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Discover everything you need to know about Hungary

Hire in Hungary at a glance

Here ares some key facts regarding hiring in Hungary

Hungarian Forint
GDP growth
GDP world share
Payroll frequency
Working hours
40 hours/week

Overview in Hungary

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Hungary, a landlocked country in Central Europe, is bordered by seven countries and features diverse terrain including the Great Hungarian Plain and the Northern Hungarian Mountains. The Danube River and Lake Balaton are significant geographical features that contribute to Hungary's economy and tourism. Historically, Hungary was established by the Magyars in the 9th century and has undergone various governance forms, from Ottoman rule to being part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and later a Soviet satellite state. Since 1989, Hungary has transitioned to a democratic republic and joined the European Union in 2004.

The population of Hungary is approximately 9.7 million, predominantly Hungarian and Christian. The country has a developed market economy with major industries in machinery, electronics, and automotive manufacturing. Hungary's workforce is well-educated, with a strong presence in STEM fields and high English proficiency among younger generations.

The service sector is the largest employer, with significant contributions from tourism, finance, and IT. The industrial sector is also robust, particularly in automotive manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. Agriculture, though declining, remains important in rural areas. Hungarian workplaces value direct communication, formal relationships initially, and have a hierarchical organizational structure. Family is highly prioritized, influencing work commitments and workplace flexibility.

Emerging sectors in Hungary include IT, renewable energy, and shared service centers, which are attracting significant investment due to the skilled workforce and competitive costs. The country's strategic location makes it a key logistics hub in Central Europe.

Taxes in Hungary

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In Hungary, employers are responsible for various taxes and social contributions, including a 13% social contribution tax (Szocho) which funds healthcare and pensions, and a rehabilitation contribution for employers with less than 5% of employees with disabilities. Employees face mandatory deductions such as a 15% Personal Income Tax and 18.5% for social security, with potential deductions for family tax benefits, home buying, and personal pension contributions.

The VAT system in Hungary includes a standard rate of 27%, with reduced rates for specific goods and services, and exemptions for sectors like healthcare and education. Businesses must register for VAT if revenue exceeds HUF 12 million annually, and adhere to specific VAT rules for imported services.

Hungary offers corporate incentives like a low 9% Corporate Income Tax rate and R&D tax breaks, alongside job creation subsidies and other sector-specific incentives. The country also has a competitive tax credit system for film production and reduced rates for Social Security Contributions for R&D activities. Local Business Tax is capped at 2%, and double taxation treaties help prevent dual taxation on international income.

Leave in Hungary

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In Hungary, the Labour Code mandates a minimum of 20 working days of paid annual leave for employees, increasing with age. Employers can schedule leave but must agree mutually on the timing with employees, ensuring at least 14 consecutive days once per year and accommodating at least 7 days as per the employee's request. Unused leave can carry over with limits, and any accrued but unused leave must be compensated upon termination.

Employers are required to maintain accurate records of leave. Hungary observes several national holidays, including March 15th for the 1848 Revolution, August 20th for St. Stephen's Day, and October 23rd for the 1956 Revolution. Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas are also public holidays.

Other types of leave include sick leave, paid at 70% for up to 15 days, maternity leave for 24 weeks, paternity leave for 5 days, and parental leave until the child's third birthday, with potential financial support. Employees may also request unpaid leave for personal reasons, education, or to care for family members.

Benefits in Hungary

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Hungary's social security system includes mandatory contributions from both employers and employees, funding benefits such as pensions, healthcare, and paid time off. Employers contribute 10% towards pensions and 7.5% for healthcare, while employees contribute 10% for pensions and 4.5% for healthcare. Benefits include a state pension dependent on contribution history, a minimum of 20 days of paid annual leave, and 24 weeks of paid maternity leave. Additionally, Hungary offers optional cafeteria plans allowing employees to allocate pre-tax salary for benefits like transportation and cultural events. Employers may also provide supplementary benefits such as private health insurance and life insurance. The healthcare system is funded through compulsory health insurance managed by the National Health Insurance Fund, with optional private health insurance available for faster or broader treatment options. The retirement system combines a mandatory public pension with voluntary pension funds, offering tax advantages and a variety of investment choices to enhance retirement savings.

