The labour code was amended with respect to teleworking

2022 February 8.
Author: Dr. Péter Szemán

In accordance with the rules applied during the emergency, both the Labor Code and the Labor Protection Act were amended with regard to the rules on telework.

The new rules will be formally incorporated into the provisions of the Labor Code and the Labor Protection Act upon the cessation of the emergency, this is the date of entry into force, but this exact date is not yet known.

Until the end of the emergency, Government Decree 487/2020 (XI.11.) on the application of the rules related to telework during the emergency shall apply, which already contains very similar rules to the new rules of the Labor Code and the Labor Protection Act, which come into force upon the cessation of an emergency.

According to the amendment of the law, it is considered teleworking if the employee performs the work either in part or in full in a place separate from the employer’s premises. So, as a new item, even partly home office work qualifies as teleworking.

Teleworking has to be agreed in the employment contract.

Unless the parties agree otherwise, during teleworking

  • the employer’s right of instruction extends to the definition of the tasks performed by the employee,
  • the employer may also exercise its controlling right by using a computer device remotely,
  • the employee works at the employer’s premises for one third of the working days in the year in question, and
  • the employer ensures that the employee can enter into the premises of the employer and stay in touch with another employee.

So, unless the parties agree otherwise, the above rules apply, and the application of different provisions (e.g., different proportion of home and office work, scope of the instruction right of the employer) requires a separate agreement between the parties.

With regard to occupational safety and health regulations, based on an agreement with the employer, teleworking can also be carried out with the asset provided by the employee. In the case of such asset, the employer shall ensure that the asset is in a non-hazardous and safe condition during the risk assessment. In this case, however, the employee is responsible for maintaining the health and safety of the asset.

If the telework is carried out by means of an information technology or computer device

  • the employer informs the employee in writing about the rules of working conditions that do not endanger health and are safe,
  • the employee chooses the place of work subject to the fulfilment of the above working conditions, and
  • unless otherwise agreed, the employer may remotely monitor compliance with occupational safety and health rules using a computer device.

Therefore, an important rule and change is that the employer has to communicate the occupational safety requirements to the employee in writing, however, the place of work itself can be chosen by the employee by taking into account the fulfilment of these conditions.

In the case of telework by non-computer means, the parties agree in writing on the place of work.

With the above rules, in our opinion, the difference between teleworking and working from home is starting to disappear, as partly home office work is also considered teleworking.

According to both the currently effective rules and the rules which will be incorporated in the Labor Code with the cessation of the emergency, the teleworking must be regulated in an employment contract, so an amendment to an employment contract is necessary if the employee works only partially from home.