for Trade Union duties. The termination of certain Trade Union officers is possible only if the superior body of the local trade union gives it consent.
Under the Hungarian Labour Code employer has a duty to inform the works council regularly on certain issues. In other cases, the prior opinion of the works council shall be sought. The employer shall initiate negotiations with the works council in case of transfer of undertakings and collective redundancies.
Trade unions that are represented in a workplace – meaning that they have a body or representative there - are entitled to exercise various rights including the conclusion of a collective agreement. They also have the right to request information in connection with the employees’ economic and social interests from the employer. In case of an employer’s action or decision from the part of the employer, the trade union is entitled to state its opinion and initiate a consultation in connection thereof.
Employees are entitled to establish a workers’ council if the company has more than 50 employees. In case of 15 employees, employees are entitled to nominate a representative who is called a shop steward.
Employees’ Right To Strike
The Hungarian Constitution provides for the employees’ right to strike, the details are regulated in the Act on Strike. The employees must consult for at least seven days with the employers before going to strike. The seven days period is not required if the employees join a solidarity strike, thus they join a strike of employee working for another employer.
Employees On Strike
Employees on strike may not receive their salary. Members of the works council may neither cooperate in the strike nor encourage the employees on strike. Employees on legal strike are protected, however employers may dismiss the employees if it is proven that the strike was illegal.
Employers’ Responsibility For Actions Of Their Employees
Employers in principle are responsible to a third party for damages caused by their employees related to their employment.