Workers Rights in Hungary

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In Hungary, employment termination and workplace regulations are comprehensively governed by the Hungarian Labour Code and other specific laws. Termination can occur due to employee conduct, operational reasons, or health status, with varying notice requirements and severance pay conditions based on the length of employment and reason for dismissal. Anti-discrimination laws protect against workplace discrimination on multiple grounds, including sex, race, and age, with mechanisms in place for redress through the Equal Treatment Authority and courts.

Employers have significant responsibilities to prevent discrimination and ensure a safe, healthy work environment. This includes implementing non-discriminatory policies, providing ergonomic workstations, and adhering to strict safety protocols. Work conditions are regulated to include standard work hours, required rest periods, and ergonomic requirements to prevent work-related injuries.

Overall, Hungarian employment law emphasizes fair treatment, safety, and health in the workplace, aligning with EU directives to protect workers' rights and well-being.

Agreements in Hungary

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Types of Employment Contracts in Hungary

  • Indefinite-Term Employment Contracts: Most common, offering job security without a specified end date. Termination requires a notice period based on employee seniority.

  • Fixed-Term Employment Contracts: Used for temporary or project-based work with a clear start and end date, not exceeding five years.

  • Assignment Contracts: Involves individuals working as sole traders, invoicing the company for services, beneficial for employers due to lower tax and social contributions but regulated to prevent misuse.

Key Clauses in Employment Agreements

  • Core Employment Details: Includes identification of parties, role definition, term of employment, and qualifications.

  • Compensation and Benefits: Outlines salary, payment frequency, working hours, overtime, vacation, and sick leave.

  • Termination Clauses: Specifies grounds for termination, notice periods, and severance details.

  • Dispute Resolution: Establishes procedures for handling disagreements.

Additional Contractual Features

  • Probationary Periods: Maximum of three months, extendable to six months via collective bargaining, with flexibility for shorter periods and easier termination conditions.

  • Confidentiality and Non-Compete Clauses: Protect employer's information and restrict post-employment competitive activities, with specific regulations on duration and compensation for non-compete clauses.

Remote Work in Hungary

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  • Overview of the Labour Code: Act No. XXII of 2012, known as the Labour Code, governs employment in Hungary, primarily designed with traditional office settings in mind and does not specifically address remote work.

  • Employment Contract: It is crucial for contracts to specify the nature of the work arrangement, including remote work, to manage expectations and clarify responsibilities.

  • Work Hours and Compensation: Remote workers are subject to the same standard work hours and minimum wage requirements as stipulated in the Labour Code. Employers must track work hours effectively.

  • Health and Safety: Employers are responsible for ensuring a safe work environment for remote employees, which may include ergonomic guidelines for home setups.

  • Technological Infrastructure: Essential for remote work, with a need for reliable connectivity and appropriate tools. Employers may need to provide support like internet stipends, especially in areas with poor connectivity.

  • Employer Responsibilities: In the absence of specific remote work regulations, employers should develop clear remote work policies, provide training, and support to manage performance and maintain a positive work culture.

  • Additional Considerations: Employers should address potential challenges such as work-life balance and feelings of isolation among remote workers. Flexitime and job sharing are not specifically regulated but can be arranged through agreements.

  • Challenges and Considerations: The variability in internet infrastructure across regions and the lack of specific regulations for flexible work arrangements require clear communication and well-defined contracts.

  • Data Protection in Remote Work: Employers must comply with data protection laws, ensuring security measures like encryption and access controls are in place and being transparent about data usage with employees.

  • Employee Rights: Employees have rights to access and correct their personal data and expect confidentiality and proper use of their data.

  • Best Practices for Secure Remote Work: Includes implementing strong password policies, encrypting data, maintaining separate work and personal devices, and establishing clear procedures for data breach reporting.

Working Hours in Hungary

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In Hungary, the standard full-time workweek is 40 hours, typically spread over five days with 8-hour shifts, usually between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Part-time work has no statutory minimum hours but cannot exceed 8 hours daily. The legal maximum for working hours is 48 per week, including overtime, which is regulated to prevent excessive workloads. Employers can mandate up to 250 hours of overtime annually, which can increase to 300 hours with a collective agreement, and an additional 150 voluntary hours, totaling a maximum of 400 hours.

Overtime must be compensated at 150% of the regular rate on weekdays and 200% on weekends and public holidays, or alternatively, employees can opt for equivalent time off. Certain groups, such as pregnant women, minors, and those with specific medical conditions, are exempt from mandatory overtime.

