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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Pathway to Work (2009-2011 and from 2011 up to the present)

Country of implementation
General short description of the innovation
Pathway to Work is a direct job creation through public works programmes as a temporary substitute for insufficient labour demand. For long-term unemployed (more than 100 000 affected per year) was introduced in early 2009. The aim was to identify those long-term unemployed who had the physical capability to work and make financial support for them conditional on their participation in public works organised by local authorities. The programme was terminated in early 2011. A new public employment scheme has been launched since then (managed by the Ministry of Interior since June 2011), characterised by a higher enrolment rate and a high prevalence of part-time and short-time (2-3 months) employment (220 000 people but 100 000 full-time equivalents in 2011), a fixed budget (of 0.2% of GDP in 2011, around half of the expenditure on the previous programme), and a stronger involvement of local authorities in its funding. There are plans to expand the new programme and related expenditure will be scaled up to 0.5% of GDP in 2012. The objective is to create strong financial incentives to resume work by providing a higher income than social assistance, but a lower one than the minimum wage. Between September and December 2011, unskilled workers could earn 73% of the minimum wage for full-time work and this ratio increased to 77% in 2012. / /
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
  • employment
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
Starting year: 2009 Ending year: 2011 and the new period of this programme started in 2011 and it continues even now
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: temporary
  • Budgets: budgets (Ž): in years 2009-2011 altogether 227 billion HUF = 756 million EUR (1 EUR=300 HUF) in 2012 -132,2 billion HUF = 440 million EUR (1 EUR=300 HUF) in 2013 - 179,9 billion HUF=600 million EUR (1 EUR=300 HUF)
  • Number of intended beneficiaries: in 2009 ¤ 139 871 head in 2010 ¤ 182 391 head in 2011 ¤ 287 671 head in 2012 - 258 482 head in 2013 ¤ 300 000 head (estimated)
  • Spatial coverage: national
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
The declared aim of the programme was to make and help long-term unemployed to return to the open labour market, back to work. However, according to statistics it has not reached this aim, hardly any people employed in this programme was able to get back to the open labour market (according to the Ministry of Interior it was 5.6 per cent in 2012). According to the report of the State Audit Office of Hungary (published in September 2013) the state offices and organizations involved in this project missed to establish and implement the appropriate monitoring system and evaluation, there were no indicators and adequate information gathering as a consequence of that it cannot be known whether the aim has been achieved because the available information is not reliable. The same conclusion applies to the supplementary training programmes as well. / /
Nature of the innovation-short-term perspective
A not reinforced expectation regarding the economic prosperity: people participating in the Pathway to work programme would get a job in the open labour market, and this short period of being employed in public work will help the to keep fit.
Nature of the innovation-long-term perspective
Part of the government philosophy: the establishment of the society based on workŒ.
Type of ideal-typical strategy for the innovation
  • typical strategy for the innovation (optional; according to Obinger)-encompassing security
Type of innovation
  • new form of partnership or cooperation
  • new policy, practice or measure
  • retrenchment or expansion of an existing/earlier policy
New outputs
  • benefit eligibility
Clarification of intended mechanisms, outputs and outcomes (optional)
The declared aim of the programme was to make and help long-term unemployed to return to the open labour market, back to work . / /
Intended target group
long term unemployed
Working age population
  • educational level (low/medium/high) (tipically low)
  • employment situation (please specify: e.g. typical work/atypical/unemployed) (unemployed)
  • income level (low/medium/high) (low)
  • main source of income: social protection (please specify; e.g. unemployment benefits/disability benefits/social assistance/other benefits) (social assistance)
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • making/implementation and/or evaluation-agency or national social insurance body
  • making/implementation and/or evaluation-central state
  • making/implementation and/or evaluation-municipal government
Clarification of the role of various actors
Public works programmes from 2011 have been managed by the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry for National Economy is responsible / for managing the public works appropriation of the National Employment Fund (in Hungarian: Nemzeti Foglalkoztatúsi Alap, NFA; previously / the Labour Market Fund, LMF in Hungarian: Munkaer?-piaci Alap, MpA) and undertaking financial commitments, and job centres are responsible for the contracting and payment of public works employers and employees. Funding comes from the public works appropriations of the National Employment Fund, and the appropriations of the SROP 1.1.2/1.1.4 programmes ¤ for related training programmes. The demonstration programmes that had started in 2011 continued in 2012: in the 94 small regional Start-work demonstration programmes more than 1,600 settlements and approximately 66,000 workers participated in the first eight months of the year (National Labour Office data). / There are seven different types of public works programmes that local councils can take part in: / / 1) Agricultural projects ¤ animal husbandry, crop cultivation or both (provision of machinery, seedlings, polytunnels etc. for participants), / 2) Maintenance of dirt roads used for agricultural purposes, / 3) Drainage, / 4) Clearing up illegal landfill sites, / 5) Organic and renewable energy production (for example switch over to bio boilers, the production of grass, shrub and log briquettes etc.), / 6) Maintenance of public roads, / 7) Winter and other meaningfulŒ employment (for example preservation,drying and pickling of vegetables and fruits, making pasta, maintenance of local council buildings etc.). / Agricultural programmes run throughout the year while other programmes typically last for five months. One person can participate in only one programme at a time. The deadline for local councils to set up new Start-work demonstration projects was extended until 1 July, 2014. Changes in legislation make it possible for Start-work demonstration projects (mainly agricultural projects) to become self-supporting and establish social cooperatives, and under certain conditions equipment purchased in demonstration projects can be transferred to social cooperatives. Currently the aim is to establish social cooperatives over the next two years; the elaboration of details is still underway. There are approximately 300 social cooperatives in Hungary and around 40 demonstration projects might become self-sustaining and turn into social cooperatives in the future. /
Intended output
  • benefit eligibility
  • training schemes
Intended and unintended outcomes
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
There are no reliable data about the portion of participants getting back to the open labour market, the estimated ratio is very low (under 4-5 per cent) so the programme probably does not make direct impact on resilience. The impact can be more distant, those long-term unemployed involved in the programme, later when there will be an opportunity might have more chance to get a job because they are fitter than other not working, passive unemployed persons. / /
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