New chapter in the way we work – the future of the home office

Due to the situation caused by the coronavirus many companies have introduced the home office to enable working from home.

Because of the epidemiological situation, in March 2020 working from home – the home office – became daily routine in the workplace. However, its terms and rules are not regulated by the applicable Hungarian Labour Code. During the coronavirus state of emergency, the home office was introduced for many workplaces. Moreover, current trends show that companies want to take permanent advantage of the flexibility of working from home.

These circumstances have led the legislator to rethink the rules in connection with the home office.

In the near future, reform of the rules of the Hungarian Labour Code and other legislation concerning working from home may be submitted to the Parliament. The goal of the amendment is to ensure both employees’ and employers’ interests. Accordingly the possibility of a home office will only be allowed by mutual agreement between the parties. In future, the employer will also have to provide the employee with all the necessary technical working equipment relevant for working from home. The employer’s right of inspection will only apply for devices made available by the employer. Home workers would receive a tax-free allowance (so-called overhead flat rate) which would cover utility and internet service fees incurred during working hours at home.
The monthly rate would be 10% of the overall minimum wage (currently HUF 16,100, approximately 45 EUR).

The so-called “home-office law package” does not include amendments regarding safety at work, for example as to accidents at the employee’s home. Specialists in labour law have called to the attention of the legislator that this area of law should also be changed in the overall framework of the amendments.

It should also be noted that because of travel restrictions that came into effect on 1 September 2020, non-business travel abroad should be considered since those employees whose working area is not suitable for home-office will not be entitled to sickness benefits if they are forced into quarantine on their return.

Source: Government Decree No. 47/2020. (III.18.), Government Decree No. 140/2020. (IV. 21.), Government Decree No. 217/1997 (XII. 1.)

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