Employees are entitled to breaks and rest periods to ensure well-being and productivity. Breaks of 20 to 45 minutes are mandated depending on the length of the workday, and daily rest must be a minimum of 11 uninterrupted hours, potentially reduced to 8 hours for certain jobs. Weekly rest periods must include two days, totaling at least 48 consecutive hours, with one Sunday per month.

Night work, defined as work between 10 PM and 6 AM, warrants a wage premium of at least 15% if exceeding one hour. Night workers require regular health checkups. Saturdays are regular workdays, while Sundays are rest days, with weekend work requiring employee consent or collective agreement, compensated by at least a 50% wage premium or time off.

Overall, Hungarian labor laws emphasize flexibility in work hours, protection against excessive workloads, and ensuring adequate rest and compensation for employees.

Salary in Hungary

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Understanding competitive salaries in Hungary is essential for attracting and retaining skilled employees. Factors influencing these salaries include industry, experience, location, company size, and market demand. For instance, IT professionals and those in Budapest generally earn more. Employers and job seekers can research salary levels through salary surveys, job boards, and recruitment agencies.

Hungary has a government-mandated minimum wage, updated to HUF 266,800 for unskilled workers and HUF 326,000 for skilled workers as of December 1, 2023. Salaries must be paid in Hungarian Forint and typically on a monthly basis by the 10th of the following month.

Employers are required to provide certain benefits such as medical exams, safety training, paid time off, and pension contributions. Many also offer additional perks like bonuses, insurance, meal and transportation allowances, and flexible work arrangements to enhance job satisfaction and competitiveness in the labor market.

Termination in Hungary

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In Hungary, the Labour Code (Act I of 2012) outlines the regulations for employment termination, including notice periods, severance pay, and types of termination.

Notice Periods:

  • The statutory minimum notice period varies based on the employee's length of service, ranging from 30 days for 0-3 years of service to 90 days for over 20 years.
  • Notice periods can be modified in employment contracts but must not be shorter than seven days or longer than six months.
  • Exceptions include termination for cause and mutual agreement, where notice periods can be waived.

Severance Pay:

  • Employees are eligible for severance pay after at least three years of continuous employment, with the amount based on their length of service.
  • Severance pay is calculated from the employee's average gross earnings and is additional to any other owed payments.
  • Severance pay is not granted in cases such as misconduct, inability unrelated to health, retirement, or if the employer ceases operations without a successor.

Types of Termination:

  • Termination by Notice: Both parties can end the employment with a notice specifying the termination date.
  • Termination for Cause: Allows immediate termination by the employer without notice due to serious misconduct or inability to perform duties.
  • Mutual Agreement: Both parties can agree to end the employment at any time.

Termination Process:

  • Involves issuing a written notice, adhering to the notice period, and settling all final payments including compensation for unused leave.
  • Special protections are in place for certain groups like pregnant women or employee representatives, and documentation of termination reasons is crucial.

Legal Recourse:

  • Employees can challenge unlawful dismissals in labor court.

Freelancing in Hungary

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In Hungary, distinguishing between employees and independent contractors is essential due to differences in rights, obligations, and tax implications. Employees are governed by the Labour Code (Act I of 2012), while independent contractors operate under the Civil Code (Act V of 2013). Key factors in worker classification include the level of control by the employer, integration into the organization, provision of tools, ability to subcontract, financial dependence, and the nature of tasks.

Misclassification can result in legal and financial penalties for employers. Independent contractors typically enter into mandate agreements, focusing on delivering specific results with greater autonomy. Contract negotiation for independent contractors should address payment terms, scope of work, and intellectual property rights, with the possibility of using non-disclosure agreements to protect sensitive information.

Freelancers in Hungary must navigate tax obligations and social security contributions, with options like the Simplified Registration Scheme (KATA) providing a fixed tax rate but requiring adherence to revenue limits. Additional voluntary social security contributions can offer further protection. Insurance, such as professional liability and property insurance, is also advisable to mitigate potential risks associated with freelance work.

Health & Safety in Hungary

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  • Overview of Hungarian Health and Safety Laws: Hungary's health and safety regulations are governed by Act XCIII of 1993 on Occupational Safety and Health, The Fundamental Law of Hungary (2011), and The Labor Code (Act I of 2012), aligning with EU directives to ensure safe working conditions for all employees.

