According to a recently published draft of Labour Code amendments, Act I from 2012 of the Labour Code is expected to be amended with the effective date of 1 January 2016 (the "Amendment"). Although the Amendment is only in draft form and has not yet been accepted by the Hungarian Parliament, it is an important indication of the probable changes in Hungarian employment regulations.
The main changes proposed by the Amendment address the following:
- Electronic documents: The Amendment makes it clear that a qualified electronic signature (minősített elektronikus aláírás) is not required under the law. However, where a contract of employment, an amendment to a contract of employment or a termination notice has been prepared in an electronic document, the employer must also provide the employee with a hard copy within 5 days.
- Information on place of work: The Amendment adds a requirement that if an employment contract is silent about the place of work, the information notice must include information on the employee's usual place of work.
- Withdrawal of a regular notice of termination: Under the Labour Code employees, who are pregnant or participate in fertility treatment, are protected from redundancy. The Amendment provides a right for employers to unilaterally withdraw the termination notice in 15 days if they learn the protected status following the communication of the notice.
- Consequences of an unfair termination of employment: In accordance with the Amendment, if an employer terminates an employment relationship in an unfair manner, the employee – instead of claiming lost salary and other damages – can demand a lump sum compensation equal to twice the employee's absence pay calculated for the duration of the notice period.
- Calculation of lost salary: The Amendment clarifies the method for calculating lost salary. Lost salary is to be calculated as the average of the salary and the regular benefit(s) paid to the employee for the four calendar quarters prior to the event serving as the basis for the damages claims or the date when the employment was terminated (whichever occurs earlier).
- Reinstatement: The Amendment also expands the circumstances when a court can reinstate an employment relationship due to unfair termination. Under the Amendment, reinstatement could also be applied where there has been an abuse of rights ("joggal való visszaélés") by the employer.
- Working time: The Amendment proposes a number of clarifications in relation to working time, including new definitions and modifications to the rules on how working time can be scheduled.
- Maternity protection: Pursuant to the Amendment, in the case of single parents, night work will be permitted with the consent of the employee. Night work remains prohibited during pregnancy.
- Annual leave: The Amendment expands the cases when an employee is entitled to annual leave when the employment relationship is suspended.
- Liability for damages: The rules on liability of employers in relation to employees’ relatives (which is typical in case of serious personal injury claims by the employee) will be covered by the normal rules of liability under civil law, not the Labour Code.