Since the start of 2015 a number of changes have come into force regarding employment law in Hungary.

Increased protection for family reasons

Dismissal protection for senior, female employees has been introduced from 1st January, 2015, where they are undergoing fertility treatment. Limited legal protection applies to those in executive positions but women in such positions who are undergoing treatment may not now be lawfully dismissed. Furthermore, any term of the employment contract which suggests otherwise is void.

Another recent change is a new rule that allows employees to insist that their employer allows them to switch to part-time working hours if they are bringing up at least three children under the age of five. Previously, whilst a part time working arrangement could be agreed with the employer on any grounds, access to this for parents was an option only until the child reached the age of three. Employers are now required to accommodate such requests from eligible employees.

New restrictions on Sunday-opening

As part of its agenda to bring about greater work-life balance for employees, the Government has passed legislation, the Act on Prohibition of Work on Sundays in Retail Trade, prohibiting work on Sundays in that sector. The Act will apply from 15th March, 2015, and will mean that regular working time may only be scheduled (save for exceptions outlined below) in accordance with the Act’s limitations. From March, affected retail businesses can only be open on working days between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., on advent Sundays between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., on 24th and 31st December between 6 a.m. and 12 a.m. and on one freely chosen Sunday once a year between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Outside of this provision and the exceptions identified below, all business carrying out retail trade activities must be closed on Sundays.

There are exceptions to the above restrictions upon Sunday-opening, which depend on the type of the business. Exempted retailers include, for example:

  • Pharmacies, shops in international airports or stations, markets, petrol stations, and similar retailers;
  • Shops which exclusively sell baked goods and dairy products are permitted to open between 5 a.m. and 12 a.m. on Sundays and newsstands and florists between 6 a.m. and 12 a.m;
  • Shops in sport institutions may also open during sporting events;
  • Small businesses where the size of the shop is under 200 m2 and is operated by someone who is self-employed or who runs a single member company or small family business.

In addition, Government decrees can modify the opening time of shops in some cities if deemed appropriate