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Employee Rights in Hungary

General Employee Rights in Hungary

Health and Safety

Employers are obliged to ensure healthy and safe working conditions for their employees, with no negative impact on their physical, mental, and developmental state.

Employees are not allowed to perform work if they do not have the necessary qualifications or abilities or the adequate knowledge on health and safety provisions and principles. Employers must provide employees with health and safety training on their first day and sign the appropriate documentation.

Employers must set the following health and safety conditions:

  • set the parameters of non-health-threatening and safe working conditions, and bear all the costs of ensuring such conditions
  • set the way of enforcing such conditions
  • prevent occupational risks through initial risk assessment and subsequent measuring of limitation and mitigation
  • provide information and training
  • check the existence and maintaining of such conditions
  • provide necessary work tools
  • consult with employees when new technology is introduced
  • examine all anomalies brought to their attention and do all that is necessary in regard to those matters
  • stop all work process immediately upon any danger arising
  • examine all work-related accidents and sickness
  • ensure all protective tools are in sufficient supply
  • ensure the safety and health of employees
  • attend to any other necessary organisational matters

The employer must guarantee that each employee is provided with appropriate training (in the form of an instructional session).

Employers cover all costs related to ensuring health and safety at work.

Employees have the right to refuse performing work or to stop working when their life/health is in serious and immediate danger and must notify their direct line manager right away.

Under the labour law, the employer must adjust working conditions and working hours in accordance with the changes in the employee’s state of health. For example, the employer must provide the pregnant employee with a new position if the appropriate health and safety working conditions cannot be ensured. If the employer cannot provide another suitable position for the employee, the employee must be exempted from her work duties until her child reaches the age of one.


Protection from harassment

Verbal attacks and insults are the most common form of harassment in the workplace. If the employer is informed that an employee feels any sort of harassment, the employer is obliged to investigate the case. An act of discrimination against another employee can lead to disciplinary liability on the part of the harasser. Harassment of a fellow employee may also be grounds for termination (by a dismissal notice or, in some cases, dismissal with immediate effect).

Under the applicable legislation, only governmental and municipal institutions and organisations are obliged to set up a whistleblowing system. However, other employers can decide whether they want to set up an internal whistleblowing system.

Anti-discrimination

The law prohibits any form of discrimination based on the employee’s gender, age, disability, race, religion, ethnic origin, nationality, sexual orientation, skin colour, political/religious beliefs or any other opinion, union membership or family, financial situation, part-time/fixed-term employment, and any other trait. Furthermore, any decision in connection with an employee must be based on their capability, work effort, or performance only.

Equal treatment

Under the employment terms and conditions, employees have equal rights and must be treated accordingly when they are hired or dismissed, and/or receive a promotion or training to improve professional qualifications. It is especially important in the context of remuneration — equal pay for equal work principle stands in the Hungarian judicial practice.

Union

Employees have the right to be union members to protect their labour and social security interests. Employees may become members and terminate their membership in the union organisation at their discretion, complying only with the articles of association of the trade unions they are members of.

Trade union officials are a protected category of employees whose employment cannot be terminated in certain cases. If an employee falls within that category, the respective trade union authority’s explicit consent is required for employment termination.

Unions may enter into collective agreements that set the rights for all employees.

Should the employer employ more than 50 employees, they are entitled to form a workers’ council, which has some consultancy rights within the employer’s operation.

Data protection GDPR

As part of all other GDPR requirements, employers must handle employees’ data with care and security. Personal data is any information relating to an identified or identifiable individual. Specific provisions aim to protect employees’ data. Employees have a right to the following:

  • See the information held on them
  • Access the information
  • Request the rectification of the information
  • Request the erasure of the information
  • Restrict the processing of the information
  • Request the portability of the information
  • Object to the information being processed

Employers, as data controllers, need to follow six data protection principles when collecting, processing, and storing employees’ data:

  • Ensure the lawfulness, fairness, and transparency of the data
  • Ensure the data use is limited to only the purpose for which the data was collected
  • Minimize the amount of data collected to only that which is necessary
  • Ensure the accuracy of the data
  • Limit the data stored to only that which is required
  • Ensure the integrity and confidentiality of the data

Employers are responsible for and must be able to demonstrate compliance with these principles on an ongoing basis and at any time. In addition, they must implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk.

The special categories of sensitive personal data require a higher level of protection and an additional basis for their collection, storage, and use. The employee’s biometric data may be processed only exceptionally — to identify such employee. The employee’s (or the employee candidate’s) criminal activity–related personal data can be processed by the employer only to verify that the employee is not restricted or excluded from the position to be filled or the position held by the employee.

The employer can control the employee’s conduct in the context of their employment relationship only. As part of this, the employer may use a technical device but must inform the employee in advance.  

As a principle, employees may use the information technology, computer equipment, or system provided by employers only to perform their duties under the employment contract. However, the parties can agree to deviate from this rule. During the control of the employee, the employer may assess data relating to the employment relationship stored on the computer equipment used for performing the work duties.

Protection against dismissal

Certain categories of employees are protected from termination for six months. That includes pregnant employees, employees being on maternity leave or unpaid leave to perform child care, employees performing voluntary military service, or employees undergoing in vitro fertilization.

Employment contract

Employment contracts must be in writing in Hungarian. Only the employee can invoke the invalidity of the employment contract on the grounds of failure to put it in writing, which can happen within only 30 days of the starting date.

Employee salary and job description are mandatory; without them, the employment agreement is deemed invalid.

Nevertheless, the parties may agree to the following essential conditions of the employment as well:

  • Date of execution (the date of signing the contract)
  • Date of commencement (starting date)
  • Employment terms and conditions:
    • Place of work (location or the place where the employee usually completes the assigned work if no location is set)
    • Term of employment (indefinite if the contract sets no term)
    • Type of employment (full time or part time)
    • Probation period (three months maximum)

In addition to these essential parts, a full and sufficient employment contract must contain further conditions. Whether a condition may be left out has to be determined under the Labour Code regulations.

This page was last updated on 
22 September, 2022,
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