Ombudsman voices concerns over job-seekers with permanently reduced working abilities

June 2, 2017

Commissioner for Fundamental Rights László Székely will turn to the ministers of Human Resources and National Economy over practices involving benefits for job-seekers with persistent health or social problems, Népszava reports.

According to a statement released by the Bureau of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, the bureau takes issue with the practice of deleting people with such afflictions from the registry of job-seekers, thereby denying them job-seekers aid, something the Commissioner calls a violation of rights for due process and social security.

The practice came to light when a complainant turned to the bureau after they were denied employment substitution aid. According to the complainant, authorities denied them aid because they had earlier been found unfit for public employment during a preliminary employment examination.

The competent authority determined that the health condition of the complainant was 57 percent, and that their employment rehabilitation was not recommended. Despite this, the complainant was registered as a job-seeker and was entitled to receive aid substituting employment. Later they were sent to an employment examination where a specialist determined that they were unemployable, and based on that testimony, the complainant was deleted from the registry of job-seekers.

According to Székely, this practice does not meet basic legal requirements. The permanently reduced working ability of the complainant was already present when they were registered as a job-seeker, thus no change occurred in the condition of the complainant that would justify the revision of their registration.

According to the Commissioner’s inquiry, among registered job-seekers some 53,000 people are considered difficult to employ due to a medical condition, and 78,000 people have social problems.

The process raises additional concerns, says Székely, since registration as a job-seeker is a prerequisite for numerous forms of aid, and deletion from the registry could lose people their rights to social services. The Commissioner underlined that the social law allows one’s deletion from the registry only if the deletion was caused by the eligible person’s “wrongful conduct.”

However, being unfit for employment due to a medical condition beyond one’s own control cannot be considered “wrongful conduct.”

The practice is most likely the result of a 2016 government resolution that aimed to remove people found unfit for employment due to a medical condition from the registry of job-seekers. According to the Commissioner, this decision alone is not unconstitutional, however the aforementioned practice does not meet the basic requirements of law and social security.

The Commissioner urged the Minister for National Economy to initiate the modification of laws so as not to exclude people with permanently reduced working ability from social care.