New opportunity for employers – applying a working timeframe up to 24 months
By the Governmental Decree no. 104/2020.(IV.10.) the Hungarian Government created an opportunity for the employers to differ from the general provisions of the Labour Code and so to apply a working timeframe up to 24 months. These provisions enable employers to unilaterally apply working timeframe that is long enough to balance the workload.
The state of emergency slowed down the business turnover, which reduced the workload at many employers, however, it is expected that after the state of emergency the economic recovery will increase the workload at many companies. This kind of duality can be balanced by a long-term working timeframe. In case of applying working timeframe, the employer is entitled to determine the working time based on the total daily working time and the working days of the period of the working timeframe, while the daily working time can be distributed unequally. Consequently, the employer can schedule the working time of the employees in a flexible way to follow the unequal workload. (That means if 24 months working timeframe is applied then the employer can adapt to the specific circumstances becomes authorised to flexibly schedule and distribute the working time in terms of the working days and the daily working hours.)
The two years long working timeframe is uniquely long, however, it enables the employer to balance the high rate of oscillation in the its business turnover. (For example, for the period of a downtime the employer can schedule rest days or distribute the daily working hours during these periods for less than the daily 8 hours. Accordingly, the employer can offset the lost working time by longer daily working time or by more working days instead of ordering overtime.)
Although the application of working timeframe enables the employer to calculate and balance the worktime in terms of the whole period, nevertheless, the possibilities for the employers are not unlimited. The abovementioned governmental decree expressly requires compliance with the general rules on distributing the working time which means the daily working time of the employees shall not be shorter than four hours and shall not be longer than twelve hours (except in case of part time employees) while the weekly working hours shall not be longer than forty-eight hours. Furthermore, the employers comply with the general rules on the compulsory daily and weekly working time.
Nevertheless, the provisions on application of the long-term working timeframe can be a serious support for the employers either in scheduling the working time depending on the workload or in retaining the jobs.