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Hungarian wages falling behind V4 average

Average wages and the minimum wage in Hungary are lower than in any of the other countries in the Visegrád Four (V4) group (also including Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia), according to a report by news site nepszava.hu.

While average net monthly wages amount to EUR 932 in the Czech Republic, EUR 863 in Slovakia, and EUR 793 in Poland, the Hungarian average adds up to only EUR 701, according to the portal. Hungary is also in last place regarding the amount of the minimum monthly wage (EUR 305), well behind Poland (EUR 379), Slovakia (EUR 427), and the Czech Republic (EUR 432).

In the automotive industry, a key driver of the Hungarian economy, the average wage in Hungary amounts to EUR 1,118 per month, still behind all other V4 countries. The Czech Republic has the highest average in the industry, with EUR 1,398/month.

On the other hand, the average monthly wage of teachers in Hungary is EUR 709, which is better than in Poland (EUR 655).

According to the Hungarian Trade Union Confederation (MaSzSz), the example of Poland needs to be followed in order to stop the westward migration of the workforce. MaSzSz President László Kordás notes that in Poland, new legislation which exempts workers under 26 years of age from paying income tax can serve as a serious reason to stay in the country, instead of looking for jobs abroad.

Furthermore, Kordás says that the flat tax system in Hungary contributes to the current problems. He advocates a new income tax system that would set the rate at 9% for individuals taking home less than HUF 500,000-600,000 per month, while leaving in place the current 15% for those who earn higher salaries.