Work life balance

Hungary flagHungarians do not mind working overtime for the sake of a good life for themselves and their families. As in other developed countries, a balance between work and leisure time is sometimes hard to find.

Once a comfortable business relationship has been established, Hungarians usually enjoy talking about their families. An average Hungarian family has no more than 2 children. During their adulthood, children, just as the elderly and extended family are expected to provide for themselves and do not normally receive financial support from their relatives. Usually, both spouses go to work and many will get a second job in farming or small family enterprises to be able to earn sufficient income. The declining birth rate is ascribed to the increasing number of educated and economically active women who are tending to marry later in life and have fewer children. Important events such as weddings, funerals and other occasions bring the family together. When abroad, Hungarians tend to maintain their national ties and establish local communities.

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OECD Work-Life Balance: [en]

National holidays

The Public Holidays in Hungary are: January 1 (New Year’s Day); March 15 (National Day); May 1 (Labour Day); August 20 (Constitution Day/Saint Stephen’s Day); October 23 (Republic Day); November 1 (All Saints’ Day); December 25-26 (Christmas).

In Hungary, people can take 21 days of vacation, which increases with seniority. Hungarians tend to take their holidays in June, July and August and around Christmas in winter. Sometimes, when Public Holidays fall on a Tuesday or Thursday, workers may exchange a Saturday in order to gain a long weekend.

Working hours

A standard working week is 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, starting at 8 or 8:30 am. Part-time work is not well regulated yet and business people commonly stay late at work, even on weekends. As office hours may vary, you should check before contacting your business partner. Friday is often a short day and business people may leave at about 4 pm or earlier. Banks generally open at 8am and close early, while shops are open until 6pm from Monday to Friday. Daily lunch breaks usually do not last long, although business lunches may turn into long discussions.

Working in Hungary

Generally, working hours and employment conditions (defined in the Hungarian Labour Code) are like in Western Europe. Fulltime working hours are generally eight hours a day (40 hours per week). Despite some flexibility in certain employment areas, the rules in force make sure that working hours do not go over 12 hours a day (60 hours a week).

Holiday leave in Hungary is in harmony with age, although employers may offer more than the minimum. Holiday entitlement starts from 20-30 days, and increases as one gets older. Moreover, there are ten public holidays, including Christian festivals and Hungary’s National Day (October 23).

In point of tax rates, personal income tax is commonly 16%. The employer also deducts an additional amount from the gross salary for pension insurance (10%), health insurance (6%) and labour market contributions (1.5%) (paid directly to the National Customs and Tax Authority – NAV).

Work culture

Hungary work culture is mainly based on seriousness, good quality and respect of the customers. The working program is according with the international labour regulation of 40 hours per week, but it could be extended since the employees are interested in additional income. Second jobs are also an option for the ones interested, the general behaviour is in favour of work.

Punctual and dedicated to their jobs, Hungarian are efficient at their working position no matter the field of activity. In business they are hard negotiators, but ones their obligations are settled the results are on the way.

Health insurance

If you get ill or have an accident during a visit to Hungary, free or reduced-cost treatment is available, in most cases, on production of a valid EHIC card or relevant documentation. This only covers state-funded hospital treatment, so you will receive treatment on the same terms as insured residents of Hungary. Treatment in private clinics is generally not covered without additional private health insurance and sometimes you may have to pay for a part of the treatment received from the state-hospital. Pharmacies are usually open from 8am to 8pm from Monday to Friday for prescriptions and over-¬the-counter drugs. However, pharmacists are not allowed to distribute controlled medication without a prescription from a doctor. Pharmacies are usually open from 8am to 8pm from Monday to Friday. There are also designated duty pharmacies that can be accessed during the night, at weekends and on public holidays. Three types of hospital exist in Hungary: the standard type (“korhaz”), a hospital tied in with a university (“klinika”) and a private clinic (“rendelo”).

The national emergency telephone number for ambulance services is 104. (Source: Global Market Briefing. (2003) Doing Business with Hungary. London, Kogan Page).

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