New laws seen limiting retail working hours


The Hungarian government is planning to make changes to the country’s regulatory environment affecting the working hours of retail workers, according to a report today in government-friendly daily Magyar Idők. Reports yesterday suggested stricter regulations for Sunday working hours are being considered.

Christmas Eve on December 24, when Hungarians traditionally celebrate Christmas, could be made an official public holiday, Kristóf Szatmári, MP of the governing Fidesz, told Magyar Idők. No further details have been published on the matter, although the MP added that the issue of making December 24 a public holiday is being considered along with other proposed legislation affecting retail workers.

Press reports suggested yesterday that junior governing partner the Christian Democratic Peopleʼs Party (KDNP) is planning to propose changes to related regulations, making two Sundays free for retail workers monthly, and capping Sunday working hours at eight hours.

The reported proposals to the regulatory environment of Hungary’s retail sector come after the Sunday closing law, a measure restricting all retailers from opening on Sundays, was repealed this March, having been in effect for just a year. The measure was unpopular with the Hungarian public, a fact the government acknowledged when repealing the law. Since retailers have been allowed to open their doors on Sundays once again, retail sales have been increasing.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said earlier in October that Good Friday would be declared a public holiday in Hungary from next year, the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation, Hungarian news agency MTI reported. Some analysts already announced their concerns, saying that the move might negatively affect the Hungarian economy, according to reports.

Currently, Hungarian public holidays include New Yearʼs Day, Easter Sunday and Monday, Labor Day, Whit Monday, All Saintsʼ Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, MTI recalled, adding that the national holidays of March 15, August 20 and October 23 are similarly work holidays.

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