Work on Sundays – Prohibitions, rewards

Hungary: On the short lifetime of the Act prohibiting work on Sunday and simultaneously on the amendment to the provisions on the Sunday premium

It has been roughly a year since the entry into force of the Act prohibiting work on Sundays in the retail sector. The regulation intended to enable employees to spend time with their families at the weekend and preserve their health by providing adequate rest periods. However, the order on Sunday closure proved to be a divisive measure. While many consumers can feel the restriction on their freedom, it was also against the explanation of the law that family businesses may open on Sunday if they carry on their activities in a small commercial establishment. Society remains divided over this issue and the option of a referendum was a real possibility. Considering the social and political situation, the legislator finally revoked the Act prohibiting work on Sunday.

At the same time the provisions on Sunday working were also amended. Employees working on Sunday were entitled to a 50% wage supplement, which could be supplemented by an additional 50% in certain cases irrespective of the exceptional nature of the work. This possibility was terminated by the repeal of the Act. This means that employees may be entitled to a 100% wage supplement but only if required to work on public holidays.

According to current legislation the general measure of the Sunday premium is 50%. However the wage supplement is related to the exceptional nature of the work. Therefore it is questionable whether employees will be entitled to the wage supplement under the new regulation on regular Sunday opening. There is no legal obstacle for the employer to voluntarily establish a higher amount for the Sunday premium than that set by law. The importance of the voluntarily wage supplement can be seen in whether the employer pays a Sunday premium even if they are open every Sunday.

The provisions of local regulation should also be taken into account during establishment of the new opening rules under the new regulatory system because local authorities may provide different night opening times having regard to special local features.

Source: Act XXIII of 2016

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