The End of The Year From HR Perspective

The end of the year is coming up fast and there are plenty tasks to arrange at the HR Departments. Among the others, it should be checked whether the holiday due for this year have been scheduled for all employees until 31 December, as well as, if the holiday agreements have been signed for 2020. Before entry into 2020, we wish to provide you with quick to do list and also to call your attention to the latest news and the expected relevant changes.
I. Unused holiday

The question of unused holiday at the end of the year is always a cardinal issue from HR view. Therefore, it is advisable to check if each employee how the annual leaves of the current year stands. Unused leave cannot be redeemed in cash, unless the employment relationship is terminated. Leave must therefore be scheduled even if the employee does not wish to take it.

The general rule is that leave due for 2019 cannot be transferred to 2020. Therefore, the remaining holiday shall be scheduled basically for the year of 2019. However in some exceptional cases it may be transferred to the next year, as follows:

·        If employment relationship began on or after 1 October 2019, holiday may be scheduled until 31 March 2020.

·        If, due to a cause at the employee’s side, holiday could not be scheduled in 2019 (e.g. illness, maternity leave, work incapacity, etc.), it can be scheduled within sixty days of the cause ceases to exist.

·        Leave which commences in the due year and does not exceed five working days in the following year shall be deemed to have been taken in the due year.

·        The additional leave due to the age of the employee may be scheduled until 31 December 2020, if the parties concluded an agreement on it in 2019.

·        In the event of economic reasons of particular importance or any direct and consequential reason arising in connection with its operations, the employer may allocate one-fourth of the employee’s holiday by 31 March of the following year if it is stipulated so in the collective agreement.

II. The case of extraordinary work (overtime)

Considering that extraordinary work has an annual limit, it is highly advisable to check how the company stands in this regard as we approach the end of the year.

In the case of full-time work, up to 250 hours of overtime per calendar year can be ordered.

Collective agreement allows 300 hours per year. Further, the employer and the employee may conclude an agreement on additional working hours so that it must not exceed 400 hours overtime per calendar years. This agreement may be terminated by the employee by the end of the calendar year.

However, the above mentioned annual limit shall apply proportionately if the employment relationship began during the year, for a fixed period or for part-time work. It is important that if the company exceeds the annual extraordinary working time limit, it may face serious fines as a result of any labour inspections.

III. Minimum wage and guaranteed wage minimum

As of January, the minimum wage will be expectedly increased again. In 2018, a two-year agreement was made at the meeting of the Competitive Sector and Government Permanent Consultation Forum to increase the minimum wage and the guaranteed wage minimum with 8%-8 % in 2019 and 2020. Thus, the minimum wage could rise to HUF 161,000 in 2020 and the guaranteed wage minimum to HUF 210,600.

The minimum wage and guaranteed wage minimum shall be published by a government decree which has not been issued yet, but it will be expectedly published until the end of the year.

After the decree has been published, the salaries shall be reviewed and the employment contracts shall be amended accordingly.

IV. Social contributions in 2020

With changes of social contribution there is nothing to do, however from payroll perspective it is good to know that according to the bill No. T/8021 from 1st July 2020 (i) pension contributions, (ii) in-kind and (iii) financial health insurance contributions, and (iv) labour market contributions will expectedly merge so called “social security contribution”. However, the rate remains the same, so in total 18.5%.

V. Working time schedule for the year of 2020

The minister of finance has the right to reschedule the working and rest days around the public holidays which changes shall apply in case of employees working under a fix, general working time schedule.

According to the decree of the minister of finance in the next year 21 August (Friday) and the 24 December 2020 (Thursday) shall be rest days, and the 29 August and the 12 December (Saturdays) 2020 are qualified as working days.

VI. Retirement age in 2020

According to Act LXXXI of 1997 employees were born in 1956 may be entitled to old-age pension when they reach the age of 64 plus 183 days. Therefore, the above mentioned employees will be eligible for pension in 2020.

It is remained unchanged that the employee’s employment shall not be terminated due to the retirement.

GDPR „OMNIBUS” Act overwrites the usual HR process

On 26 April 2019, Hungary’s new ‘Omnibus Act’ implementing provisions of the GDPR took effect. This article examines its significant impact on employers and the continuing uncertainty surrounding some of the changes it introduces.

Only a few months ago, employers were required to readjust their processes in preparation for GDPR implementation and now the new so-called ‘Omnibus’ act that amends the Labour Code, among other changes has entered into force (on 26 April 2019). The new regulation requires immediate and very significant work from HR departments, while there are several open issues to be jointly interpreted by labour lawyers together with HR and data protection professionals on how to ensure their daily practice is compliant with the new but ambiguous regulations.

The bottleneck is a result of the fact that Hungarian lawmakers were well behind schedule with implementation of GDPR, leaving employers only a few days to review the new processes, since all employers must comply with all requirements from day one. There is a strong hope that (as has happened in several previous cases) the Omnibus Act will very shortly be corrected by a new amendment.

The GDPR ‘Omnibus’ Act amends 86 acts including the Labour Code in order to comply with GDPR regulations.

This amendment requires the review of labour contracts, HR processes and significant HR policies such as recruitment, selection, new employees’ induction process, operations, the data management of access control systems and use of employer’s devices, just to mention the most common areas concerned.

Employers and all organisations should have complied with the new regulations within a couple of days of entry into force.

Although the new requirements contain more details than the published draft bill, there are still several open issues on how to implement them in practice. For example what is the meaning of, and what are the criteria for the necessity and proportionality test contained in the new regulations in relation to limitations on employees’ personal human rights (in connection with e-mail, internet, device or video surveillance, etc.)? The GDPR only includes the privacy impact assessment and the ‘balancing test’ for ‘legitimate interest’.

The usual process of recording a new employee’s data is basically overridden by the new rule that the employer may only request presentation of an ID card and other personal documents, but no copies can be made, even with the consent of the employee. This will mean that proper identification of the employee would be difficult. The provision of false data by the employee may result in annulment of employment, but with a lack of proper evidence and documentation, the employer may not be in a position to act.

Handling of criminal data records is more strictly regulated, and in the future the basic rule is that no criminal record clearance may be requested from employees. Exceptional and very strict criteria are set for cases when the employer may require an employee to present criminal record clearance, but the precise criteria can be decided by the employer if a serious business risk for the organisation would arise from an employee with undisclosed criminal record working for it.

Finally, the amendment relating to data managed by the biometric access control systems (digital fingerprint, iris/retina scanning, face identification systems), and also the use of the employers’ devices is based on new principles, meaning that a review of internal policies relating to these issues must be conducted.