Home office vs. telework in Hungary: rights and obligations

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Home office vs. telework in Hungary: rights and obligations

Over the past year and a half, different kinds of remote work have become widespread at many companies. Although the terms home office and telework are often used interchangeably in Hungary, they refer to different concepts. You should be aware of the difference and the implications for you as an employer to ensure that you comply with the regulations.

Telework: clearly defined by Hungarian law

The Hungarian Labor Code defines telework as work performed on a regular basis at a place other than the employer’s premises, using an IT device, where the result of the work is delivered electronically. The option of telework must be included in the labor contract: if it is not, the employee is not allowed to do remote work regularly. While “regular basis” is not defined by the regulation, working away from the employer’s premises in over 50% of the employee’s working hours, or on the same day every week is considered telework by case law.

The location of telework must be audited by the employer to ensure safe working conditions. After the audit, the employee can only alter the location with the employer’s approval. The employer is responsible for the maintenance of any working equipment (such as computers) they provide to the employee for telework. The employer is allowed to check on the employee realizing telework. However, to protect the privacy of the employee, such checks must be announced in advance.

By default, telework is realized in flexible working hours, meaning that the working hours do not need to be registered, and overtime pay is not available. Naturally, the parties can also agree to fixed working hours, in which case the working hours need to be registered, and the employee is paid for their extra hours. Holidays must be registered in both cases.

Home office: everything that is not telework

Home office is not defined by the Hungarian regulation, meaning that the conditions described above do not apply to it. To put it simply, remote work qualifies as home office if it is not regular. According to a research conducted by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH), over 65% of the employees who work remotely do so on an ad hoc basis, meaning that they are working in home office rather than realizing telework. Due to the lack of regulation, the option of home office does not need to be included in the labor contract, its location does not need to be audited by the employer, and the working hours of the employee remain unchanged. Although the Hungarian Labor Code will be updated later this year, it is uncertain whether home office will be regulated.

If you feel confused by all of this, the following chart summarizes the main differences between telework and home office as described in our article.

 TeleworkHome office
Available toEmployees whose contract includes itAll employees
Regularity of remote workRegularIrregular
Auditing the location of workRequiredNot required
Working hoursFlexible by defaultFixed by default

Please note that the employer must finance any expenses related to both telework and home office, such as internet bills. To avoid future disputes, it is advisable to prepare a labor contract that specifies which expenses are paid by who.

Contact Helpers Finance for HR support!

As we have explained, the option of telework must be included in the labor contract of your employees. Even if they are only working in home office, it is recommended to have any details related to that (such as what are the working hours and who pays which expenses) in writing. Luckily for you, our comprehensive payroll and HR support service includes preparing contracts. What is more, we can also help you with accountancy. Whether it is telework or home office, no paperwork will remain undone with Helpers Finance.

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