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Govt aims to raise minimum wage close to HUF 100,000 by 2014, says Orbán

Hungary's government aimed from the start to raise the minimum wage close to HUF 100,000 a month over four years, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview on public radio on Friday.

When the cabinet was formed, the government set the aim of raising the minimum wage close to HUF 100,000 in four years, Orbán said. "Now, maybe we can break the HUF 90,000 barrier," he added.

The government said in September it wants to raise the basic minimum wage to HUF 92,000 and the minimum wage for qualified workers to HUF 108,000 a month. At present, the basic minimum wage is HUF 78,000 and the minimum wage for qualified workers is HUF 94,000.

Orbán said the government was close to reaching an agreement on compensation for employers burdened with higher payroll costs because of the increase. The talks are on "sharing the burdens in part, and in certain areas entirely compensated for by the government", he added.

The government said earlier that net wages of low earners who would take home less because of the elimination of tax preferences and the introduction of a flat-rate personal income tax must be topped up so nobody is worse off than before.

Orbán said the resources for the compensation would "be generated by Hungarians".