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Hours of Work in Hungary

General

Standard hours

Working time is defined as the time from the start to the end of the prescribed work period. It includes preparatory or finishing activities — tasks that the employee is required to carry out regularly and without any special instructions while following their obligations (e.g., setting up machines, putting out goods). The duration of travelling from the employee’s place of residence to the workplace and back is not part of the working time.

The daily working time can be set as full time or part time (less than 8 hours), based on an agreement between the parties.

The minimum of full-time working time is 4 hours per day. In the case of part-time work, there is no statutory minimum, but the daily duration may not exceed 8 hours, which is considered full-time work. An employee’s maximum weekly working time is 48 hours, both full time and part time.

Maximum hours

For full-time jobs, the daily working time is 8 hours, which may be increased to 12 hours. This can happen if the employee has a “stand by” job and is the employer’s/owner’s relative (who would be permitted to extend daily working hours).

Overtime compensation

Overtime work means (1) work performed outside of regular working hours, (2) working time exceeding the limit of working hours determined by the working time frame, or (3) the duration of a stand-by obligation. Salary supplements must be paid in addition to the employee’s salary for ordinary working hours (section “Salary”). A maximum total of 250 hours of overtime work per calendar year may be ordered.

Break rights

In general, breaks are not part of the working time. The following obligatory rest periods during the working hours apply in standard cases:

  • 20 minutes’ break if the duration of the scheduled daily working time exceeds six hours
  • additional 25 minutes’ break if the duration of the scheduled daily working time exceeds nine hours

Daily and weekly rest

The employer must provide the employee with at least 11 hours of uninterrupted daily rest between the end of the work and the start of the next working day. In special cases, the daily rest period may be reduced from 11 hours to 8 hours (e.g., uninterrupted, multi-shift, seasonal, or on-call work).

The employee is entitled to two days of rest per week (weekly rest days), which can be distributed unequally. If a working time frame is used, at least one weekly rest day must be allocated after six consecutive working days. Instead of weekly rest days, the employee is entitled to an uninterrupted weekly rest period of at least 48 hours. The weekly rest period shall be scheduled once a month on a Sunday.

Overtime work means (1) work performed outside of regular working hours, (2) working time exceeding the limit of working hours determined by the working time frame, or (3) the duration of a stand-by obligation. Salary supplements must be paid in addition to the employee’s salary for ordinary working hours (section “Salary”). A maximum total of 250 hours of overtime work per calendar year may be ordered.

In general, Hungarian employment contracts are concluded for an indefinite period. In case of fixed-term contracts, the maximum duration is five years (including the extended employment contract). The maximum probation duration is three months, but a collective agreement can define a six-month probation period.

Working time schedule

As a principle, working time is scheduled by the employer, considering the need for health and safety working conditions and the nature of the work. Generally, working hours are scheduled five days a week, Monday to Friday.

In special cases, the employer may delegate (in writing) to the employee the right of scheduling working hours due to the independent nature of the employee’s position (flexible work schedule). The flexible work schedule does not mean that the employer can instruct the employee to perform certain tasks at a specific time or period because of their specific nature.

The other option is a more flexible work schedule, where the employee’s working time is determined using a working time frame. The start and end date of the working time frame must be set in writing, published, and communicated to the employee at least seven calendar days in advance. If the employer misses this deadline, the last work schedule will apply for the next period. The employer may, in the event of unforeseeable management or operations circumstances, modify the working time frame at least four days in advance. The maximum duration of the working time frame is four months or 16 weeks. A longer working time frame may be scheduled for employees engaged in only specific types of work (e.g., uninterrupted, multi-shift, seasonal, or on-call work). The actual period to be worked within the time frame is determined based on the duration of the working time frame, the daily working time (full or part time), and the general working hours (Monday to Friday). In case of working time frame, working time can be allocated unequally.

Apart from a working time frame, the employee’s work may be scheduled in such a way whereby the employee completes the weekly working time scheduled based on the daily working time and the standard work scheduled over a longer period that the employer has determined, beginning on the given week (payroll period).

The length of the payroll period should be determined according to the same rules as the length of the working time frame

Time tracking obligations

As stipulated by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 2019, employers in every EU member country must set up an objective, reliable, and accessible system to enable them to measure the duration of time worked each day by their employees. The objective is to control the number of employees who work overtime and the state of their health, and make sure they are paid accordingly (in countries with statutory overtime pay) and not exceed the maximum hours worked (for countries not offering opt-out options to employees).

The employer may leave the time-tracking to the employee. However, if an employer notices that this approach does not work, they must intervene.

Penalties

As the ECJ ruling is fairly recent, it remains to be seen whether further and stricter sanctions will be imposed if a working time recording system is not introduced.

This page was last updated on 
22 September, 2022,
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