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-2021-1/1243 – Updated – measures in Hungary
|Country||Hungary , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Open ended, started on 01 January 2021|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Remuneration and rewards for workers in essential services
|Author||Nóra Krokovay (KOPINT-Tárki) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||05 October 2020 (updated 15 June 2022)|
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%.
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:
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.
||Does not apply to businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Direct consultation outside a formal body||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
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.
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
|Economic area||Sector (NACE level 2)|
|Q - Human Health And Social Work Activities||Q86 Human health activities|
|Occupation (ISCO level 2)|
Eurofound (2020), New public health-care service contracts with pay rise for doctors, measure HU-2021-1/1243 (measures in Hungary), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/HU-2021-1_1243.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.