During the past two years of the pandemic, the need to unify the rules of home office and remote work has arisen over and over again, which was so far regulated by the legislator temporarily, only for the time of the state of emergency.
As, during this period, the employers and employees were able to properly adapt to the challenges of working in different places of work, and they were able to develop the necessary systems, as a matter of fact it is not expected that the parties will return to the pre-pandemic forms of work after the future cessation of the state of emergency. On the basis of these changed market needs, however, the legislator shall modify and unify the regulation of the remote work in the long run.
Accordingly – beyond the emergency period – the relevant sections of both the Labour Code and the Labour Protection Act were modified. That is, as per the currently available information – considering that the current rules of the emergency situation and the new modified regulations of the Labour Code are based on a similar structure – the rules of home office and remote work have been finalised.
In other words, since the start of the pandemic, for the first time the legislative environment provides an opportunity to develop permanent internal regulatory systems at the employers concerning remote work activities. That is, after the revision of the internal regulations, it is possible to regulate remote work in such a way, which complies with both the emergency and the post-emergency labour law rules.
Hereinafter – without completeness – we highlight some of these new, unified regulatory system’s features. We kindly record, however, that in addition to the briefly described below, additional labour legislation (work schedule, work equipment, monitoring), labour protection (employer’s responsibility), and taxation (flat-rate) questions are also covered by the modification.
1. Prior to the pandemic, there was a significant difference between the two institutions, as the concept of remote work defined in the law clearly defined the forms of work involved, and essentially all other work-types, which were not performed in the place provided by the employer, were considered as home office.
In the summer of 2021, the concept of the remote work was transformed, bringing the differences between the two concepts closer. However, in the light of the fact that the Labour Code has not been modified, in the long term the application of these rules was unclear.
Nevertheless, the current amendment of the Labour Code does not require the regularity or the IT tools, thereby these conditions will not remain in the future when classifying a legal relationship as remote work.
2. Correspondingly to the temporarily rules of August, the rules of the time limit shall be maintained. That is, working at the different location in a reporting year may still not exceed one third of the working time.
At the same time, the possibility of derogation remains, so depending on the agreement of the parties the application of the rules of the remote work shall be ordered in the different rates of work at home.
3. There is no change in that the employer and the employee shall agree in writing on remote work.
In the case of remote work with an IT device, the employees can choose the specific place of work by themselves on the basis of the employer’s labour protection information. However, in this context we highlight one of the significant risk questions on the employer’s side, as in that case if the employee – whether by their own choice – works permanently from abroad, it may be necessary to apply different rules of labour law, taxation and social insurance, thereby a possible restriction of the workplace should be stipulated in the agreement of the parties.
In summary of the amendments, it can be stated that, although the provisions in question will enter into force after the cessation of the state of emergency, considering the prior standardisation of the remote work rules, it is possible for the employers to develop coherent, permanent internal regulatory systems.
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