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Hungary

Source: EURES The European Job Mobility Portal. For up-to-date information visit the Living and Working Conditions section about Hungary on the EURES Portal.

How to find a job

There are two ways to look for a job in Hungary. The simplest and fastest is to use the social network of friends, acquaintances, relatives, and personal recommendations to secure a position. Submitting job applications to published job offers (usually in Hungarian and English) is a solution for those without these social networks. Applicants usually have to compete for available positions. Larger companies operate their own career sites and recruitment databases, and large state-run or private job sites are also available for looking for jobs: the latter offer a much larger variety of possibilities and offer a number of convenient features. LinkedIn is also a competitive option for job-seekers with degrees and professional experience, and even professional and thematic Facebook groups offer positions. Online classifieds also often contain ads, usually for simpler casual employment, though applying to these is not recommended (especially for work abroad!) because neither the content of the advertisement nor the reliability of the advertiser is guaranteed. Local free newsletters usually contain job offers for skilled worker and assembly operator positions. The services of private recruitment and agency providers are also available for finding jobs. Job fairs and career days are organised across the country a number of times every year, most of which are held in Budapest, with virtual job fairs available online.

Hungarian job offers are either too terse or too verbose: the list of expectations and requirements is often too long. Employers generally do not include the expected wage, income, or other benefits in their offers; however, they often expect applicants to indicate their salary requirements when they apply for a position. Employer and HR staff often do not get back to applicants, and the hiring process can drag on for a long time.

How to apply for a job

Job applicants are expected to submit a 1-2 page, succinct and detailed curriculum vitae (with a photo) in Hungarian or English, a motivation or cover letter, and, for certain positions (e.g. designers) a portfolio or reference works.

CVs are pretty much the same as trends in other European countries; however, the Europass-CV is less popular among Hungarian recruiters. Job applications generally have to be submitted electronically. With their application, applicants should attach copies of documents proving qualifications necessary for the line of work and copies of language exam certificates if those are requested.

The CV should be no more than one or two pages long and should always include the following details:

  • name, position applied for or goal, and main contact information (excluding a home address);
  • workplaces and work experience (in reverse chronological order);
  • educational qualifications (in reverse chronological order);
  • training courses, professional qualifications (in reverse chronological order);
  • computer skills;
  • language skills, driving licence;
  • other relevant skills, competences

A cover letter addressed to the organisation advertising the post or the potential employer contains important information not included in the CV. It is advisable to explain how you heard about the vacancy, the position applied for, any skills and abilities you have that are relevant to that job, why you consider yourself the most suitable candidate for the job and what your goals and plans are. The motivation letter should not be longer than a page. It is important that the cover letter and the CV constitute a harmonic entity and that their contents reflect the expectations formulated in the vacancy notice or the job description. You should avoid using clichés and common expressions in the CV and the motivation letter. As the use of automated recruitment pre-filtering systems is increasingly common, the CV should include the important technical key terms used in the vacancy notice.

You should provide references, data, results achieved, and workplace experiences and successes that you are proud of, as these can paint a positive picture. Employers and recruiters will probably gather supplementary information about the applicants, and for that purpose, they will check their online presence and social media profiles (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn), it is therefore advisable to pay attention to the quality thereof.

Finding accommodation

Whether you want to rent or to buy a property, real estate agents and dealers, advertising newspapers, real estate websites, social media sites provide help in your search for a housing solution. The prices of new and used properties greatly increased in 2019 and there was an excess of demand on the real estate market; however in 2020 the COVID-19 epidemic put an end to the rise in prices, which had lasted years. Compared to the previous increase of 10-20 % per year, a slight decrease has taken place since September 2020, primarily in Budapest. Property prices rose faster in Hungary (especially in Budapest) than anywhere else in the EU. Prices of prefabricated flats range between HUF 310 000 and HUF 323 000 per square metre, while those of flats in brick buildings are HUF 343 000 to 368 000 per square metre. In towns and villages outside the capital, however, HUF 100 000 per square metre can even buy you a brick-built detached house. The monthly rent for a smaller flat (50 to 70 m2) ranges between HUF 80 000 and HUF 160 000, not including service charges. The search of properties for rental purposes is also possible on social media sites and groups. Tenants are advised to prepare for unforeseen situations in which the ownership of the flat changes and in such cases they have to look for another flat to rent within a short period of time. When searching for and choosing a housing solution, the condition, any renovations, the trim level, the heating and energy system, and the location of the flat, the availability of public transport, as well as the reliability of the surroundings and of the neighbours are also very important aspects besides the price.

