The purpose of the wage support scheme introduced by the government is to protect jobs, the Parliamentary and Strategic State Secretary of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology said at the Tuesday online press conference of the Operational Group responsible for the containment of the coronavirus epidemic.

Tamás Schanda highlighted that the jobs of Hungarian people must be protected, and we must create as many jobs as will be destroyed by the coronavirus.

In contrast to left-liberal governments, the present cabinet will manage this difficult situation not with benefits, but with the creation of jobs and wage support, the State Secretary confirmed, adding that in the wage support programme launched on 16 April they also took the proposals of professional organisations and chambers into consideration.

There is ongoing communication with these organisations; protecting Hungarian jobs is the common goal, Mr Schanda said.

Regarding the details of the measure, he pointed out that, as part of the programme, employers agree not to terminate their workers’ employment and to pay wages for their reduced working hours or the term of individual development. At the same time, workers agree to do their jobs and to remain at the employer’s disposal also during the term of individual development.

The State will reimburse seventy per cent of the wages falling on the lost working hours; this assistance will be available for maximum three months during employment in reduced working hours. Applications must be submitted to government offices digitally, via the ‘company gate’ portal, and there is eight days for the assessment of applications, the State Secretary said.

The wage support scheme could guarantee the preservation of as many as hundreds of thousands of jobs, meaning that it could help hundreds of thousands of families finding themselves in a difficult situation due to the epidemic and could guarantee survival for a very large number of businesses, Mr Schanda stated.

He underlined that the government had also launched a special research and development wage support scheme which could assist some 33,000 researchers and engineers. As part of the measure, employers could receive up to HUF 318,000 per worker monthly. Those businesses will be eligible for support which are active in the areas of research, development and innovation in the private sector, he said.

The State Secretary recalled that businesses also had access to job preservation loans offered at an extremely preferential interest rate for a term of two years. These are available for financing workers’ wages for nine months.

“In the past ten years, the Hungarian people have proved that they want to and are able to live off work, not benefits,” Mr Schanda stated, adding that those who lose their jobs due to the crisis caused by the epidemic will again find jobs at the end of three months, at the latest.

The government will support businesses in this regard, and if necessary, the State will offer jobs to those who want to work, the State Secretary indicated. He said these measures will contribute to the gradual restarting of the Hungarian economy during the new phase of the containment effort to start at the beginning of May.

(Ministry for Innovation and Technology / MTI)