One in five pensioners would take a job, says GKI survey

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One-fifth of Hungarian pensioners, or about half a million people, would be willing to take a job, shows a survey carried out by the GKI economic research institute in June 2018, cited by state news agency MTI on Monday.

GKI carried out the survey to assess how recent government steps to lure pensioners onto the labor market would help alleviate labor shortages in Hungary. The institute noted that the 1,000-strong sample included 250 pensioners, too small to indicate more than the main trends.

There are about 2.5 million pensioners in Hungary, of which about 2 million draw old-age pensions, and they could theoretically provide an additional several hundred thousand workers to the labor force, GKI estimates, especially if employers were to offer flexible job conditions.

More than half of those willing to work would take a part-time job, one quarter would work flexible hours, and 10% would telework, while only 10% would take a full-time job, GKI found.  About 60% of potential employees are between 60 and 70 years old, it added.

In 2017, the activity rate in the 60-64 age category (partly over the rising pension age) was 36.8%, while the rate was only 5.9% for those aged 65-69, and 3.0% for the 70-74 age group, Central Statistical Office (KSH) figures show.

Government measures to attract pensioners to work included the introduction of so-called pensioner cooperatives in 2017. In a new step, from 2019 employing pensioners will be exempt from taxes except for the personal income tax. The existing limit that suspends pension payment if a pensioner employed in a state job earns more than 12 times the minimum wage will also be eliminated next year.

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