On February 22, the government extended the state of emergency by 90 days, to May 23. The extension also applies to the transitional provisions the government passed in the earlier phase of the pandemic for the protection of health and the economy.
Among these transitional rules is the so-called Home Office Decree. This decree relaxed the regulation in the field of the otherwise strict and rigid rules pertaining to teleworking and home office work. This is vital for employers as a large number of employees are forced to work from home.
Under the transitional home-office regime, employees and employers may agree to deviate from practically all the rules of teleworking defined by the Labour Code. The labour safety rules concerning telework do not have to be applied either during the emergency situation. The employers' only remaining obligation is to inform the employees about the rules of non-hazardous and safe working conditions necessary for working and the employees must take these into consideration when choosing a place to work.
Employers, at their own discretion, may also reimburse the employees costs incurred in connection with the telework (typically internet costs related to telework, rent of an apartment or its overhead). This benefit is tax-free up to the amount equalling 10% of the monthly minimum wage until the end of the state of emergency. No pension contributions or health care service contributions have to be paid after this benefit either, and the employer is not obliged to pay social contribution tax or a vocational training contribution.
The need to clarify the rules for teleworking and home office work has been on the agenda for long before anyone heard of the Corona virus and the regime was for long ripe for a change.
Many employers plan to continue to have their employees working from home at least partially and plan on using a hybrid model. We expect that at least some of the long-awaited developments that were fuelled and accelerated as a result of the pandemic will remain in force and will continue to be applicable also when the state of emergency and the restrictions are lifted, resulting in a clear and modern world teleworking and home office regime in Hungary.
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