It is always important to be clear about the amount of communal service charges (which include the costs of cleaning the block of flats, waste collection and maintenance) and other public utility charges. Another aspect to consider is whether the flat has separate water, gas and electricity meters, as in older flats, flat-rate amounts based on estimates may still be charged (there being no separate meters). In any case, it is advisable to take over the flat in the possession of documents containing the exact position of utility meters, also clarifying the frequency of the settlement, whether it is based on a regular measurement of the consumption (monthly/quarterly/half-yearly/yearly notification by phone) or a flat-rate is applied.

Recognition of diplomas and qualifications

The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers

The possibility of obtaining recognition of one’s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in the decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in different Member States. Only such a system will ensure that a lack of recognition of professional qualifications will become an obstacle to workers’ mobility within the EU.

Main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU

As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to freely practice their profession in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements for access to certain professions in the host country.

For the purpose of overcoming these differences, the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. Within the terms of this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State.

Steps towards a transparency of qualifications in Europe

The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe:

  • An increased co-operation in vocational education and training, with the intention to combine all instruments for transparency of certificates and diplomas, in one single, user-friendly tool. This includes, for example, the European CV or Europass Trainings.
  • The development of concrete actions in the field of recognition and quality in vocational education and training.

Going beyond the differences in education and training systems throughout the EU

Education and training systems in the EU Member States still show substantial differences. The last enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences.

In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has put forward a series of instruments, aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes.

1.The European Qualifications Framework

The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee a smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas.

2.The National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARICs)

A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU.

3.The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus.

4.Europass

Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It is composed of five standardised documents

  • a CV (Curriculum Vitae),
  • a language passport,
  • certificate supplements,
  • diploma supplements, and
  • a Europass-Mobility document.

The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system.

Kinds of employment

The parties in an employment relationship are the employer and the employee. As a rule, anyone aged 16 or over may take up employment. Unless agreed otherwise, employment is established for full-time work, for an indefinite period. Hungarian law recognises atypical forms of employment as well. Examples include staff leasing, temporary employment, part-time employment, fixed-term employment and remote work, as well as independent, home-based piecework and foster parenting. School cooperative members who are full-time students no longer perform their tasks in an employment relationship, but rather as part of an assignment governed by civil law. However, the remuneration paid for the tasks performed cannot be lower than the lowest applicable minimum wage. In vocational training, the practical training of the student is conducted on the basis of a written student contract concluded between the student and the business organisation for the purpose of practical training at the business organisation. According to the student contract, the business organisation pays a cash allowance to the student. This, together with the contributions, is recoverable by the organisation.

Remote or distance work is employment where the employee does not work within a work organisation, at the registered office or place of business of the employer, but typically at his or her own place of residence, using a computer to perform the work and send it to the employer.

A staff leasing agency signs an employment contract with the employee, while it enters into an outsourcing agreement or work contract with the actual employer. However, there is no contractual relationship between the employer and the worker.

There is also a simplified employment scheme. The simplified scheme may be used for seasonal work in agriculture and tourism, or for casual work. In this case, simplification means that only the most important rules of labour law need to be applied. It also involves less paperwork to register and de-register.

In the workfare scheme, people who are eligible for rehabilitative care or are registered as job seekers, and people who have applied for refugee or asylum status can be employed for 4, 6 or 8 working hours per day, for a period of between 1 to 11 months. The job seeker may be excluded because of the conditions set out in the workfare scheme. Bodies classified as public service employers – public authorities, local governments, NGOs and religious organisations, etc. – sign a contract with the relevant public employment service body, agreeing to employ public employees for carrying out statutory and optional local government tasks, local or community tasks or tasks stipulated by government pursuing public objectives. Such activities may not be for profit or involve positions for which a public servant, public official or government official status is obligatory. In the period from September to November 2019, the average number of people in employment was 4 517 000, i.e. 23 000 more than a year earlier. The employment rate in the 15–64 age group rose to 70.3%. While the rates improved for both genders, employment levels were higher among men than among women. Working as an au pair is an employment type (i.e. pursuing an activity involving household tasks) in which the employee helps private individuals (families) in looking after, educating and taking care of children in exchange for a compensation (remuneration, board and lodging, help with language learning etc.), but it is not deemed to be a regulated profession or a separate legal relationship.

The Labour Code is applicable to performing arts organisations, subject to the derogations set out in the Act on Specific Employment Rules Applicable to Artistic Professions (e.g. that unless agreed otherwise, a fixed-term contract lasts until the end of the season).

Seasonal work

Overview

The number of people working in agricultural seasonal work in 2019 averaged 35.5 thousand per month. While the presence of agricultural guest workers in the country was much more common in the 1990s, their numbers have declined significantly since then. From May to October, there are usually 30-50 thousand guest workers in Hungary, most of them from Romania, Ukraine, a small part from Serbia, but today there is less demand for seasonal workers than decades ago. In Hungary, fruit and vegetable production has declined so much that far less manual labor is already needed.

