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“To be honest, I think the government handled the crisis as well as possible," says Levente Csengery, Partner at KCG Partners. “The COVID-19 regulations do exactly what they’re supposed to – protect public health and keep us all alive, and they’re working.“ At the time of writing, Hungary has had 3535 confirmed cases (and 460 deaths) from the new coronavirus. 

The coronavirus epidemic has shown that implementing appropriate occupational safety and health measures and providing adequate conditions are essential in all sectors regardless of the activity. After the coronavirus outbreak, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) had published a guidance for the workplace. Now, a couple of month later, at the end of April 2020, the EU-OSHA issued guidance on coming back to work. The goal of these non-binding guidelines is to help employers and workers to stay safe and healthy in a working environment that has been changed significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of April 2020, the Hungarian Government submitted to the Parliament a bill on the termination of the undivided joint ownership on agricultural lands and the clarification of the data of the rightholders of properties deemed agricultural land in the land registry, aiming at the establishment of a clear and transparent land ownership structure.

On 10 April 2020, the Government issued Decree No. 102/2020. (IV. 10) and introduced new temporary corporate law measures with the aim of facilitating the decision-making process of the companies in compliance with the restrictions on movement introduced due to the spread of the epidemic.

Subsequent to the previous reduction of the social contribution tax effective from 1 July 2019 (17.5%), which is the main labour-related tax burden of employers, the Hungarian legislation further decreases the social contribution tax as of 1 July 2020.

The Hungarian Government introduced two special taxes from 1 May 2020 in order to tackle the financial effects of the coronavirus disease: the special tax on credit institutions and the tax on commercial chains. According to the official communication of the Ministry of Finance „the goal is that the burden of these taxes – that contribute to the improvement of the balance of public finances – are borne not by the consumers but by the actors that are capable of such.”

Hungary announced and successfully notified to the European Commission a HUF 50 billion (approximately EUR 140 million) aid scheme in April 2020. The subsidy to improve competitiveness has been designed to help the medium-sized and large enterprises that are active in the manufacturing or business services sector that face difficulties due to loss of income and liquidity resulting from the economic impact of the pandemic.

The Hungarian Parliament has started the discussion of the bill that is implementing the provisions of Directive (EU) 2018/1808 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 (Audiovisual Media Services Directive) (the “Directive”). According to the Directive, Member States must ensure their compliance with the Directive by 19 September 2020.

At the end of March 2020, the Hungarian Government has submitted to the Parliament a bill on the arrangement of the ownership of properties affected by land use right of a producing co-operative (in Hungarian: termelőszövetkezet) and on the amendment of other acts of land-related subject.

The independent administrative and labour courts ceased to exist in Hungary as of 31 March 2020, and in the future, administrative and employment legal actions will be brought before regional courts. All cases that were in the sole jurisdiction of the Budapest-Capital Administrative and Labour Courts have been transferred to the sole jurisdiction of the Budapest-Capital Regional Court.

Protecting workplaces and businesses is of foremost importance amidst fighting COVID-19. In order to so, Hungary – like most of other developed countries – also introduced numerous emergency tax measures in the past few weeks, as follows:

With regard to the state of emergency the Hungarian Government has passed several employment related laws. According to Government Decree no. 47/2020, the provisions of the Labour Code shall be applied with several modifications during the term of state of emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The purpose of the modifications is to make the employment regulations more flexible and to enable the employers and employees to adapt to the challenges caused by the pandemic.

The currently running Public Administration and Public Service Development Strategy 2014-2020 program has set high goals for the processes of public administration, including organization, consistency, professionally trained staff, cost-effectiveness and competitive service fees. To reach these goals, the debate of a legislative package aiming to simplify the operation of government offices started in November 2019 in the Hungarian Parliament. The package was accepted in December 2019, with the majority of the changes getting into effect starting in March 2020, and the remainder coming in September 2020 and January 2021.

In response to the new trends in the labour market, the rules on training grant financed from the Hungarian National Employment Fund are changing in 2020. Favorable amendments will make the process of applying for and using this grant more flexible and as a new option, grant may also be applied for job keeping purposes.

In the framework of the Hungarian ‘Public Administration and Public Service Development Strategy 2014-2020’ a single building authority system was introduced as of 1 March 2020.

KCG Partners at a Glance

KCG Partners is a Hungarian business law firm providing a comprehensive range of legal services to international and local clients seeking local knowledge and global perspective. The firm comprises business-minded lawyers with sector-specific expertise, creating value for clients by applying a problem-solving approach and delivering innovative solutions.

The firm has a wealth of knowledge in corporate law, M&A, projects and construction, energy, real estate, tax, employment, litigation, privacy and forensics, securitization, estate planning and capital markets.

To address clients’ regional and international concerns, the firm maintains active working relationships with other outstanding independent law firms in Central and Eastern Europe, whilst senior counsel Mr. Blaise Pásztory brings over 40 years’ of US capital market and fund management experience.

KCG Partners Law Firm is the result of the teamwork of passionate and talented lawyers guided by the same principles and sharing the same values: 

  • Our most valuable asset is our people. They are the engine of our business and the key to our success.
  • We push boundaries by looking for innovative solutions that can empower our clients to achieve greater results.
  • We place our experience, commitment and professionalism to your service.
  • We are driven by our vision to shape and lead the Hungarian legal market and become a first choice law firm in our practice areas.

Firm's website: http://www.kcgpartners.com