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Government measures take effect

April is set to bring a number of important regulatory changes into the lives of Hungarians.

Households from this month can opt to get refunds for overpaid gas bills at the end of each year instead of rolling the surplus over to the next year. As a result of changes in the labor law, employers will be allowed to withhold employee holidays only if there is immediate and severe risk to the company's operation, while leftover holidays will have to be used by March 31 the following year.

The law on transferring wages directly to employee's bank accounts now stipulates that the bank transfer must not pose an additional charge on the employee, that is bank service charges will have to be paid by the employers. A fourth amendment requires leased workforce to be paid the same salary as full-time workers. Main contractors, especially in the building industry, will be criminally liable if their subcontractors are found to be employing staff illegally.

This month will also see an average 16% drop in the price of thousands of subsidized drugs - mainly painkillers, anti-inflammatory, anti-cholesterol drugs as well as some antibiotics, while prices of 141 medications will go up. Restaurants and hotels will be charged a monthly television license fee of Ft 2,901 per set, 40% of which the government will pay until December this year. Excise tax on cigarettes will increase 2.7% in line with a government decision last year. (Gazdasági Rádió)