It is important to see that the Government has declared a state of emergency throughout the territory of Hungary due to the COVID-19 epidemic causing mass disease, and therefore provides for related measures in government decrees. Thus, under the special legal order, the Government may introduce new rules on the matters covered by this Article, which may even override the following.
There are several decrees concerning the immediate measures adopted to alleviate the economic impacts of the coronavirus epidemic have been published in Magyar Közlöny [Hungarian Gazette].
One, of the most significant decree is adopted new labor law regulations, decree No. 47/2020. (III. 18.) contains very important measures not only for certain sectors but for the whole economy.
Due to the economic downturn resulting from the epidemic, employers need to make quick, accurate, responsible, and last but not least, legitimate decisions for their employees.
According to the government decree, the Labor Code must be applied for the duration of the emergency period and for thirty days after its termination, that the employer may unilaterally assign the employee to work from home or telework. This means, this time there is no statutory limit to the duration of work at home. Before the decree, the total duration of such work might not exceed forty-four working days or three hundred and fifty-two hours per calendar year. Teleworking, which had to be agreed in the employment contract, was made unilaterally ordered by the employer.
A further relief is that the employer may adjust the working time schedule within ninety-six hours before the beginning of the daily work, if there are any unforeseen circumstances in the management or operation of the company.
The decree also contains a rule that the employer may take any necessary and justified measures to control the employee’s state of health.
The decree also contains regulation, that the employer has the right to decide about the ordination of home office alone, without the objection of the employee.
The decree eases the burden on companies operating in certain sectors, such as hospitality, tourism, entertainment, gambling, film, performing arts, event organizer and sports services, by not having to pay the public wage for their employees until June, 2020.
The prime minister stressed the necessity of measures to protect workplaces and warned of a serious wave of unemployment approaching. He asked employers and employees to make personal efforts to preserve jobs.
According to the decree, further regulations will be determined by further regulations.