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PM Orbán Announces Wage Hike for Public Workers

Péter Cseresnyés 2021.12.16.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced that the wages of public workers will be raised to HUF 100,000 (EUR 270) gross monthly. 

Prior to the Prime Minister’s announcement, signs already pointed to the government planning to increase the wages of employees working in the public works scheme (PWS) so that it would follow the increase in the minimum wage announced earlier this year. Therefore, the gross monthly salary of a public worker will be exactly 50% of the regular minimum wage as of next year.

Currently, the gross monthly wage of public workers is HUF 85,000 (EUR 230), and the gross minimum wage is HUF 167,400 (EUR 453). In other words, the salary of a public worker is 50.78% of the minimum wage.

Success or Failure? - Further Reduction in Financing for Public Works Scheme
Success or Failure? - Further Reduction in Financing for Public Works Scheme

The government will reduce its financial envelope on its Public Works Scheme. According to leftist daily Népszava, this could endanger the employment of many people for whom the program is the only job opportunity. The government, however, says the reason for the cutback is simply the fact that the number of public workers has decreased. […]Continue reading

Since 2011, the ratio between the two wage types has been steadily declining. In 2011, the public employee wage was 73.1 percent of the minimum wage, from 2017 it was less than 70 percent, and from 2018 it has been less than 60 percent.

The public employment program has been at the center of intense professional and political debate since its launch. In 2010, the Hungarian government created the Public Works Scheme (PWS) to bring long-term unemployed individuals, particularly those with little or no education or professional skills, back into the labor market.

Although public employee wages are between social welfare levels and the minimum wage, employees become eligible for social health insurance and pensions.

According to the government, the program is the best possible solution to introduce and reintegrate people into the primary labor market. Its critics, however, think the program is not efficient enough, as it also involves not only those in the most disadvantaged positions, but it absorbs funds from other, more efficient labor market tools.

 Featured photo illustration by Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI


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