Staff Wanted: Pensioners Welcome, But Anyone, Really | 2/6/2019 | Staff
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BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Zsuzsanna Czeizel told herself she’d never work again after she retired in 2012. But since October, she’s held a job — scanning boxes of sweets in a large warehouse near Budapest.

The 65-year-old pensioner is one of a growing number of retirees hired by companies in eastern Europe desperate for workers. Economic growth and an exodus of millions workers to richer parts of the European Union have left gaping holes in local labor markets.

Companies - Wages - Automation - Rivals - Laszlo

Companies have hiked wages and some turned to automation or acquiring rivals. But for Laszlo Tamasi, who runs a sweets retailer on the outskirts of Budapest, robots are no use — they can’t serve walk-in customers.

So he hired Czeizel, and four other pensioners, finding them through cooperatives that help retirees get jobs.

Years - Number - Pensioners - Labor - Shortage

“In the past two years, we have employed a growing number of pensioners because of the labor shortage,” said Tamasi, whose company, SIXI 2000 Kft, had an average turnover of about 4 billion forints ($14.3 million) in recent years.

His pensioners are just five of the 75,000 that government figures show are employed in Hungary, one of the poorest members of the EU. Budapest hopes their ranks could double this year after tax cuts were offered in January to make it cheaper for companies to hire them.

Necessity - Czeizel - Computer - Boxes - Sweets

“When I retired, I promised myself never to work again, but unfortunately necessity made me do it,” Czeizel said, standing by a computer she uses to check out large boxes of sweets. “I was having financial difficulties on a daily basis.”

Official statistics showed 2.6 million Hungarians, or about a quarter of the population, received a monthly pension of 117,485 forints ($420) on average last year.

Work - Pension - Hungary - Pay - Workers

If they go back to work, they get to keep both the pension and whatever they earn. Hungary’s average take-home pay for full-time workers is...
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