Wages of employees in the public work programme will be raised by 3.0% in 2017, economy minister Mihaly Varga announced in a TV interview. Wages of skilled workers will be hiked by 5.0%, he added. The government froze the wages in the public work programme in 2016 but deputy PM Janos Lazar earlier promised an increase for next year without elaborating the details. The approved wage hike for the programme was much smaller than the 15% minimum wage hike as the government considered the programme as a temporary solution and wanted to stimulate people to shift to the primary labour market, Varga explained.
The public work scheme employed 203,300 people on an average monthly wage of HUF 78,979 in Jan-Sep. Employment by the programme expanded by 7.8% y/y for the period. As we reported earlier, the government estimated it will save HUF 55bn of expenses on the public work programme in 2017 due to the expected shift of workers to the primary labour market as a result of the high minimum wage hike.