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Government Steps Back Following Debates and Public Outcry

2018.11.29.

Following tedious debates and heated public outcry, the government has stepped back from its proposed “slave law.” Officials now insist that an increase in overtime would be voluntary and the one-year compensation period would not be extended.

Implementation of “Slave Law” Accompanied by Demonstrations, Controversies and 4-Hour-Debate

On Wednesday afternoon, having met with the representatives of certain trade unions, the bill’s presenter, Lajos Kósa, announced that even though it would raise the upper threshold for annual overtime to 400 hours, an amendment to the original bill would make it clear that more overtime would only be possible with the employee’s consent.

Kósa thinks the planned modification of the regulation of the rest days of those working uneven hours is in the employees’ best interest. In addition, from now on, employees may initiate modifications to their schedules, he argued.

Furthermore, Kósa insisted that the government’s original goal was to dismantle administrative barriers in the labor code and allow employees to earn more by increasing their work hours on a voluntary basis. He also promised further consultations and talks with the representatives of the workers.

Minutes after Kósa’s announcement, PMO chief Gergely Gulyás claimed that the government—after having discussed Kósa’s individual motion—would not support the extension of the compensation period to three years. He confirmed that additional overtime would only be possible with the worker’s consent.

Reportedly, trade unions have favorably received the new announcements. However, they still oppose the potential extension of the overtime hours to 400. It is also still unclear how workers would go about declining an employer’s request for additional overtime. As a result, the trade unions have yet to call off their December 8 demonstration.

featured image: PMO chief Gergely Gulyás at his regular press briefing on Wednesday; via Zoltán Balogh/ MTI