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Derogations in the application of Labour Code for the duration of state of emergency

Effective as of today (19 March 2020) until 30 days after the end of state of emergency, the Labour Code shall be applied with derogations as a part of the economic measures announced yesterday. Please see our brief summary as follows:
1. Derogations to be applied unilaterally by the employer:

a) employer may also amend the announced work time schedule within 96 hours of the start of the daily working time; it is important to note that the rules of announcing annual paid leave/ vacation did not change and must be notified 15 days in advance;

b) employer may unilaterally order home office/ remote work for the employees;

c) the employer may implement the necessary and justified measures to check employees’ health status. The Government Decree does not specify the measures necessary and justified, therefore the employers must consider this for themselves, in compliance with the data protection legislation and the HDPA’s legal opinion, as the application of the GDPR has not been suspended for the duration of the state of emergency. It mainly relate to the mostly popular planned fever measure which may only be applied with the restrictions provided by the HDPA.

Collective agreement provisions deviating from the above may not be applied for the duration of the state of emergency, which also means that in any other question the Collective Agreement is applicable.

2. Derogations to be applied by the separate agreement of the parties:
The Government Decree fully extends the possibility of separate agreement between the employer and the employee, which may derogate from the provisions of the Labour Code. It may only be interpreted – although there is no express provision – that it allows the employers to agree with the employees on conditions that are detrimental to the employees – while earlier the Labour Code only allowed deviation in favour of the employees. In that way, thus allowing the establishment of specific and flexible rules for the duration of the state of emergency.

3. The right approach would be if before conclusion of the separate agreement with employees in matters are beyond the above cases and regulated in the Collective Bargains, the employers consult with the Trade Union and the Works’ council if the planned deviations will affect the bigger group of the employees.

The economic measures of the Government in relation to the coronavirus epidemic

On 18 March 2020 the prime minister has announced exceptional economic measures to reduce the impact of the coronavirus epidemic.

According to these measures, in the following sectors the employers shall not pay contributions after their employees, and the contributions of their employees are also significantly reduced (they shall not pay pension contribution, and health insurance contribution is reduced to the minimum set by law) until 30 June 2020:

• tourism
• hospitality ( gastronomy, hotels etc.,)
• entertainment
• sport
• cultural services
• passenger transport

In the above sectors, lease agreements may not be terminated and the amount of rent cannot be raised during this period.

Taxi drivers under ‘small enterperneurs” tax payers are exempted from tax payment.

The tourism sector is also exempted from paying the tourism development contribution.

The Government Decree foresees further legislative changes. We are monitoring for further possible government measures continuously.

The purpose of the publications announced on our website is to provide a brief, concise information on certain issues. The content of this website and the publications is not exhaustive and does not constitute a legal advice. Should you have any specific questions or inquires regarding any issues investigated by our publications, please contact us and we will be happy to be at your disposal.