Official: Government pandemic response successful in protecting wages

The Hungarian government's pandemic response measures have been successful in protecting wages, rebooting the economy and putting the country on a growth path, state secretary for employment policy Sandor Bodo said on Thursday.

The minimum wage has more than doubled since 2010, pushing other wages up as well, Bodo said.

In January-May, gross wages rose by 109 percent compared with 2010, while net earnings were up 112.5 percent, Bodo said. Including family tax cuts, wage growth was 119 percent between 2010 and 2021, he added.

Real wages have now been rising for nine consecutive years, the state secretary said, adding that their purchasing power was over 60 percent higher than 10 years ago.

Bodo said the government had also been successful in saving jobs and creating new ones after the labour market took a significant hit from the pandemic. Some 4.7 million people are currently employed in Hungary, more than at any other time since the change of regime in 1989-90, and the number of registered jobseekers has fallen below 260,000, he said.

The government will continue its policy of tax cuts, allowing employers to raise wages and giving them more room for manoeuvre, he said.

Bodo also said Hungary’s 9 percent corporate tax rate was the lowest in Europe, with the 15 percent personal income tax rate was also among the lowest on the continent.

He noted that consultations on raising the monthly minimum wage to 200,000 forints (EUR 565) are taking place with the Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

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