How to find an agricultural seasonal job?

The Ministry of Agriculture (AM) has launched an online advertising site in Hungarian called “Munkaszüret” www.munkaszuret.hu that makes it easier for both workers and employers to find each other across the country.

Seasonal work in Simplified Employment

Simplified employment is an atypical form of employment used in many sectors, agricultural seasonal work, and tourism seasonal work since 2010. It has a number of benefits, is easy to file, and has a favorable tax burden. From 04/17/2020 the rules of application became more flexible:

For casual and seasonal work in the crop, including horticultural, forestry, animal husbandry, fishing and hunting sectors, the annual time limit provided for in the Simplified Employment Act has changed from 120 days to 180 days this year for both seasonal and casual and seasonal work. Another significant relief is that the monthly duration of casual work has increased from the previous maximum of 15 days to 20 days. (valid until 31/12/2020)

Simplified Employment Act (Act LXXV/2010) https://ec.europa.eu/migrant-integration/librarydoc/act-lxxv-of-2010-on-simplified-employment

(In Hungarian: EFO) includes:

  • seasonal agricultural and tourism work,
  • casual work,
  • employment of film industry statistics.

The Employment Relationship Starts with Notification

The legal relationship between the parties starts with the employer’s notification to the Tax Authority. The employers may fulfil the registration and change reporting obligation through:

  • Form 20T1042E electronically (via customer gate / company gate)
  • by phone via the national customer service (blue number 185)
  • from a smart phone, tablet (via the EFO app)

Tax liabilities

The amount of the public charge to be paid by the employer, if the conditions described above are met, for each calendar day of the employment relationship per employee:

  • HUF 500 in case of seasonal agricultural work,
  • HUF 500 in case of seasonal tourist work,
  • HUF 1,000 in case of casual work,
  • HUF 3,000 for casual work as a film statistician.

The employer only has to pay a public charge of HUF 500 per day per employee - in the case of foreign seasonal workers, nothing if the person has a certificate certifying his / her domestic insurance.

For the employment relationship established for the purpose of simplified employment, the rules of the Labor Code - EFO. and the provisions of the separate legislation on the mandatory minimum wage and the guaranteed minimum wage shall apply.

According to the 2020 rules, employees in the framework of simplified employment earn below the minimum wage and the guaranteed minimum wage: the wage of skilled workers specified in a government decree is HUF 1,054 per hour, and that of unskilled workers is HUF 787 per hour.

Currently, daytime jobs are advertised for an hourly wage of between 800 and 1,300 HUF, and although, in principle, employees would also receive night allowances and overtime pay, legally only one day can still be earned for 14,820 HUF with simplified employment. Seasonal workers also have limited benefits: they are only entitled to a pension, accident health service and job-search benefits, but they are not entitled to sick leave, maternity leave or unpaid leave, for example.

Not EU citizen shall only be employed in present employment relationship form in the frame of seasonal agricultural work. 

Warnings

  • Undeclared work is widespread in agriculture.
  • Hungarian language skills are essential.

Employment contracts

Employment is always established by means of an employment contract. Employment contracts must be set out in writing. It is the employer's obligation to ensure that the contract is set out in writing. In the case of the simplified employment scheme, subject to meeting the employer’s registration obligation, the legal relationship does not need to be set out in writing, unless the parties enter into the relationship using a template employment contract.

Compulsory contents of the employment contract: agreement on

  • the job description,
  • the place of work (if not stipulated, the place where the employee usually works),
  • and the basic salary.

Within 15 days from the start of employment at the latest, the employer must inform the employee of the daily working hours, other elements relating to pay, the date of salary payment, the method of calculating and scheduling annual paid leave, rules for determining the notice period applicable to the employee and the employer, and the person exercising employer’s rights, unless the period of employment is less than one month or the working hours are less than eight hours a week.

The employer and employee may only amend the employment contract in writing and by mutual consent. The law requires employers to propose an amendment to the employment contract when the employee returns from voluntary military service, maternity leave or unpaid leave taken for the purpose of caring for children or relatives. In this case, the amendment must be based on at least the annual average salary increase of employees doing the same work as the returning employee or, if no such employees exist, the average pay rise actually implemented by the employer. Parents returning from parental leave can unilaterally request in writing that their daily working hours be 20 hours per week. Civil and public servants, public prosecutors, professional personnel of armed forces and judicial employees have this right until their child reaches the age of three, whereas for employees with three or more children the right is extended until the child reaches the age of five. The employer is obliged to modify the employment contract or the position accordingly.

