Founded in April 2010, the Hungarian Employers Forum on Equal Opportunities (Munkáltatók Esélyegyenlőségi Fóruma Egyesület, MEF) is a self-regulating professional and interest representation organization that brings together employers and promotes equal opportunities. Its goal is to raise employers’ awareness of the importance and benefits of employing people from disadvantaged groups. MEF was initiated by Salva Vita Foundation which is also a member of the
Detailed description of the practice and its goals
MEF’s goals include:
- providing professional support to companies in connection with equal opportunity policy,
- facilitating the introduction of international principles of equality in Hungary,
- bringing together companies and involving them in improving policies for equal opportunities and employment,
- facilitating the sharing of knowledge and experience among Hungarian and international initiatives,
- promoting the values of diversity and equality at the workplace.
The current membership includes a variety of companies: large Hungarian and multinational companies with several thousands of employees, as well as smaller enterprises and non-governmental organisations, including: Auchan Hungary Kft., BP BSC Kft. Budapest Bank, Budapest Esély Nonprofit Kft., E.ON Hungária Zrt., IBM Hungary Kft., Jól-Lét Foundation, Job Kft., Magyar Posta/Hungarian Post Zrt., Magyar Telekom Nyrt., Manpower Kft., MOL Nyrt., Motiváció Foundation, Provident Pénzügyi Zrt., Salva Vita Foundation, Sanofi Zrt., SPAR Hungary Kft., Szerencsejáték Zrt., and Tesco Globál Áruházak Zrt. Their collaborative efforts are designed to lead by example.
MEF’s members can be employers that agree with MEF’s goals and are committed to working towards them, and organisations that strive to put in place employment practice that fosters equal opportunities and who are committed to continuously developing and improving.
Members have the opportunity to actively and directly address, discuss and work on resolving the issues related to equal opportunities which may arise at any company, and which have the potential to significantly influence efficiency at an organisational level. Members can get access to up-to-date information related to diversity at the workplace and equality of opportunities.
MEF organizes various forums for members to formally or informally exchange experiences and best practices:
- there are one or two events per year where interactive presentations are delivered to address and elaborate upon a specific topic related to equal opportunities,
- every two months there are discussions with contact persons from companies that have numerous best practices,
- a mailing list allows members to contact each other and to exchange experiences,
- members can register at a closed platform hosted on the Salva Vita Foundation website, where they can access an expanding pool of relevant literature.
The Salva Vita Foundation also invites experts to provide expert advice in connection with the employment of people with altered working capacity.
“Not all companies can provide solutions to every disadvantaged group, but we are convinced that every employer can help at least one group.”
Common interest representation
Together with other companies, MEF members have the chance to cooperate when formulating policy statements which are forwarded to decision makers. Thus they have the chance to influence national employment policies and their implementation.
Membership also allows MEF members to:
- gain further knowledge about equal opportunities
- increase their effectiveness at handing and resolving practical problems related to the employment of people with altered working capacity,
- find and implement effective and creative solutions to the employment of any individuals who need atypical treatment in some respects,
- show that their company is committed to equal opportunities.
Background, participants and their responsibilities
MEF was founded following the Business Disability Forum by members themselves to create a forum for sharing their best practices. Members are represented by their HR employees and the Forum’s operations are coordinated by the MEF secretariat.
Difficulties, strengths, results and key success factors
The frequent communication and cooperative efforts within MEF have generated living relationships among the representatives of the member organisations, who efficiently inspire each other. One recent development is that one of the working groups has prepared proposals for amending the law on telework and submitted them to the ministry.
Assessment of the practice and its results
Every summer the coordinator conducts discussions with the members’ contact persons to evaluate the previous year and then shares the conclusions with MEF’s board. The board takes these findings as a starting point when developing MEF’s strategy for the following year.
MEF’s operation has been ongoing. Its sustainability is ensured by the yearly membership fee that members pay.