The number of public workers under 18 is eleven times as high as it was 2013, mno.hu reports. From this year on, teenagers can work only if they have a justifiable cause to do so.
The monthly average of underage public workers was 101 three years ago. This rose to 568 in 2014, and to 1123 in 2015, which is an elevenfold increase compared to the data of 2013. This is possible since the age of compulsory schooling has been lowered from 18 to 16, and many underprivileged families could be choosing public employment for their children instead of education, so the school dropouts can appear on the job market at 16.
According to experts, the lowered requirements for compulsory education increase the number of dropouts, since the payment accompanying public employment motivates young people to leave school and start working. However, if more and more people fail to finish their education, unemployment will inevitably rise, since the people in question will not be able to find employment without qualifications.
There have been attempts from the opposition to amend the law and prevent underage people from being publicly employed, but the government does not deem it necessary to implement restrictions. According to the law, public work does not constitute proper employment for job seekers under 25, and they can only be employed if their social and family situation, or the limited opportunities in the region, justify it.
Indeed, the employment offices seem to have begun to put the law into practice. There was a significant decrease in the number of underage public workers since the beginning of the year. In the first four months, the monthly average of young workers was 251, which is a quarter of the previous year’s data. At the same time, the Ministry of the Interior emphasized that the goal of the public employment programme was to provide job seekers of any age with work instead of benefits.
In Hungary, the situation is getting worse when it comes to school dropouts. One of the goals of the Europe 2020 EU growth strategy is to keep the rate of early school leavers under 10pc. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hungarian rate decreased from 13.9 to 10.5, but since 2011, it began to rise again. In 2015, only 11.6pc of people between 18 and 24 completed primary education. The EU average of dropouts is currently 10.9pc.
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