The Hungarian government passed a suite of amendments to the nation’s labor laws that will significantly benefit employers on Wednesday despite vocal protests on the Parliament floor.
The new laws increase the number of overtime hours that employers can require employees to work per year from the code’s previously allowed 250 hours to 400 hours. The length of time that employers have to pay workers for overtime was also extended from one to three years and employers can offer payment in the form of salary or vacation.
Another controversial aspect of the new laws is the possibility they create for direct arrangements between employers and individual workers, undermining the role of unions and collective bargaining in the employment process.
MPs from Orbán’s Fidesz’ leading party proposed the amendments to Hungarian labor law at the end of November with the aim of addressing the issues of labor shortage, attracting investors, and improving economic growth.
Opposition MPs disrupted the Parliament’s plenary sessions on Monday with shouts and whistles when their attempt at filibuster failed. Protests continued during voting today, but the measure passed with 130 votes in favor, 52 against and one abstention. The amendments have also caused discontent among many citizens and trade unions, which have organized protests of the “slave law” during the upcoming weekend.
Socialist leader Bertalan Tóth called Wednesday’s session “scandalous and illegitimate,” claiming that the MPs could vote without their IDs, which he emphasized was “against all rules.”