The size of the Hungarian public work programme was an appropriate public policy response across Europe to tackle the crisis and long-term unemployment. Hungary has used the resources available to all labour market tools only for this kind of intervention. Therefore, it is important task to analyse its effectiveness together with the short and longterm impacts. In our study, we are going to undertake a brief overview of Hungarian public work- from the economic-social regime change to the present day by focusing on how efficient the system is and how it can fulfil its purpose. In the course of the analysis we draw parallels between the available international and domestic literature and our own research results in the years 1995, 2005, 2015 and 2017. The results show that although the attempt is appropriate, it has many shortcomings that require correction.