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Stricter lockdown rules and extended economic protection arrangements

By the Gov. Decree No. 104/2021. (III. 5.) (“Gov. Decree”) the Hungarian Government has decided to implement stricter lockdown rules, which shall apply from 8 March 2021.

The most important changes are summarized below:

In public and in public places, everyone shall wear a mask. Further, everyone shall keep a social distance of 1.5 meters from others.

Closure of retail stores and service provider

In total 30 categories of retail stores and service providers may be open between 8 and 22 March 2021. All other retail stores and service providers must be closed.

Rules regarding remote work

The Government is asking, however not compelling employers to apply home office work. Although, the Labour Code does not regulate home office work, from our point of view this phrase used by the Gov. Decree includes all types of remote work.

Accordingly, in case the employer is able to ensure the healthy and safe working environment at the contractual workplace, working at the employer’s premises is still possible and lawful.

Rules in connection with education

Kindergartens and schools shall be closed until 7 April.

It cannot be excluded that the rules in connection with education will be extended to the period following 7 April 2021.

Economic protection arrangements

Gov. Decree No. 105/2021. (III.5.) includes the economic protection arrangements related to the above stricter lockdown rules from which it is worth highlighting that the undertakings conducting the activities affected with the current closure as actual primary activity may also apply for the sectorial wage subsidies for March 2021 as well as are not obliged to pay social contribution tax (“szoc.ho”) upon the salaries paid to their employees for March.

The measure of the wage subsidy is 50 % of the employee’s gross salary, and the eligibility criteria is that the employee’s salary must be paid for the period affected by the closure as well as the employment relationship must be maintained, i.e. may not be terminated with notice or with mutual agreement until 30 April 2021.

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