Government official status and public servant status constitute another type of employment relationship, which are established upon appointment (the persons concerned are government officials and public servants). Government officials are persons working in a central state administration body or its regional or local units, and persons employed by the Police, the National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV), as well as those who are working in the field of law enforcement and disaster response. Public servants are persons employed by local governments or a number of other institutions (the Hungarian Competition Authority, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Office of the President of the Republic, the National Election Office, etc.). They are subject to certain conditions, such as having a clean criminal record and legal capacity and, in the case of government officials, a university degree or, exceptionally, a secondary school qualification.

Under the Hungarian Civil Code, the parties may enter into outsourcing agreements or contracts for work. As a general rule, however, the choice of the type of contract establishing the basis for work may not limit or undermine the employee’s lawful interests (bogus contracts are punishable by law).

Working time

Under the Labour Code, full-time work is eight hours a day. Shorter working hours may be laid down in the employment contract or by agreement between the employer and the employee. In the case of stand-by work, or if the employee is a relative of the employer or of the owner, the agreement between the parties may stipulate longer working hours, although not exceeding 12 hours a day. The job is of a stand-by nature if the employee is at the employer’s disposal for at least one third of the normal working hours without performing any work or there is significantly less work involved for the employee than in normal circumstances.

The employee’s daily or weekly working hours may not exceed twelve or forty-eight hours, respectively. For stand-by jobs, the daily or weekly working hours may not exceed 24 or 72 hours, respectively. The full period of on-call duty must be considered working time if actual working time cannot be measured. The limits on working hours, the work regime and the rules governing the arrangement of working time are established by the collective bargaining agreement or, in the absence thereof, by the employer. The work regime may follow a general pattern (five days per week from Monday to Friday), or it may be undefined (the employee has the right to distribute the weekly working hours; in this case it does not affect the undefined nature of the work if the employee may perform some of their work tasks at a certain time or period of time due to their special characteristics). In order to protect employees, if uneven working hours are applied, the law specifies the minimum and maximum period of daily working hours. Accordingly, daily working hours may not be less than four hours. The employer’s operations may be uninterrupted (maximum six-hour break a day), shift work (operating at least 80 hours per week) or seasonal (related to a specific season in the year).

The employer may also specify the hours to be worked by the employee within a specific time frame. As a general rule, this period of time may be no longer than four months or six months in the case of uninterrupted, shift-work, stand-by work and seasonal operations or 1 year if provided for in a collective agreement, where justified for technical or organisational reasons. Maximum two hundred hours overtime may be ordered per calendar year. Subject to a written agreement between the employee and the employer, a further additional one hundred and fifty working hours may be required (voluntary overtime). Employees may cancel the agreement as of the end of the calendar year.

Sunday is not classed as a working day. A fifty-percent supplement is payable for Sunday work. However, Sunday work may form part of normal working hours in certain cases (e.g. where the nature of the business normally involves Sunday operation, seasonal work, work performed without interruption, or work abroad).

Work carried out between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. is classified as night work.

Employees may not be required to work and employers are not obliged to provide work during rest periods. Rest periods:

- breaks;

- daily rest periods;

- weekly rest day (or weekly rest period).

Breaks during the working day are the shortest type of rest period. They are to allow time to eat and rest during the working day. A 20-minute break may be taken during the day, if the daily working time is more than six hours. Except for stand-by work, the break does not count as working time.

Employees must be allowed at least 11 hours of rest between completing one day’s work and starting the next day’s work. If an employer grants eight hours as daily rest period, the successive daily rest periods must be at least 22 hours. Travel time is not included in this period.

Employees are entitled to two rest days a week. Even if an employee may be required to work on Sundays as normal working hours, it must be ensured that the employee has at least one rest day a month that is a Sunday. Instead of the weekly rest day, a weekly rest period may be granted, which is 48 hours without interruption and, once a month, must be scheduled to include a Sunday.

The Labour Code provides for working time reductions for certain employees, such as trade union officers, workers’ council members, employees pursuing primary education studies, and breastfeeding women. If required by law, for the period of working time reductions, the employees receive absence pay (which consists of the base salary, the flat-rate supplement, the piece rate and the wage supplement calculated on the basis of the average of six months). In the case of employees on monthly salaries, the amount of the absence pay varies according to the number of workdays in the month under the general employment rules.

Leave (annual leave, parental leave, etc.)

