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Minister announces rise in healthcare sector wages

The wages of about 86,000 Hungarian healthcare employees will be raised this year, National Resources Minister Miklós Réthelyi said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The pay rise will affect 16,520 GPs, 67,978 specialists and another 1,380 healthcare employees who provide support services, Réthelyi said.

The wage increases will be retroactive to January, and legislation on the new base wage scale system in the sector is expected to be prepared by the summer, state secretary for healthcare affairs Miklós Szócska said.

The pay rise will cost the 2012 central budget HUF 30.5 billion, of which the so-called chips tax will finance HUF 15 billion and the remainder will come from rechanneling of funds within the system, Szócska said.

He added that this year's rise is just the first step, and they are working on finding long-term funding for the increase. 

Szócska said the pay of doctors whose gross base salary is currently under HUF 350,000 a month would rise by HUF 65,823. This applies to about 80% of the doctors affected by the rise, he added.

They will also introduce a new wage scale system for healthcare workers which will increase the wages of about 22,000 employees by HUF 20,000 a month and will result in an increase of over HUF 15,000 in the monthly wage of an additional 32,300 professionals, he said.

The increase will affect the majority of employees in the sector, Central Statistics Office (KSH) figures published earlier on Tuesday reveal. Wages in the sector overall as well as for white-collar employees were below both the national average as well as the average for budgetary institutions, leading to increasing emigration to abroad.

KSH data show that, excluding those employed in public work schemes, 141,800 people were employed in state healthcare and social work activities in January. Little more than 108,000 of the total were white-collar employees, The overall number fell 2% and the white-collar number fell 1.9% in one year.

Health and social care employees on the whole earned on average gross HUF 161,900 a month in January, of which regular wages came to HUF 158,800. Total gross wages in the sector rose 4.9% and regular wages rose 4.5% yr/yr. Net wages still fell 1.2%, however, to HUF 105,950 a month, pushed down by this year's tax changes which reduced the net wages of those earning below gross HUF 216,800.

The gross wage of white-collar employees in the sector averaged HUF 174,400 in January, 4.2% more than a year earlier, and their regular gross wage, at HUF 170,740, rose 3.8%. They earned net HUF 114,100 a month, still 0.9% less than in January 2011, the KSH figures show.