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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure HU-2020-12/1335 Updated – measures in Hungary

Trade unions’ joint positions on COVID-19 measures

Szakszervezeti konföderációk közös állásfoglalása a koronavírus járvány intézkedéseirő

Country Hungary , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 18 March 2020 – 13 April 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Non-binding recommendations or other texts
Category Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g., short-time work)
Author Nóra Krokovay (KOPINT-Tárki) and Eurofound
Measure added 27 October 2020 (updated 20 June 2022)

Background information

The trade union confederation Magyar Szakszervezeti Szövetség (MASZSZ) engaged in correspondence with the government to propose changes regarding the economic and labour-market measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of several proposals formulated in March and April 2020. The trade union conferedation Szakszervezetek Együttműködési Fóruma (SZEF) also made similar proposals in a public statement. First five, later all six Hungarian union confederations joined forces to sign a statement calling for government action to meet employee needs in connection with COVID-19 impacts.

Content of measure

The following steps were taken: (based on interview with MASZSZ official)

March 2020:

  • a letter to MASZSZ membership, asking them to report any legal and labour-related issues they may have in connection with COVID-19.
  • Requesting government support in connection with shipping company Waberers
  • MASZSZ proposals to the state secretary for employment regarding tackling COVID-19-related unemployment (in two parts)
  • MASZSZ proposal to relax the use of employee benefit SZÉP card to make it easier to spend during the pandemic
  • MASZSZ, SZEF, ÉSZT, Liga joint statement calling for more solidarity for workers in COVID-19

April 2020:

  • MASZSZ proposals to help employees and businesses to stay afloat
  • MASZSZ calls on the government to start dialogue with social partners on COVID-19 economic defence measures
  • MASZSZ calls on government to share with social partners genuine data on the recipients of COVID-19 support as well as on unemployment.
  • MASZSZ calls for companies receiving government support to adopt a layoff ban for the duration of the pandemic
  • Fast support to pensioners
  • MASZSZ protests the changes in working time banking rules (extending the application period to 24 months) – also supported by five confederations
  • MASZSZ calls for tax relief on support trade unions can give to their members until Dec 2020

June 2020:

  • MASZSZ proposes that any overtime work should count towards pension service time for all professions not just in health care.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

13 April 2021

Hungarian trade union confederation MASZSZ reported that Parliament’s Business Development Committee had voted against putting on its agenda a request to raise the duration of Hungary’s job-seekers’ allowance from three months to nine months, therefore terminating the measure on 13 April 2021.

Use of measure

MASZSZ said that 112,000 jobs were lost in the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 and the number of registered job-seekers rose to 290,000 by January 2021. Half of these job-seekers were not eligible for any financial support (as they did not meet the criterion of having had a job for 12 months in the previous three years), according to National Employment Services data.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Trade unions
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Informed
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Only trade unions
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


Four, and in some cases six, trade union confederations cooperated on formulating a joint statement and identifying a joint platform for recommendations. They regularly consulted with each other to reach this common ground. The proposals were only heard but were not discussed at tripartite forum in earnest, according to the largest TU confederation MASZSZ.

Views and reactions

Hungarian trade union confederation MASZSZ issued a statement in April 2021, expressing discontent that the government has refused to even discuss trade unions’ calls to raise the duration of Hungary’s job-seekers’ allowance from the current low three months to nine months. Parliament’s Business Development Committee has voted against even putting the issue on its agenda, MASZSZ said, adding that thousands of families have lost income because one or both earners lost a job during the pandemic.



Eurofound (2020), Trade unions’ joint positions on COVID-19 measures, measure HU-2020-12/1335 (measures in Hungary), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.