  • Employer Responsibilities: Employers are mandated to identify hazards, implement safety measures, maintain a safe work environment, provide PPE, and educate employees about safety practices. They must also document and report accidents and consult with employees on safety matters.

  • Employee Rights: Employees are entitled to safe work conditions, necessary training, and the right to refuse unsafe work. They can participate in safety decision-making without facing repercussions for raising concerns.

  • Enforcement and Regulatory Bodies: The National Labor Inspectorate oversees compliance, conducts inspections, and can issue fines or sanctions. Sector-specific bodies manage safety in industries like mining and nuclear energy.

  • Specific Standards and Measures: Hungarian laws cover a range of workplace hazards including physical, chemical, and psychosocial risks, requiring employers to adopt preventive measures and provide occupational health services.

  • Employee Training and Involvement: Employers must conduct comprehensive safety training and establish safety committees in larger workplaces. Employees have rights to access all relevant safety information and participate in safety management.

  • Inspection Types and Procedures: Inspections can be routine, targeted, or follow-up, with processes involving employer notifications, workplace walkthroughs, and interviews, culminating in a formal report and required corrective actions.

  • Accident Reporting and Investigation: Employers must report and investigate workplace accidents, using standardized forms and documenting findings. The Labor Inspectorate may also conduct investigations, especially in cases of serious accidents or suspected negligence.

  • Compensation and Insurance: Injured workers receive benefits through Hungary's social security system, and employers carry liability insurance. Workers can also seek additional compensation through civil lawsuits for accidents caused by employer negligence.

Dispute Resolution in Hungary

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Hungary's labor court system is designed to handle employment-related disputes, including individual and collective labor issues, with a structure that includes Regional Labor Courts, the Labor Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court for final appeals. The system encourages conciliation before formal adjudication, with arbitration as a voluntary alternative.

Labor audits and inspections are conducted by the National Labor Authority to ensure compliance with labor regulations, focusing on areas like wages, working hours, and occupational safety. These audits can lead to fines, corrective actions, or more severe consequences for non-compliance.

Hungary also has robust mechanisms for reporting labor violations, including internal channels for organizations with over 50 employees, as mandated by the Whistleblower Protection Act, and external channels through various authorities. Whistleblowers are protected against retaliation and have rights to confidentiality and legal assistance.

Additionally, Hungary adheres to international labor standards as a member of the EU and the ILO, influencing its domestic labor laws to align with international conventions and treaties. This includes commitments to non-discrimination, fair remuneration, and prohibition of forced and child labor, continuously harmonizing its laws with international best practices.

Cultural Considerations in Hungary

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Understanding communication and negotiation styles in Hungary is essential for effective professional interactions. Here are the key aspects:

  • Directness: Hungarians are direct in communication, valuing clear and concise messages. They are straightforward and factual, which might seem blunt to outsiders.

  • Formality: The Hungarian workplace is hierarchical, with a top-down decision-making process. Formality is observed, especially in using titles and polite phrases during interactions.

  • Non-Verbal Cues: Direct eye contact is important, and personal space is respected. Subtle non-verbal cues like pursed lips or raised eyebrows can indicate disagreement.

  • Cultural Considerations: Building personal relationships is crucial in business, and humor is appreciated, though cultural sensitivity is important. Negotiations are seen as cooperative, aiming for win-win outcomes, with a focus on long-term relationships.

  • Negotiation Strategies: Hungarians value logical arguments supported by data, take time to build relationships before discussing business, and consider long-term implications in negotiations.

  • Cultural Norms in Negotiations: Respect for hierarchy and indirect expressions of disagreement are common. Patience is essential as negotiations can be lengthy.

  • Hierarchy in Business: Hungary has a high Power Distance Index, indicating a strong hierarchical structure in workplaces. This affects decision-making, team dynamics, and leadership styles, often leading to a top-down approach and directive leadership.

  • Public Holidays and Observances: Understanding national and local holidays is important for respecting cultural practices and planning business activities accordingly. Most public holidays involve business closures and are rooted in historical or religious significance.

Overall, success in Hungarian business contexts relies on understanding and adapting to direct communication styles, hierarchical structures, and the importance of personal relationships and cultural norms.

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