EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Ad hoc cooperation agreement

Phase: Management
  • Advice
  • Fostering mobility
  • Matching/Networking
  • Social Dialogue
  • Training
Utoljára módosítva: 03 August, 2021

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Ad hoc cooperation agreement


Ad hoc cooperation agreements are available to companies undergoing large-scale collective redundancy or economic difficulties with negative consequences on employment. ‘Collective redundancy’ is defined as the termination of employment for at least 10 to 30 people, depending on staff size (at least 20). These agreements exist only in companies (typically the larger ones) where social dialogue and collective bargaining is working well. 

Main characteristics

An ad hoc agreement is traditionally concluded between trade unions and the employer in case the company would have to dismiss a large number of employers either due to financial constraints or because of technological developments. While representation through a trade union is optional for an employee, electing a works council is mandatory for each organisation employing over 15 people. The labour code specifies the works council as a mandatory negotiation partner for an organisation that is considering collective redundancy, whereas the negotiation must cover – among others – some means of mitigating the consequences. The aim of these ad hoc agreements is to reduce the negative consequences of mass dismissal on the labour market. This measure can be set up by companies that wish to go beyond the statutory agreements between employees and employers. There are a number of possible tools which companies can use to help employees' transition, particularly in cases of collective redundancies. These include:

  1. Establishing an intranet that effectively works as a career portal;
  2. Facilitating employees' transition to new employment by offering other jobs within the organisation or by facilitating contact with other similar companies;
  3. Granting training/education subsidies;
  4. Subsidising retirement schemes.


  • National funds

Involved actors

National government
Public employment services
Cooperation - providing information, providing educational possibilities.
Employer or employee organisations
Cooperation and negotiation with trade unions.


The ad hoc cooperation agreements were in most cases successful in restructuring jobs and retraining of employees. In the cases examined (Hungarian Railways MÁV, Rail Cargo Hungaria Zrt (RCH)) it was seen that mass layoffs have not been the trend in the past years, companies are faced with labour shortages rather than a need to shred workers. As an alternative to layoffs, they try to retrain and restructure employment to raise standards in human resources. In light of this, the number of employees involved in programmes outlined in the ad hoc cooperation agreements is quite low (See table below for number of persons engaged in the RCH employment programme.) At RCH, the number of people enrolled in the company's employment programmes outlined in the ad hoc cooperation agreement fell to zero since 2006 because of the labour market situation.

Cargo Programmes                
Year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Total
Persons engaged 18 326 61 96 68 64 26 659



    This instrument encourages employers to try to do the utmost for employees during a period of economic difficulty with negative consequences on employment. The partners cooperate and can solve the disputes at the company level.


    Such agreements are concluded only in companies where the social dialogue and collective bargaining is working well.


    At MAV Ltd. (Hungarian Railway Company) a labour-market service exists, which is included in the company group's collective agreement (2019, section 18). The following tools are available to deal with employment difficulties: career portal for employees (intranet), offering another job within the company, employment training subsidies; early retirement schemes. The company has an agreement with the Gábor Baross Educational Centre (http://www.bgok.hu) on special training for employees and those slated for layoffs. Another example is an agreement with Rail Cargo Hungaria Zrt. (2015-2020). This contains the following elements (section a.1.): * an agreement to target a headcount of 1858 at the company for 2020 (excluding internship programme members); * If there is a deviation from the target headcount (the employer is considering redundancies), this can only be done after consultations with the trade union and without exceeding 30 layoffs in any given year; * If it is the employee who wants to leave the company, the employer takes steps to replace them from within the company first, before hiring from outside; Rail Cargo Hungaria Zrt (RCH) runs the following training and other programmes (section a2) with the aim of lowering the average age of employees: * Internship programmes * Skills training (languages, project management) * Mobility programme: if an employee agrees to move to an area which is of importance for the employer and the move exceeds 100km in distance, RCH will pay a rent allowance of HUF 50,000 (€143) per month to the employee
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