Employees are entitled to leave in each calendar year worked, based on how long they have been working. Part-time employees and pensioners in employment are also entitled to leave. Leave comprises basic and supplementary leave. The standard length of basic leave is 20 working days. Employees are entitled to supplementary leave depending on their age. Employees are entitled to longer supplementary leave in the year in which they reach a specific age. Length of supplementary leave:

  •  1 working day from the age of 25,
  •  2 working days from the age of 28,
  •  3 working days from the age of 31,
  •  1 additional working day every 2 years up to the age of 45,
  • 10 working days from the age of 45.

In addition to the above, employees are entitled to additional supplementary leave in certain cases. The Labour Code specifies the following types of supplementary leave: for young workers, workers bringing up a child under 16 years of age, workers working underground on a permanent basis, workers spending at least three hours a day in a workplace exposed to ionising radiation, fathers for the birth of a child, disabled workers, people entitled to disability benefits or benefits for the blind.

If employment starts after the beginning or ends before the end of a year, the leave days due are calculated on a pro rata basis, except for the five days of supplementary leave granted to fathers for the birth of their child, which can be used in its entirety, irrespective of the start or end date of employment.

The employer is obliged to grant seven days of annual leave at a time requested by the employee, taken in two parts at the most, and the employee must notify the employer 15 days before going on leave. Once per calendar year, employees must be allowed to take at least 14 consecutive days of leave when they are exempt from the obligation to work or to be available for work. Employees must be notified that the leave is granted no later than 15 days before the start of the leave. The age-based supplementary leave may be granted until the end of the following year on the basis of the agreement concluded by the parties for the calendar year. The employer may interrupt the employee’s leave for a substantial reason that directly affects its operation or because of some exceptionally important economic interest, but must provide compensation for any costs and losses incurred.

Mothers are entitled to 24 consecutive weeks of maternity leave, of which two weeks must be taken; this counts as working time. Employees are entitled to unpaid leave: (a) until the child reaches the age of three, for the purpose of child care, including managers; (b) for the period during which they are in receipt of child care benefit or child allowance, up to the child’s 10th birthday; (c) to care in person for a relative requiring permanent care, for up to 2 years; (d) for the duration of voluntary military reserve service.

If unable to work, employees may take 15 days of sick leave per calendar year, during which time they receive 70 % of their absence pay. If the sick days fall on a public holiday, the absence pay is only due to employees paid on an hourly or output basis.

As a rule, employees do not have to work on legal public holidays, which are: 1 January, 15 March, Good Friday, Easter Monday, 1 May, Whit Monday, 20 August, 23 October, 1 November and 25 and 26 December. A 100 % wage supplement is payable for work performed on a legal public holiday, on Easter or Whit Sunday or on a Sunday which would otherwise be a legal public holiday.

Termination of employment

Employment can be for a definite or indefinite period.

Employment is terminated upon the employee’s death, if the company is wound up without a legal successor, on expiry of the fixed period or if the employer is changed in such a way that at the time of handing over all or part of its activity (its organisation unit, financial and non-financial resources) the employer taking over is not subject to the Labour Code. Employment for an indefinite period may be terminated by mutual agreement between the employer and employee, by a notice of termination, or termination with immediate effect. The probationary period is a maximum of three months, or six months if provided for by a collective agreement.

Notice must be given in writing and takes effect upon being communicated to the party concerned.  The employer is obliged to give reasons for termination, which must be clearly stated. In the case of employees who are within five years of retirement, of mothers and single fathers with children up to the age of three, or of employees receiving rehabilitation allowance or pay, notice on the grounds of employment-related conduct may be given only in severe instances. In the case of people over the legal age of retirement, it is not necessary to give grounds for a notice of termination.

Employees may terminate an indefinite employment contract at any time without giving grounds. However, in the case of fixed-term employment contracts, grounds must be given and termination is permitted only for serious reasons. The employer may give notice at any time, except in the following cases where termination is prohibited: pregnancy or the first six months of treatment related to human reproduction procedure in the case of female employees, provided that the employer is notified in advance. The employer may withdraw notice of termination in writing within 15 days of the notice being given. Further periods when termination is prohibited are maternity leave, unpaid leave used by either parent for the purpose of looking after a child, and the performance of actual voluntary military reserve service.

The notice period is at least 30 days, which, in the case of dismissal by the employer, may increase to 90 days depending on length of service. The parties may agree on a longer notice period not exceeding six months.

Fixed-term employment can be terminated by the employer giving notice during the winding-up or liquidation of the company, for reasons based on the ability of the employee or if the employment relationship becomes impossible to sustain due to unavoidable external reasons.

Severance pay is due if the employer terminates employment by notice or ceases to exist without a legal successor or if the employer taking over the employee is not subject to the Labour Code. A further condition for severance pay is that the employee must have been employed for at least three years by the employer. The employee is not entitled to severance pay if he or she is considered retired at the time notice is served or if the reason for termination is employment-related conduct on the part of the employee or the employee’s (non-health-related) abilities.

