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Hungarian President Signs Controversial Labor Law

A placard depicting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is pictured during a protest against the labor law in Budapest on December 16.

Hungarian President Janos Ader has signed into law controversial labor reform, despite days of protests.

Ader argued in a December 20 statement that the changes to the labor law and its provisions do not run contrary to the constitution.

The law nearly doubles how much overtime employees can work -- from 250 to 400 hours -- while payment can be delayed by three years.

Ader, an ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, said the provisions were similar to regulations governing overtime in other EU member states.

He also said that employees must give written consent and wouldn't be penalized for refusing extra hours.

The move follows days of protests against what opposition groups have called the "slave law."

Another demonstration was planned in Budapest for the evening of December 21.

Unions have threatened a general strike if Ader enforced the reform.

Orban’s right-wing government won a third consecutive term in April's national election.

He has said the new labor rules are designed to ease an acute labor shortage and to enable workers to earn more.

Based on reporting by the BBC and AFP