Depending on the organization structure of your company, you might need to offer positions to your employees that are not regular nine-to-five jobs. The allocated cumulative working time (also known as working time banking) offers you and your employees the chance to agree on more flexible working hours that may include night and weekend shifts as well.
Creating batches of working time
When you use allocated cumulative working time as a framework for defining working hours, you create batches that are not longer than 16 weeks (or four months). Since weekly regular working time is defined in 40 hours in Hungary, in a 16-week work period, the employee’s working time is 16 x 40 hours = 640 hours.
N.B.: There are some specific cases when the period for using the allocated working time structure may exceed 16 weeks, but it still cannot be longer than 26 weeks (or 6 months). This might apply if the work is performed:
- in shifts,
- on a stand-by basis, or
- in a position defined by Section 135 (4) of the Labor Code (e.g. as a pilot, cabin crew member, railway employee, sailor, etc.)
In case you have a collective agreement with your employees, and if technical or time-management reasons make it necessary, the allocated cumulative working time may be used for 36 months.
Distributing the allocated cumulative working time
The 640 hours of working time must be distributed over 16 weeks in accordance with the following restrictions and rules:
- Working time may be distributed over every day of the week (including Sunday) but NOT on public holidays (e.g. August 20, October 23, January 1);
- Working time may be distributed unequally, but daily working time must be no less than 4 hours and no more than 12 hours (so the employee may work, for example, 6 hours on one day and 12 hours the next), but the weekly working time may not be more than 48 hours (see the example at the end of the document);
- There must be at least 11 hours between the end of the preceding day’s work and the beginning of the next day’s work;
- Work schedules must be communicated in advance and in writing for at least one week, and this must be done at least 168 hours beforehand. Accordingly, the work schedules of the employee must be communicated for the week beginning April 1, 2019 no later than March 25, 2019 (at least 168 hours beforehand, e.g. 08:00 in the morning). This information should be communicated in the usual way for the given place and always in writing; that is, it is sufficient to post this in a prominent, clearly visible place.
- The employee must be given at least 20 minutes in breaks for a work day of more than six hours and an additional 25 minutes in breaks for a work day of more than nine hours (in the latter case, this means a total of at least 45 minutes);
- There must be at least two days off every week, and in each month, at least one of these must be on a Sunday. However, time off maybe given in such a way that the average for the allocated cumulative working time is 2 days off every week, while in case of unequal distribution, 1 day off is due after 6 days of continuous work.
- Only work that differs from the work schedule or work that exceeds the allocated cumulative working time constitutes extraordinary working time (overtime). An example of the first case is when the employee is scheduled to work from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on a given day but nevertheless works till 8:00 p.m. (in this case the extra two hours constitute overtime and must be paid accordingly). However, more than 12 hours of work a day may not be required even as overtime. An example of the second case is when the employee works 645 hours instead of 640 hours in the period of the allocated cumulative working time; this entails 5 hours of overtime.
Even in the framework of allocated cumulative working hours, you must pay certain wage supplements to your employees. These include the following:
- There is a 50% bonus for working on Sunday;
- There is a 30% shift bonus for working between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. if there is a general change in the start of the day’s work (it generally changes if the scheduled starting time for work differs on at least one third of the work days and there is at least a four-hour difference between the earliest and the latest starting time);
- There is a 15% nighttime bonus if the employee is not entitled to a shift bonus and the night work (i.e., work done after 10 p.m.) exceeds 1 hour;
- There is a 50% (overtime) bonus for working in hours outside the scheduled working time and over and above the allocated cumulative working time; (however, the same amount of leave time may be taken instead of this bonus, but since the amount corresponding to the base wage must be paid for this leave time, this is not really worth it for the employer);
- There is 100% bonus for working on a scheduled weekly day off (weekly rest time), but the amount of the bonus is only 50% if the employer provides another weekly day off (weekly rest time);
“Overtime” means extraordinary working time, working in hours outside the scheduled working time. Since it diminishes the scheduled rest time of your employee, it must be compensated. Moreover, the maximum amount of overtime is defined by law in order to avoid the exhaustion of employees.
In the default case, the amount of extraordinary working time (“overtime”) is 250 hours per year as of January 1, 2019 , but if the employer concludes an agreement with the employee in writing, the employee can be assigned an additional 150 hours per year, i.e. overtime may reach 400 hours per year.
N.B.: Different rules apply to standby jobs (such as security guard, receptionist).
Let’s see some examples!
- If 4*12 hours are allocated for a particular week, in the normal case, 1*12 hours overtime can still be assigned for the “remaining” time (in the case of equal work schedules) (no more than that because the two days of weekly rest time must be observed); If however an unequal work schedule is used, 2*12 hours overtime can be assigned (no more than that because one day off must be provided after six days of work). However, the following must be observed in both cases:
- 1*12 hours or 2*12 hours are considered as extraordinary work (“overtime”) in full; therefore, the bonus must be paid for it;
- the weekly working time may not be more than 48 hours on average in the allocated cumulative working time, so for another week, the working time must be reduced by the overtime assigned for the given week in order to reach the average 48 hours per week.
Disclaimer: The data in this article reflect the state of affairs upon publication. To get up-to-date information, always consult your accountant.