The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights on the lack of technical accessibility of online cash registers, as well as on the importance of the equal access of the blind and the partially sighted

The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights thinks that the requirement that blind and partially sighted entrepreneurs and employees may only meet their obligation to issue their receipts by using online cash registers causes an impropriety related to fundamental rights, and it also breaches the international obligations set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The situation is that this equipment is not technically accessible to them at the moment. In his recommendation, Ombudsman László Székely requested that the Minister for National Economy act in this matter as soon as possible.


A partially sighted complainant who works as a masseuse reported to the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights that she had bought the cash register that is to be applied with effect from January 1, 2017 but it is not technically accessible, so she cannot use it because of her blindness, thus she cannot meet the obligations set out in the law either. The complainant requested that the Commissioner launch an inquiry in the case, as she is compelled to suspend her work activities in lack of a viable solution.


The Commissioner, who is specifically responsible for the protection of the rights of the disabled as well, has launched an inquiry in the case. In his report, László Székely concluded that in the Hungarian Labor Code and in the Disabled Persons Act, it is essentially defined as the obligation of the employers to ensure equally accessible working conditions to their employees with disabilities. However, the Ombudsman also pointed it out that tax payment as an important part of sharing burdens is a general obligation of the citizens, which is also set out in the Fundamental Law of Hungary, this is why it is critical that the device through which this obligation can be met, which in this case means cash registers, become technically accessible to blind and partially sighted employees as well.


Furthermore, the Ombudsman stressed that the fundamental principles of CRPD, especially those related to individual autonomy, the freedom to make one’s own decisions, as well as respecting the independence of the individuals, complete and efficient social inclusion, actual accessibility, are generally valid fundamental requirements, inherent in all the detailed rules, and underlying each specific requirement. The Commissioner thinks that the provisions of the CRPD suggest that the technical accessibility of cash registers would guarantee the enforcement of the right of the blind and the partially sighted to work. It is mentioned in the report that the principles of reasonable accommodation and equal access should especially be enforced and all these are inseparable from the conditions of taxation related to employment. The Commissioner also drew attention to that in lack of technical accessibility, the requirement of using online cash registers is not compatible with the requirement of equal treatment, or the provisions of CRPD.


In his report, the Ombudsman called it a progressive step that in their response, the Ministry for National Economy informed him of their preliminary intention to cooperate: in defining the requirements that guarantee the technical accessibility of online cash registers, the Ministry counts on the development proposals to be provided by the Hungarian Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted (MVGYOSZ). László Székely asked the Minister for National Economy to initiate that the decree that requires the use of online cash registers be modified, in order to ensure the chances for an equal employment for the blind and the partially sighted, by involving the affected advocacy groups and taking their proposals and the available options into account.