When do I need to pay overtime to employees?

December 8, 2016

Last updated on 6 January 2023.

Employees are entitled to wage supplements (extra pay on top of their hourly wages) when they work overtime, on weekends or rest days, at night or on state holidays. As the employer, it is your legal responsibility to determine your employee’s schedules (while keeping within the requirements of the law, of course), so you need to take the mandatory wage supplements into account when doing so – as you might be required to pay overtime to your employees. We summarize the most important regulations below.

Normal working hours

In Hungary, normal workdays are Monday to Friday, while Saturdays and Sundays are considered days off. Full-time employment is defined as 40 hours per week, which makes 8 hours a day. However, some types of businesses, like stores or restaurants, have the kind of operational schedule where employees are often required to work on weekends (rest days) or during night hours. Even in companies that have more usual working hours, it can happen that employees need to work overtime to meet a deadline.

Overtime pay

An important restriction on overtime work is that an employee cannot be ordered to work more than 250 hours per year overtime (although this can be bumped up to 300 if your employees have a collective agreement, or even to 400 with “voluntary overtime”). When working overtime on a workday, employees are entitled to 50% extra pay on their overtime hours. This can be exchanged for extra time off, but only if agreed beforehand. The extra time of must be at least as long as the overtime hours. When working overtime on the weekend (rest days) or a state holiday, the employee is entitled to extra time off plus 50% extra pay on their overtime hours, or, if extra time off cannot be granted, 100% extra pay.

Working on Sundays

Since all Sundays are considered state holidays, there is a 50% wage supplement for working on Sundays (even if it is not overtime work). If Sunday is the employee’s rest day, the supplement is 100%.

Night work

If an employee works a minimum of 1 hour at night (between 10 p.m and 6 a.m), and they are  not working in shifts, they are entitled to a 15% of wage supplement.

Shift work

Finally, there is a supplement for shift work. Working in shifts is defined as follows: if the scheduled starting time for work differs on at least one third of the work days and there is at least a four-hour difference between the earliest and the latest starting time. In such cases, employees are entitled to a 30% shift supplement for working between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Consult your accountant or payroll advisor

Your accountant does not only file invoices and prepare reports for the Tax Authority. He or she also prepares payrolls for you and your employees. If you are not sure how much you will have to pay as wage supplements when you pay overtime to your employees, feel free to consult your accountant (or the payroll advisor working with your accountant).

Beside financial accounting, which mostly deals with the administrative part of accounting, Helpers Hungary also offers management accounting, which helps you in decision making, preparing forecasts, and allocating budgets.

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