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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-2020-46/1428 – measures in Hungary

Bonuses, overnight shift at Tesco

Bónuszok, éjszakai árufeltöltés a Tesco-nál

Country Hungary , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 09 November 2020 – 31 January 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Company practices
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Changes of working hours or work arrangements
Author Nóra Krokovay (KOPINT-Tárki) and Eurofound
Measure added 12 November 2020 (updated 08 June 2022)

Background information

Supermarket chain Tesco announced on 9 November 2020 that it is giving its employees a one-off bonus for their COVID-19 defense efforts, and that as a temporary measure, in the second wave of the pandemic they are introducing overnight shifts in restocking. The aim of the measure is to alleviate the impacts of COVID-19 and to reduce the risk of infections. For several years Tesco has not operated overnight shifts, so this measure is strictly for the purposes of protecting employees and customers.

Content of measure

The bonus is the equivalent of GBP 100 or about HUF 40,000 and it is a one-off payment, which is supposed to compensate also for the extra burdens related to the expected rise in end-of-year holiday (Christmas) sales. The bonuses will be added to December paychecks that are to be paid out in January 2021. Fears have been expressed by unionists that the new overnight shift may be unusual and hard for staff to get used to as there has not been such a shift for years at the company. The situation of supermarket workers during the second wave of COVID-19 will be monitored by the retail trade union.

Use of measure

Tesco employs 12,315 people in Hungary (as of 2020). It is expected that the measure will last until the end of the official 'state of danger' announced by the Hungarian government for the second time in 2020. Initially it was meant to be for 30 days (starting 10 November), but it can, and probably will be extended.

Contents

  • Basic working time
  • Bonuses

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Workers in essential services
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Company / Companies
Companies

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Informed No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

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

  • Only trade unions
  • Main level of involvement: Company level

Involvement

The retail workers’ union KDFSZ (Kereskedelmi Dolgozók Független Szakszervezete) was involved in monitoring the measure. They were informed about it, but they generally welcomed it, so there was no need for much consultation.

Views and reactions

The retail workers’ union KDFSZ (Kereskedelmi Dolgozók Független Szakszervezete) welcomed the measure, but warned that the one-off bonus may have the opposite effect: workers may prefer to go to work even when feeling sick, but hopefully people will be feeling the responsibility and become motivated to stay with the company. Overnight shifts carry premium pay which is also beneficial to the employees in these times of need. The union also highlighted the need to protect jobs in the pandemic.

The night shift measure is temporary, which could cause some tension among workers, but this is still better than the loss of income when they must go on sick leave when catching COVID-19.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      G - Wholesale And Retail Trade; Repair Of Motor Vehicles And Motorcycles G47 Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles

This case is not occupation-specific.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Bonuses, overnight shift at Tesco, measure HU-2020-46/1428 (measures in Hungary), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/HU-2020-46_1428.html

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