Since 2016



Policy area

The Special Public Works pilot programme aims at providing special workplaces for unemployed people with disabilities and those unable to find a job or a spot in the ordinary public works programme, due to social or mental reasons. Participants are employed by a local non-profit organisation, usually connected to a local municipality. Participants work part time (6 hours) and receive some financial compensation for their work. The aim of the programme is to help individuals with more complex mental and physical problems to get a place in the normal public works programme, or in the primary job market.

Policy goal

The programme aims at developing the skills of individuals with low levels of education and mild disabilities. The Special Public Works programme aims at providing special workplaces for unemployed with disabilities, and those unable to find a job or a spot in the ordinary public works programme, due to social or mental reasons (Government decree 1253/2016. VI. 6. Formulates this goal). Besides these sheltered transitional workplaces, participants also received individualised, complex help to improve their employability skills.

Part of broad policy measure of which skill mismatch is only a minor part

Special Public Works (SPW) aims at improving the skills of people with mild disabilities, who are generally thought of as unable to participate in the public works programme or in the primary labour market.

Aim of policy instrument

To provide sheltered workplaces for those who have no or very little work experience and who are generally not likely to receive a place in the normal public works programme.

Administrative level
Main responsible body

Ministry of Interior


Public Employment Services - gatekeepers, mentors to the unemployed individuals
Local Governments - implementation
Local Governments' non-profit organisations - employers


215 million HUF (€700,000) are committed altogether to this programme. The Ministry for Human Capacities and the Ministry of National Economy finance the measure.

Intended beneficiaries

Those unable to find a job or a spot in the ordinary public works programme, due to social or mental health problems. Adults with very complex problems.


Use of labour market intelligence

This initiative aims at improving the basic employability skills of the very low-skilled participants. Therefore, no specific LMSI information is used by the programme management.

Financial schemes

These public employees are employed 6 hours per day for a maximum of 5 months, earning 27.000 HUF/month (circa €85).

Frequency of updates

Based on the available information, no key content or other instrument has been changed during the course of the two pilot programmes.


A pilot programme was launched in July 2016 for a period of 5 months in 4 counties, with a participant number of 300. The programme was implemented by local governments or by their non-profit organisations. The second phase of the programme took place between April 2017 and August 2017 with 280 participants. This programme is in its initial phase. 2 pilot rounds have been conducted so far. Therefore, no crucial adjustments have been made by so far.


No barriers have been identified thus far.

Success factors

The complex nature of the services is key to helping the unemployed with such complex problems. Participants not only received employment, but also mentoring support and other individualised services.


The preliminary assessments of the programme show that 10-15% of the people involved in the programme are able to participate in regular public works programme, while the rest are likely to stay in the special public works programme and need further support in order to improve their employment potential. Roughly 10% of the participants found a job in the primary labour market. Indicators monitored are the employment outcomes of those leaving the programme, surveyed at 6 months after exit.

Slightly innovative

The programme's innovativeness lies in its element of cooperation among the different stakeholders and in the well-designed incentive system that ensures employers' buy-in into the programme.


Evidence of effectiveness

Up to October 2016, almost half of the 72 people leaving the program moved into some other public works program, and only 10 people (14%) found a job in the open labour market within 180 days. This is roughly the same outcome as the one observed in regular public works programmes. The outcomes of the instrument is somewhat below expectations (as it is not higher than the average outflow of regular public works), but it is difficult to judge, as there was no control group, and it is possible that participants had a lower probability of re-employment than the average PW participant (that is, in absence of the programme). There is no information on any targets set for this programme.

Engagement of stakeholders

Employers hiring people with disabilities are eligible for a subsidy of 100% of wages and social contributions, for a maximum of five months and working 30 hours a week. This instrument serves as an incentive for non-profit organisations to cooperate with local governments and the PES in providing workplaces for the target group.

Easily transferable

The most important precondition for implementing this initiative is to have the adequate skills to support individuals with mental or physical health problems, who are able to participate in the labour market.


News indicate that this programme has come to a halt, after an initial pilot stage.