Termination with immediate effect is possible if the other party significantly breaches essential obligations, whether through negligence or intentionally.

Special rules apply to public servants, government officials and public officials. Employment is established for an indefinite period by appointment and the acceptance of such appointment. Both the appointment and the acceptance thereof must be in writing. The legal relationship may be terminated by resignation on the part of the employee, by dismissal on the part of the employer, by mutual consent, or with immediate effect by either of the parties during the probationary period. The period of notice for resignation or dismissal is two months or at least 60 days in the case of public servants, and may be up to 8 months depending on length of service. In the case of dismissal or if the state administrative body is abolished without a legal successor, severance pay of up to eight months’ salary is due, increased by half if the person concerned is in the protected age group. Government officials reaching retirement age may apply to continue working. Authorisation to do so is ultimately at the discretion of the government.

Health care systems

In Hungary, healthcare is provided by both public and private healthcare providers. A healthcare provider may only conduct healthcare activities in Hungary if it holds an operating licence issued by the government office (depending on competence). Any service provider meeting the personnel and material requirements is eligible for a licence. The healthcare provider is entitled to financing from the Health Insurance Fund for providing healthcare services if the National Healthcare Fund Manager (NEAK) has entered into a financing agreement with it to perform tasks. As a rule, healthcare provided from capacity covered by the financing agreement is granted to patients free of charge. However, a fee may be charged for care provided from surplus capacity. In Hungary,

Healthcare consists of services and monetary benefits. Services: screening tests, emergency care, lifesaving, GP services (GPs can be freely chosen), specialist outpatient care, inpatient care, medical rehabilitation. All Hungarian nationals under the age of 18 or over 60 are entitled to free dental care, and regardless of age, everyone is entitled to dental inflammation centre examinations and the treatment of tooth and mouth diseases related to an underlying illness. Monetary benefits include maternity allowance, child care allowance, sick pay (childcare sick pay) and accident sick pay, depending on prior insurance coverage.

People classified as insured are entitled to use the services of the healthcare system in Hungary. Everybody carrying out an economic activity is insured. Insured people are entitled to both healthcare services and monetary benefits.

In addition to insured persons, anyone receiving welfare benefit in some form (sick pay, family benefits, accident sick pay, accident allowance, old-age or survivors' benefit, etc.), socially disadvantaged people and minors are entitled to healthcare services. Health care service contribution from 1 January 2021: HUF 8000/month (HUF 270/day)

Entitlement to benefits can be verified by the ‘TAJ’ card (which contains the person’s social security number and other personal data). EU nationals staying in Hungary on a temporary basis, arriving from the territory of an EEA member state, may present their European Health Insurance Card to request necessary medical care, essentially emergency services. Planned care is available as an EU patient at the patient's own expense.

Legislation lays down which medicines are prescription-only and which ones can be obtained over the counter. Healthcare providers with a contract with the NEAK issue prescriptions free of charge. In Hungary prescription medication may be purchased only with prescriptions complying with Hungarian law or prescriptions duly issued in another EU country. Medication funded by social security is reviewed annually. A number of basic, non-prescription drugs can also be purchased outside of pharmacies (e.g. at petrol stations and shopping centres).

Income and taxation

In January 2021, the gross average wage of full-time employees was HUF 411 000 and the average net wage, calculated without any allowances, was HUF 273 300: both are 9.5 % more than a year earlier. Gross wages increased by 8.5 % at companies and by significantly more – 13.3 % – in the budget and in connection with the scheduled wage raises of progressive systems.

The gross average wages of people in full-time employment (at businesses employing at least five staff, at budgetary institutions and at not-profit entities relevant in employment terms) amounted to HUF 411 000 or HUF 421 700 if workfare employees are excluded. Net average wages amounted to HUF 273 300 excluding allowances and HUF 280 500 including allowances. Both the gross and the net average wage excluding allowances increased by 9.5 %. What’s more, net wages including allowances increased by 9.2 % year-on-year. Regular gross average wages (excluding bonuses, rewards and the one-month extra benefit) may be estimated to be HUF 390 200, having increased by 9.8 % in one year. Gross average wages amounted to HUF 423 800 at companies, HUF 386 800 at budgetary institutions, and HUF 362 900 in the non-profit sector, equal to year-on-year increases of 8.5 %, 13.3 %, and 8.8 %, respectively. The wage increases prescheduled in the various progressive systems – thus including the wage increase for doctors, judges, lawyers, and nursery school employees – caused the budgetary gross average wage increase to surpass the average increase seen by the national economy. Gross average wages were the highest in the finance and insurance section (HUF 714 900) and they were the lowest in hotel accommodation and catering (HUF 247 500). Gross average wages amounted to HUF 447 200 for men and HUF 375 500 for women in full-time employment, representing an increase of 9.2 % for men and of 10.2% for women in one year. Real wages increased by 6.6 % and consumer prices increased by 2.7 % year-on-year.

