As a result of the COVID-19, the working from home is the “new normal” for many employees, therefore statutory regulation of distance work has become essential. After the "temporary" rules so far, the Parliament regulated the issues of working from home in December 2021. Based on the new law, the current regulations live on in the Labour Code after the end of the state of emergency, with effect from 1st June 2022. In this article we summarize the most important rules in effect.
1. Telework vs. home office
At the beginning of the pandemic, employers were realised that the Hungarian labour law does not regulate the home office properly, moreover this concept is not even mentioned in the LC[i].
The LC regulated only the institution of telework, however, telework only meant the permanent working from home, so due to the rigid rules, it was not possible to work from home occasionally under these rules.
During the pandemic, in view of the above, only temporary rules were adopted, and employers waited for the proper and permanent home office regulation.
Ultimately, the legislature decided not to set up a separate legal institution about the home office, instead he expanded the rules of telework so that occasional or "hybrid" work from home could be flexibly regulated with this regulation.
According to the change, the text contained in the current provisional government decree replaces the previous rules of telework in the LC.
Therefore, if the employer is thinking about a home office regulation, he can legally do so within the framework of "renewed" telework.
2. Changing of the LC
The agreement on telework shall continue be the part of the employment contract, so the employer cannot unilaterally order it, nor can the employee demand to work from home.
The parties may derogate from the provisions of the LC, therefore they can establish a home office system according to their needs, determine what part of the working time the employee shall spend at home or at the „office”.
If they do not derogate from the provisions of the LC, the following rules apply.
A new element in the regulation of telework is that, unless the parties agreed otherwise, the employee works at the „office” for a maximum of one third of the working days in the current year.
An important change and a significant relief for the employer is the changing of the exercise of the right of control of the employer. Based on the new rules, the employer has the possibility to exercise his right of control remotely with a computer.
The right of instruction of the employer is still only meaning the definition of the tasks to be performed, but this does not result in a flexible working schedule, it shall be determined by the employer.
Since the specific rules are determined by the employer, a policy of the employer shall be necessary for functioning the home office system.
3. The new health and safety rules at work
The LC[ii] sets out different safety and health rules under the new rules in the light of whether the work is carried out by computer. However, most of the basic health and safety rules remain unchanged, so it is still required to be complied with them.
If the employee is working with computer, he may choose the place of work himself based on the prior written instruction of the employer. This could be a danger to the employer, since it is the employer's responsibility to ensure that the place chosen by the employee complies with the health and safety rules. The work can be check remotely by the employer with a computer.
If the employee is working with a non-computer equipment, the place of the telework shall be a place defined in the written agreement of the parties, prior examined by the employer to be comply with the health and safety rules.
If the employee is working with a non-computer equipment, the employer or his agent is obliged to regularly ensure that the conditions and the health and safety rules are fulfilled.
The above rules have put an end to the uncertainty of the home office and, by expanding and making the institution of telework more flexible, the home office also became a part of this institution, whether it is occasional or permanent.
The above amendments, in accordance with the 27/2021 (I.29.) Government Decree, will enter into force at the end of the state of emergency, on 1st June 2022[iii]. Since the current temporary rules will become a part of the LC after the end of the state of emergency, employers can already establish regulations that can be applied in the future.
In connection with the home office, there are several labour and safety rules to be complied with, therefore an employer's policy shall be prepared in connection with the above, for which we always recommend the use of an expert.
[i] Act I of 2012 on the Labour Code
[ii] Act XCIII of 1993 on the Labour Safety
[iii] section 104(4) of the act of CXXX. of 2021 on the regulatory issues in connection with the state of emergency
© International Law Firms 2016-2017 All rights reserved.
3, Montée de Clausen, L - 1343 Luxembourg
Luxembourg Commercial Register Number F-9208.