Hungary wants to approve up to 400 overtime annually by law. Thousands protested against the plans. Because the opportunity to refuse, most of the employees do not have, according to the unions.
In the Hungarian capital of Budapest, thousands of people took to the streets against a planned law that significantly increases the number of extraordinary hours possible in the year.
So far, the limit of overtime hours allowed in the year is 250. But on Monday Parliament wants to approve an amendment that gives the worker the right to oblige his employees to work at least 250 extraordinary hours in the year. More hours beyond normal working hours, up to the 400 limit, must therefore be discussed with the employee. In Germany, each employee spent an average of 54 extraordinary hours in 2017 – for the whole year.
The remuneration can take years
If the bill is to be approved, overtime will no longer have to be compensated with money or vacation days within a year. According to the new directive, the employer could take three years to do it.
The major unions of the year have called for protest in front of the Parliament in Budapest. Laszlo Kordas, president of the Hungarian Federation of Trade Unions, said in a speech at the meeting: "In Hungary, we have the greatest weight on our shoulders, in return we get the lowest salary in Europe".
In Hungary, a minimum legal wage is in force since the beginning of 2018: according to the European Job Mobility Portal, this is 138,000 forints per month, the equivalent of around 430 euros. In comparison, in Germany, until the end of the year, a minimum legal salary of 8.84 euros applies per hour and therefore a monthly salary of around 1500 euros with 40 hours of work per week. In 2019, the credit increases to 9.19 euros per hour.
Low earnings are like coercion
The low salary in Hungary is a constraint for many workers to work overtime and for employers a lever, underlined the unions. Therefore, the impression given by the bill is incorrect, all overtime from the 250 mark would have been consulted and therefore voluntarily.
The German IG Metall solidarized with the protesters in Budapest. The alleged readiness of Hungarians to work overtime is just an indicator of unpaid wages.