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36 month-long working time frame is not unconstitutional

The constitutional court has rejected a motion against the amendment of the Hungarian Labour Code in 2018, however, it stated the Parliament’s legislative omission. In 2018 the Hungarian Parliament adopted an amendment to the Hungarian Labour Code that resulted in the extension of the maximum duration of the working timeframe in a collective agreement up to 36 months if it is justified by objective or technical reasons, or reasons related to work organisation.

In its ruling issued on 27 May 2021, the Constitutional Court did not find unconstitutional the possibility of the application of a (maximum) 36-month long working timeframe. However, the Constitutional Court has delivered the following important remarks. On one hand, the Constitutional Court considered as a constitutional requirement that the average of the weekly rest period and the average of the extraordinary working time performed by the employee must be calculated on a one year long basis, even if the agreed working timeframe is longer than one year. On the other hand, the Court stated that the Hungarian Parliament had failed to adopt provisions that would guarantee that the employer, by terminating unilaterally the collective agreement, cannot escape its additional obligations for longer working timeframe under the collective agreement while enjoying its benefits.

According to the Constitutional Court’s decision, the Hungarian Parliament is obliged to fulfil its above mentioned obligations and repair its legislative omissions by 31 July 2021.