The main types of central taxation are personal income tax, value added tax, excise duty and interest tax.

There are three VAT rates in Hungary today: 27%, 18% and 5%, where the latter two can be considered as preferential rates. The 5% rate applies to books, certain foods, and products whose sale the State supports through a lower rate of VAT. Most products and services are subject to 27% VAT, whereas certain services (e.g. financial services) are tax-exempt, i.e. no VAT is payable on them. A high excise duty is levied on fuel, alcoholic drinks and tobacco products. Interest tax is payable on interest earned from savings in Hungary, investment yields, market profits from shares; the applicable tax is 15% of the interest income from investment.

Local authorities may levy local taxes. These include: asset-based taxes (building taxes and property taxes), communal taxes, and local business tax.

The personal income tax rate is 15% for all categories of income.

A family tax advantage is available after each child, and the more children in the family, the greater the amount of the allowance.

  • An allowance of HUF 66 670 is available for one child,
  • an allowance of HUF 133 330 is available for two children,
  • and an allowance of HUF 220 000 is available for three children.

This is the tax base for which the calculated tax does not have to be paid for the above amounts. The amount of tax saved is HUF 10 000 for one child, HUF 20 000 for each of two children (for a total of HUF 40 000), and HUF 33 000 for each of three children (for a total of HUF 99 000). The HUF 33 000 allowance applies to the fourth and each additional child. It is important to note that with this allowance, the employee takes home more money but the employer does not pay more taxes. The consolidated tax base is reduced by the allowance for first marriage. Both spouses may reduce their personal income tax by a monthly net amount of HUF 5 000 for the 24 months after the wedding if at least one of them is marrying for the first time.

The following two tables show the total labour cost and net salary for monthly gross salaries of HUF 180 000 and HUF 800 000 (based on one year’s work, with one, two or three dependent children).

Employment 1 - Salaries and wages: HUF 180 000

1 child

2 children

3 children

Gross monthly average wage:

HUF 180 000

HUF 180 000

HUF 180 000

Annual gross income:

HUF 2 160 000

HUF 2 160 000

HUF 2 160 000

Welfare contribution tax:

HUF 27 900

HUF 27 900

HUF 27 900

Vocational training contribution:

HUF 2 700

HUF 2 700

HUF 2 700

Social security contribution (18.5%):

HUF 33 300

HUF 20 300

HUF 2 700

Maternity leave (GYES)

HUF 0

HUF 0

HUF 0

Family tax allowance:

HUF 10 000

HUF 40 000

HUF 99 000

Tax allowance for newlyweds:

HUF 0

HUF 0

HUF 0

Calculated PIT:

HUF 27 000

HUF 27 000

HUF 27 000

PIT decreased by the family tax allowance:

HUF 17 000

HUF 0

HUF 0

Unused family tax allowance:

HUF 0

HUF 0

HUF 41 400

Total taxes:

HUF 17 000

HUF 0

HUF 0

Tax credit:

HUF 0

HUF 0

HUF 0

Total employee allowance used:

HUF 10 000

HUF 40 000

HUF 57 600

Total monthly deductions from gross pay:

HUF 50 300

HUF 20 300

HUF 2 700

Total monthly employer’s allowance:

HUF 0

HUF 0

HUF 0

Total monthly employer’s contribution:

HUF 30 600

HUF 30 600

HUF 30 600

Monthly amount payable to the state:

HUF 80 900

HUF 50 900

HUF 33 300

Employer’s total monthly costs:

HUF 210 600

HUF 210 600

HUF 210 600

Net monthly average wage:

HUF 129 700

HUF 159 700

HUF 177 300

Family allowance:

HUF 12 200

HUF 26 600

HUF 48 000

Total monthly net income:

HUF 141 900

HUF 186 300

HUF 225 300

Employment 2 - Salaries and wages: HUF 800 000

1 child

2 children

3 children

Gross monthly average wage:

HUF 800 000

HUF 800 000

HUF 800 000

Annual gross income:

HUF 9 600 000

HUF 9 600 000

HUF 9 600 000

Welfare contribution tax:

HUF 124 000

HUF 124 000

HUF 124 000

Vocational training contribution:

HUF 12 000

HUF 12 000

HUF 12 000

Social security contribution (18.5%):

