In March, about 5,500 doctors and nurses decided not to continue working in public health and would not sign their new employment contract. They are implicated in the alleged infringement that the HCLU and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee with the Hungarian Medical Chamber are acting against. Those who do not sign a contract are only paid an severance pay of one to three months, although they could have earned up to eight months’ salary as government employees, depending on how long they worked.
“As far as we know, those who have left public health care have actually been getting less compensation than they deserve,” Marton Asboth, an attorney at HCLU, told Global Economy. He added that with the support of the Hungarian Medical Chamber, the HCLU and the Helsinki Committee had prepared a joint memorandum, so that victims could turn to the Constitutional Court (AP). As he said, the resigners have no other means of redress than a constitutional complaint. The petition prepared by the two NGOs can be filled out with the details of all concerned and sent to the Constitutional Court. Marton Asboth added that this does not mean that there is a community similar to a lawsuit legally, but the Constitutional Court will likely unite the incoming cases and judge them at the same time, as they relate to the same subject and the same legal problems. Of course, anyone can apply to the Constitutional Court by petition filed from within or from another attorney.
“Anyone who has worked in Hungarian healthcare for nearly forty years would have received an eight-month severance pay if they had not signed their contract for legal service to healthcare,” Zoltan Balogh, president of the Hungarian Chamber of Healthcare Professionals, told Global Economy. Most non-signers received only one to three months’ salary instead of four, six, or eight months’ severance pay. Until May 17, the persons concerned could apply to the Constitutional Court to claim severance pay on the basis of their civil service status, thus repealing the rules on severance pay. “According to the previous situation of a government employee, the severance payments had to be settled,” said Zoltan Balogh. According to him, a bottom-up system should have been introduced to change the termination indemnity which could have been included in the new employment relationship.
For non-signers of the new legal relationship, a one-time legislation was introduced, according to which they received lower severance pay, and most worked as professionals. Zoltan Balogh said they hope a resolution will be reached this year.
Not just signers
Received a monthly end of service gratuity