Agreement on Minimum Wage Rise 'Very Close'

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A deal on next year's minimum wage increase is "very close", parties involved in the negotiations told news agency MTI after talks on Tuesday.

Zoltan Zs. Szőke, the chairman of Áfeosz-Coop, one of the country's biggest employers' associations, said the minimum wage for unskilled laborers could rise by 16% to HUF 232,000, while the minimum wage for skilled workers climbs 14% to HUF 296,400 next year. Unions association Liga and the National Federation of Workers' Councils (MOSZ) back the proposal, but it still requires the endorsement of unions association MASZSZ which argued for a 20% wage increase, he added. 

Employers initially proposed a 15% minimum wage rise, to be introduced in a single go for unskilled laborers but in two steps for skilled workers, he said.

A request has been made of the government to pledge in the minimum wage agreement that it won't raise payroll taxes in 2023, he added.

The government earlier signaled that payroll tax cuts won't be coupled with the minimum wage rise next year.

Hungary's government has paired payroll tax reductions with minimum wage increases for years. At the start of 2022, the minimum wage rose by over 19% as employers' social security contribution was cut by 2.5 percentage points and the 1.5-percentage-point vocational training contribution was scrapped.

Close to 300,000 people earn the minimum wage for unskilled laborers and the remuneration of almost 800,000 people is affected by the minimum wage for skilled workers.

Representatives of employers, unions, and the government will next meet to discuss the minimum wage rise on Thursday.

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