HUF 148 000

HUF 148 000

HUF 148 000

Maternity leave (GYES)

HUF 0

HUF 0

HUF 0

Family tax allowance:

HUF 10 000

HUF 40 000

HUF 99 000

Tax allowance for newlyweds:

HUF 0

HUF 0

HUF 0

Calculated PIT:

HUF 120 000

HUF 120 000

HUF 120 000

PIT decreased by the family tax allowance:

HUF 110 000

HUF 80 000

HUF 21 000

Unused family tax allowance:

HUF 0

HUF 0

HUF 0

Total taxes:

HUF 110 000

HUF 80 000

HUF 21 000

Tax credit:

HUF 0

HUF 0

HUF 0

Total employee allowance used:

HUF 10 000

HUF 40 000

HUF 99 000

Total monthly deductions from gross pay:

HUF 258 000

HUF 228 000

HUF 169 000

Total monthly employer’s allowance:

HUF 0

HUF 0

HUF 0

Total monthly employer’s contribution:

HUF 136 000

HUF 136 000

HUF 136 000

Monthly amount payable to the state:

HUF 394 000

HUF 364 000

HUF 305 000

Employer’s total monthly costs:

HUF 936 000

HUF 936 000

HUF 936 000

Net monthly average wage:

HUF 542 000

HUF 572 000

HUF 631 000

Family allowance:

HUF 12 200

HUF 26 600

HUF 48 000

Total monthly net income:

HUF 554 200

HUF 598 600

HUF 679 000

Employers may provide fringe benefits subject to taxes by paying into the relevant (catering, accommodation or leisure) wallets of the Széchenyi Recreation Card (SZÉP Card).

The education system

Public education institutions in Hungary include nursery schools, primary schools, grammar schools, vocational grammar schools and secondary vocational schools, basic level art educational institutions, boarding schools and dormitories. Public education establishments may be founded and maintained by the state, national minority self-governments, legal church entities and organisations engaged in religious activities, or other people and organisations.

Participation in public education financed by the public institution maintenance centre is generally free of charge in Hungary, although in certain cases a limited fee may be charged (for music lessons, dormitory accommodation, etc.).

The state also supports the operation of non-state-run educational institutions.

Children can attend a crèche in Hungary up to the age of three, where they are looked after in small groups, with whole-day or half-day supervision.

Nursery school education begins when the child is three years old and lasts until 31 August of the year in which the child reaches the age of seven. Nursery school education is compulsory, from which exemption may be requested to a limited extent.

Subject to reaching the level of development required for school admittance, children in Hungary are required to participate in compulsory education from the calendar year in which they reach the age of six before 31 August. Compulsory education ends in the academic year in which students reach the age of 18.

As a rule, primary education lasts for eight years; it may be received at a primary school for eight years or, after completing the fourth or sixth academic year, at a secondary school for a further six or eight academic years.

Secondary education commences in year nine and, depending on the type of school, is completed at the end of year ten, twelve or thirteen. The main types of secondary education institutions are: secondary vocational school, grammar vocational school and grammar school. Upon completing studies at the latter two, students take a secondary school leaving examination.

Institutions of higher education in Hungary are state and non-state universities and colleges recognised by the State. Universities provide training for four, five or six years, while colleges provide courses that last three or four years. School leavers receiving the required marks in the secondary school leaving examination may be admitted to a higher education institution, without an entrance examination.

Cultural and social life

There are numerous entertainment and recreation opportunities in Hungary. The larger shopping centres offer multi-screen cinemas, in addition to which there is also an art cinema network. Theatres, museums, and exhibits are very popular. The country offers a wide range of tourist programmes, festivals, and thematic days.  As regards entrance fees, the same discounts are available to both EU and Hungarian nationals.

Young people throughout Europe are familiar with the summer music festival Sziget as well as the cultural Szeged Open-Air Festival; other festivals, such as VOLT, EFOTT, Balaton Sound and Fishing on Orfű, also attract huge numbers of visitors. Also worthy of mention are the many evening music venues and clubs to be found in the cities, which have made Budapest one of the favourite leisure destinations for Europe's young people. Hungary is very rich in natural wonders and botanical gardens, with hiking a popular weekend excursion. Hungary is especially well-endowed as regards thermal waters and boasts a number of world-famous four and five-star wellness and spa resorts. In addition, countless excellent gastronomical events take place throughout the country. All cities offer sporting opportunities: a variety of sports can be pursued at various sports facilities and fields, and special, extreme sports and gyms are offered in larger cities. The most popular sports in Hungary are, in addition to football, basketball, handball, swimming, running, and cycling.

Text last edited on: 06/2021

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