The government decided during the epidemic that they would give 500,000 HUF (1,450 EUR) to everybody in the healthcare sector who took part in the giant project of defending the Hungarians against the coronavirus. However, it became clear that this is a gross sum, not everybody gets it, and its disbursement will not be automatic. For example, social workers will not receive a penny even though they worked around the clock in the last few months to protect and provide professional care for those who were very vulnerable.
The outcry is significant among social care workers because they do not receive the bonus and their trade union did not even receive an answer from the government on their letter in the issue – Tibor Migács, president of the trade union, told 24.hu. Mr Migács added that his colleagues do not understand why their work is inferior compared to the healthcare workers’ even though they provided care for those who live in, for example, nursing homes, so they fought in the front line in the last few months, as well.
Because of the restrictions, many of the social workers had to move into the institutions where they work since it was forbidden to leave them for months. This resulted in a lot of overtime work and even 16-hour-long shifts. Mr Migács added that
the Prime Minister always thanks the work of the healthcare crew but he never did the same in the case of the social workers.
This and the above-mentioned government decision about the bonus created the impression among the social workers that their job is inferior.
Furthermore, they wrote letters both to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Human Capacities, but they have not received an answer yet. Mr Migács cleared that they will not protest, but many of his colleagues will leave the sector in the future or
will try to find a job abroad.
The Minister responsible for the issue announced on June 5 who would receive the bonus and the government excluded not only the social workers but also the physiotherapists and the pharmacists. A secretary of the ministry said that 84 thousand people are currently working in the social care sector, so if everybody would receive the bonus that would mean a 42 billion HUF (EUR 12.1 million) extra expenditure for the state budget. Furthermore, they told that local governments and churches maintain many of the social care institutions. However, even though the local government of Budapest and both the Roman Catholic and the Calvinist churches announced that they would like to give a modest bonus to their social workers, the state did not join their offering.
Meanwhile, deputy secretary Attila Simon told a couple of days before that even though social workers would not receive a bonus now, that does not mean that the question is not on the government’s table.
Social workers speaking to 24.hu wanted to remain anonymous because, otherwise, they fear that they would lose their job. One of them told that she helped people above 80 living alone as widows during the epidemic, which was very hard not only physically but also psychologically. She gets minimum wage even though she has been working in the sector for 17 years and
she feels that her job is inferior since nobody even thanked her for what she did in the last few months.
Another woman told that they had to work without proper protective equipment and she complained because of the lack of even a ‘thank you.’