With the amendment to Act I of 2012 on the Hungarian Labour Code effective from 1 January 2019, the rules for unscheduled working hours were extended with the legal concept of voluntary overtime. In this article we will review the most important rules for voluntary overtime.
Increase in annual unscheduled working hours with an agreement on voluntary overtime
According to the general rules in Hungary, the highest number of unscheduled working hours is 250 hours per calendar year. As an additional rule, based on an agreement between the employer and the employee on voluntary overtime a maximum of 150 hours additional unscheduled working hours can be ordered per calendar year.
Based on a collective agreement provision, the highest number of unscheduled working hours is still 300 hours per calendar year according to the general rule. Over and above this, a supplementary rule states that based on an agreement between the employer and the employee on voluntary overtime, up to 100 hours of additional unscheduled work can be ordered per calendar year.
If the employment started during the year and was agreed for a fixed period, or is part-time, you have to bear in mind that the unscheduled working hours must be adjusted proportionally, so in such cases the rules for the maximum annual amount of unscheduled work are applied pro rata.
Voluntary overtime based on consensus between the parties
Voluntary overtime is based on a consensus between the employer and the employee, i.e. the parties can freely decide whether they want to conclude the agreement on the voluntary overtime. An employee cannot be forced to sign an agreement on voluntary overtime.
Any agreement on voluntary overtime has to be concluded in writing
Based on the Hungarian Labour Code, any agreement on voluntary overtime has to be entered into in writing. What is important is that this can take place at any time during the calendar year. The parties have to conclude the agreement on voluntary overtime again every calendar year.
Voluntary overtime and working-hour records
In addition to normal and unscheduled working hours, stand-by duties and holidays, employers must record the number of unscheduled working hours completed based on the agreement on voluntary overtime. Additionally, employers have to keep records on the agreements for voluntary overtime.
Termination of agreement on voluntary overtime
An employee can terminate the agreement on voluntary overtime as of the end of the calendar year, which cannot be penalised by the employer, so this cannot serve as a basis for any detrimental legal consequence or termination of employment.
Employees in Hungary can be motivated to sign an agreement on voluntary overtime by offering them higher remuneration. However, it is important that when concluding an agreement on voluntary overtime and ordering unscheduled working hours based on such agreement, the employer should focus closely on the requirement to ensure healthy and safe working conditions when allocating working hours, and safeguard compliance with general behavioural requirements.
Should you have any questions regarding unscheduled working hours, we are happy to assist you as part of our labour law consulting services.