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Unions protest employer mandate to require COVID jabs

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The Hungarian Unions Association (MASZSZ) acknowledged the importance of inoculation against the coronavirus but said a government decision allowing employers to require their employees to get COVID jabs as a condition for working is "unacceptable" in a statement issued late Thursday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

MASZSZ complained that unions were not consulted on the measure and said a "number of issues remain unclear" with its introduction.

The measure, outlined in a government decree published on Thursday, allows employers to put employees who do not comply with instructions to be inoculated on unpaid leave for a period of a year and terminated after that time if they still don't have their COVID jabs.

MASZSZ noted that, until now, only employees could ask to be put on unpaid leave, putting the matter outside of the scope of power of employers. It warned that employers could "abuse" their new power to expedite layoffs. 

The association said Hungarians' propensity to get their COVID jabs could be boosted with measures other than ones that "strengthen employers' position, while increasing workers' vulnerability".

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