To curb the fourth wave of the coronavirus epidemic, the government has decided on new protective measures. From 1 November, wearing a mask on public transport will become mandatory again, and employers can require their employees to get vaccinated in order to increase vaccination rates. Vaccinations are expected in the public sector, while mayors at local governments can decide individually. Government decrees on the measures already announced at the government’s daily press brief have been published in the Hungarian Gazette.
From 1 November, as per previous rules, masks must be worn again on public transport vehicles, stations and stops. Children under the age of 6, people with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities or with any spectrum of autistic disorders are exempted from wearing a mask.
Vaccination is the strongest protection
The government continues to urge unvaccinated people to get vaccinated as soon as possible, as the now-spreading delta variant is the most dangerous for unvaccinated people, and vaccination is the most effective against the virus. The more we are vaccinated, the more successfully we can defend the country against another wave of the epidemic.
To increase vaccination and protect workplaces, the government allows employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus as a condition of their work, either as a standard working condition expected of all workers or, depending on the job, as an individual working condition.
For workers who have not yet been vaccinated, the employer may set a deadline of 45 days for taking the first vaccination. Employers expecting to be vaccinated must inform the employee electronically (by e-mail) or on paper about the measure, the deadline and the possible legal consequences of not taking the vaccine. Vaccination cannot be expected from a worker for whom the vaccination is contraindicated with a medical certificate. If the worker does not take the vaccine within the time limit set by the employer, the employer may order unpaid leave and, if he still does not take the vaccine within one year, he may terminate his employment with immediate effect by dismissal or termination.
Employees in the public sector
In order to ensure the smooth operation of the Hungarian state, public administration, national defense, law enforcement, social care, public education, vocational training, higher education and cultural institutions, employees in the public sector are expected to be vaccinated.
Thus, after health care workers, government officials, employees of defense, law enforcement, state-run social and child protection institutions, employees of state-run cultural and higher education institutions, tax office employees, and employees of state-maintained primary and secondary schools are also expected to receive vaccinations.
Thanks to the vaccination program, vaccination in these spheres are already high, as targeted vaccination campaigns have taken place in recent months.
Workers in the public sector who are contraindicated with a medical certificate are also exempt from taking the vaccination. If a public employee meets with clients on a regular basis, he or she should, as a general rule, be vaccinated by December 15, 2021, otherwise by January 31, 2022, at the latest. A public sector worker who does not vaccinate himself by the deadline must be sent on unpaid leave and may be terminated after one year. For those employed by a partly or wholly state-owned company, the employer decides whether or not to expect to be vaccinated.
Employees of local governments
On the level of local governments, in the case of city halls and municipally operated public education, social, cultural and other institutions, the mayor may decide to whom to prescribe the vaccination. A time limit of at least 45 days can be set for the first vaccination.
It is universally valid in both the public and private sectors that it is not allowed to require the vaccination of employees who are on maternity leave or a long-term absence for any other justifiable reasons.
The registration and appointment website are constantly open
We would like to draw the attention of those who have not yet been vaccinated that they do not have to wait for their employer to ask them to take the vaccine. The registration website www.vakcinainfo.gov.hu is constantly open, those with a valid registration can apply for the vaccination at their GP or even book an appointment for a hospital vaccination online. Website: www.eeszt.gov.hu
The published government decrees can be read in the 197th issue/2021 of the Hungarian Gazette.