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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-2022-37/2920 – measures in Hungary

Energy saving in public administration buildings

Energiamegtakarítás az állami szerveknél

Country Hungary , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 09 September 2022 – 31 December 2023
Context War in Ukraine, Green Transition
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Responses to inflation
– Support for energy bills
Author Nóra Krokovay (KOPINT-Tárki) and Eurofound
Measure added 16 September 2022 (updated 22 September 2022)

Background information

Under the statutory instrument 1438/2022 of the Hungarian government on ‘Commitments for central government bodies in connection with the procurement of natural gas’ effective 9 September 2022, public buildings must reduce their gas consumption by 25% compared with what had been allocated for 2022/2023. The exceptions are health-care facilities and residential social and childcare facilities, but they, too, must keep their gas consumption allocation level with that of 2021. The aim of the measure is to reduce gas consumption and dependency on natural gas

Content of measure

The measure concerns all buildings of state-run institutions and government offices at the highest level, as well as state-owned companies, and it means that government buildings should be heated to no more than 18 degrees Celsius, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás said at a press briefing on 8 September 2022. The government does not approve of ‘home office’ (employees working remotely from home) in public administration, he added. Asked whether the reduction would apply to schools, the minister said that would have to be examined and information was forthcoming later on. A senior official added that schools may find other ways to reduce gas use, for instance by closing school swimming pools.

Use of measure

By implementing the 25% reduction of gas consumption in government institutions the country will save about 200 million cubic metres of gas, Gulyás said, adding that he expects that overall gas consumption will decrease, with industrial actors definitely cutting back on energy use, and most likely households as well.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Other groups of workers
Other businesses
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
No special funding required

Social partners

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

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

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

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A

Involvement

Trade unions almost immediately responded to the announcement of the measure by declaring that working in an 18C environment is hazardous to health.

Views and reactions

The Hungarian Trade Union Confederation (MASZSZ) said in a statement that making employees work in 18C offices breaks several laws, hvg.hu reported. Even Hungary's Fundamental Law states that workers have a right to a healthy environment, MASZSZ leader Róbert Zlati said. Citing 3/2002 ministerial decree on the minimum level of work safety rules, the leader of the Hungarian Civil Servants and Public Employees Trade Union (MKKSZ), Mrs Péter Boros told hvg.hu that for desk jobs, the minimum required temperature at 0.5 metres should be 20-22C degrees. Zlati said that the 25% gas consumption cut could have been achieved just by keeping the legal minimum temperature, voicing discontent that the government again had not consulted with social players on the measure.

Sources

  • 08 September 2022: 18C in schools would not be ideal, says doctor (hvg.hu)
  • 09 September 2022: TU MASZSZ: 18C office temperature breaks several laws (hvg.hu)
  • 09 September 2022: Statutory instrument 1438/2022 (njt.hu)

Citation

Eurofound (2022), Energy saving in public administration buildings, measure HU-2022-37/2920 (measures in Hungary), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/HU-2022-37_2920.html

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