a)  Hungary / b)  Constitutional Court / c) / d)  15-09-1995 / e)  56/1995 / f) / g)  Magyar Közlöny (Official Gazette), 76/1995 / h) .
Keywords of the systematic thesaurus:
General Principles - Social State.
Fundamental Rights - Economic, social and cultural rights - Right to social security.
Keywords of the alphabetical index:
Sickness, benefit / Proportionality.
As the State guarantees social security benefits under the Hungarian Constitution, when the legislature reduces the expenditures in social security, it withdraws the underlying State guarantees with regard to the related social benefits. A drastic reduction in these benefits is unconstitutional because it dismantles the sickness benefit system itself. Nonetheless, it does not reduce the payment obligations of the insured.
According to the regulations of the Economic Stabilisation Act whoever is not eligible for sick leave under the Labour Code shall be entitled to sickness benefit at the earliest following the twenty-fifth day of his/her certified disability in a calendar year. The Labour Code amended by the same Act entitles the employee to 25 working days' sick leave in each calendar year for the period of disability because of sickness, for the first five days of which the employee shall not be entitled to remuneration, while otherwise the employer must pay 75 % of the absence fee to the employee for the remaining period of the sick leave.
The Constitutional Court declared in June 1995 that the provisions providing for the immediate entry into force of the law promulgated on 15 June 1995 as from 1 July were unconstitutional. Hence the Court annulled these provisions and declared that the law amendments were not to come into force on 1 July.
The Court examined the merits of the case through a thorough analysis of statistical data, and found that the average sick payment per capita in the past years was 33 days. That meant that to put the burden on the insured and the employers for 25 days would be such a significant withdrawal of guarantees with respect to the insured that it would weaken their social security to a constitutionally unacceptable level.
Supplementary information:
The Government's austerity plan was introduced by the Economic Stabilisation Act (Act no. 48 of 1995). In June the Court examined the constitutionality of the law in five interrelated decisions (judgments no. 42-46 of 1995). On 30 September another six related decisions were published by the Court.