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Factsheet for case HU-2021-1/1243 Updated – measures in Hungary

New public health-care service contracts with pay rise for doctors

Egészségügyi szolgálati jogviszony létrehozása - orvosi béremelés

Country Hungary , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 January 2021
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Remuneration and rewards for workers in essential services
Author Nóra Krokovay (KOPINT-Tárki) and Eurofound
Case created 05 October 2020 (updated 06 May 2021)

Background information

The bill went before parliament on 5 October based on the proposals of the Hungarian Chamber of Doctors (MOK), but with some last-minute alterations to the new pay table and to rules of the new contractual relationship with the state. It was passed unanimously on 6 October. The original proposal was for a complete review of doctors' salaries in every pay grade, which was made acute by the increase in doctors’ responsibilities due to the coronavirus. The wage increase was a long-time issue, which was now expediated by the pandemic. In last-minute changes, the government included rules that doctors employed in public sector service must obey, and also added the caveat that in special cases the employer can deviate from the pay table by up to 20%.

Content of measure

Salaries are to rise in different increments according to years of experience, but in some cases they double. The wage increase will happen in three steps: the largest increase comes in 2021, in 2022 another 28.5% was agreed, while in 2023 an 11.1% increase will happen. The doctors in public sector jobs would be offered a new contract: the public medical service contract.

This would involve the following obligations:

  • A second job may only be taken by special permission
  • No gratuity payment can be accepted (with the exception of one annual gift of a specified amount)
  • Doctors can be re-stationed for up to two years if needed

Updates

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

01 March 2021

Based on Act 100/2020 and Govt decrees 528/2020 (28 Nov 2020), 529/2020 and 530/2020 the new public health-care service contracts were concluded with 95% of the profession signing them by the deadline of 1 March 2021. The Chamber of Doctors MOK negotiated until the very last minute on such issues as on-call duty supplements, which were deemed as very low in earlier versions. The final version of the regulations lower the period that doctors and other health-care workers can be re-located to 44 working days, as it is in the Labour Code. The new laws only contain pay rises for doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals are still negotiating to receive better pay under the new contractual terms. Trade union FESZ proposed a complex pay grade change which would include wages rises for health-care professionals, about 70,000 people, too. The doctors’ chamber MOK, and doctors’ union MOSZ supports this proposal.

Use of measure

Health-care professionals had to sign the new work contracts by 28 February 2021 or their work contract was terminated. Some 95% of over 110,000 health-care professionals signed the new contract by the deadline, according to press reports. It has been reported that some doctors’ wages would actually not rise because of a new system of supplementary pay. Around 5% of health-care workers, mainly non-doctors do not agree with the new contractual terms and opt to leave public service altogether for private-sector jobs or abroad.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Particular professions
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted No involvement
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Not applicable

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

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level

Involvement

The Hungarian Chamber of Doctors (MOK), who negotiated the wage increase, is not a trade union, but a professional organisation that represents the interests of doctors. The employer side is represented by the state, in this case, the Ministry of Human Capacities (EMMI), so no involvement of employer organisations was identified. The negotiations were conducted bilaterally with the government. First press reports said the MOK proposals were accepted without changes, then the bill that was submitted to parliament contained some changes which MOK protested.

The trade Union of Hungarian Doctors MOSZ congratulated MOK for achieving the measure, then expressed its discontent that the original proposals were watered down in the bill that was passed with only 4 hours given to MOK for a response. An online survey by the Chamber Of Hungarian Health Care Professionals MESZK showed in October 2020 that some 15,000 health-care professionals were planning to leave the sector, and the majority of nurses would leave their profession, too.

Views and reactions

Although the bill creates conditions for doctor salaries to increase significantly, which is regarded as an unprecedented success, critics fear that the last-minute obligations added to the public-service contracts would be unacceptable to doctors. The MOK has requested that talks continue in the interest of amending the new law. The government said that problematic parts of the law, such as the right to continue private practice, would be settled by negotiation. Lobbying for better conditions for nurses and other health-care professionals who are not better off financially under the new contracts continues by trade union FESZ and professional organisation MESZK

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      Q - Human Health And Social Work Activities Q86 Human health activities
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Health professionals

Sources

  • 05 October 2020: Doctors' pay rise law too costly
  • 05 October 2020: Bill T/13174 on new public medical service contract
  • 06 October 2020: MOK statement on new public medical service law
  • 18 November 2020: Act 100/2020 on new public health-care professionals services
  • 28 November 2020: Govt decrees 528-530/2020 on new public health service contracts
  • 02 March 2021: Lost 5pc of health-care workers on new service contracts (A szolgálati jogviszony mérlege: az egészségügyi dolgozók 5 százalékát elvesztettük

Citation

Eurofound (2020), New public health-care service contracts with pay rise for doctors, case HU-2021-1/1243 (measures in Hungary), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

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