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Working Hours and Overtime Regulations

Understand the laws governing work hours and overtime in Hungary

Standard working hours

In Hungary, the standard for full-time work is 40 hours per week, spread over five days. This translates to an 8-hour workday, with a typical schedule falling between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. However, there is flexibility in scheduling within these parameters.

There's no statutory minimum set for part-time work in Hungary. However, the daily working hours cannot exceed 8 hours, which is considered full-time by law.

There's a legal restriction on the maximum working hours an employee can work, regardless of full-time or part-time status. The maximum is set at 48 hours per week.


In Hungary, labor law regulates overtime work to protect employees from excessive workloads. Overtime work refers to any work performed beyond the standard working hours. It can take three forms: work performed outside regular hours, exceeding working time limits, and standby duty.

There are annual limitations on the amount of overtime work an employee can be required to perform. Employers can mandate a maximum of 250 hours of overtime work per year. If a collective agreement exists between the employer and a union, the maximum mandated overtime can be increased to 300 hours per year. In written agreement with the employee, employers can request an additional 150 hours of voluntary overtime per year, bringing the total to a maximum of 400 hours. It's important to note that employees cannot be forced to work voluntary overtime.

Overtime work must be compensated at a higher rate than regular working hours. The specific rate depends on when the overtime is performed. Employees receive a 150% wage supplement on their regular hourly rate for overtime work performed on weekdays outside of regular working hours. Overtime work on weekends and public holidays attracts a 200% wage supplement on top of the regular hourly rate. There's an alternative to paying a wage supplement: employees can negotiate time off in lieu of receiving the wage supplement for overtime work. However, the time off provided must be equal to the time spent working overtime.

Certain groups of employees are exempt from being mandated to work overtime. These include pregnant women from the beginning of pregnancy until their child reaches 3 years old, employees under the age of 18, and employees with documented medical conditions that would be aggravated by overtime work.

Rest periods and breaks

In Hungary, labor law ensures that employees are entitled to rest periods and breaks to promote their well-being and productivity.

Daily Breaks

Employees are entitled to breaks during their workday, although these breaks are typically unpaid. The minimum break time depends on the scheduled daily working hours:

  • If the workday exceeds 6 hours, employees must receive a minimum of 20 minutes break.
  • For workdays exceeding 9 hours, employees are entitled to an additional 25 minutes break, bringing the total minimum break time to 45 minutes.
  • The employer and employee can agree on a longer break period through the employment contract or a collective bargaining agreement, with a maximum of 60 minutes.

Daily Rest

Hungarian law mandates a minimum of 11 uninterrupted hours of rest between the end of one workday and the start of the next. This ensures sufficient recovery time for employees. In specific circumstances, such as shift work or seasonal work, this daily rest period can be reduced to 8 hours.

Weekly Rest

Employees are entitled to two rest days per week, offering them a break from work for at least 48 consecutive hours. At least one of these rest days must be a Sunday at least once a month. The employer and employee can agree on a different distribution of rest days, but employees must still receive an uninterrupted rest period of at least 48 hours within a seven-day period. Additionally, after six consecutive working days, employees are entitled to at least one rest day, even if their work schedule doesn't follow a traditional Monday-Friday format.

Night shift and weekend regulations

In Hungary, labor law acknowledges the demanding nature of night and weekend work, providing specific protections for employees working these schedules.

Night work is defined as work performed between 10 pm and 6 am. Employees working night shifts are entitled to a wage premium of at least 15% of their regular pay for the hours worked at night, if their night work exceeds one hour. Employers should prioritize assigning pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young people (under 18) to work outside of night hours whenever possible. Night workers must undergo mandatory health checkups at the employer's expense at regular intervals to monitor their well-being.

Saturdays are considered regular workdays in Hungary, while Sundays are designated as rest days. Employers generally require employee consent for weekend work unless a collective bargaining agreement allows otherwise. Weekend work can only be ordered in exceptional circumstances, such as urgent repairs or preventing production stoppages. Employees working on weekends are entitled to a wage supplement of at least 50% of their regular pay for the hours worked. Alternatively, employees can be compensated with time off in lieu, with one substitute rest day provided for each Sunday worked.

It's important to note that employers and employees can agree on different working hour arrangements through the employment contract or a collective bargaining agreement, as long as they comply with the minimum statutory requirements outlined in the Hungarian Labour Code.

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