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Maternity leave in Hungary

A lot of my friends ask me questions about the maternity leave in Hungary, so I have decided to write a few things about it. I must say that maternity leave Hungarian policy is one of my favorite things about living here. Because of it, is worthy to endure all collateral damages of the cultural shock, homesickness and so on.

Hungary birth and fertility rate are really, really, really low:

Birth rate: 9.49 births/1,000 population (2012 figures)

Fertility rate: 1.41 children born/woman (2012 figures)

Therefore for the past 20 years (if not more) governments have tried to encourage youngsters to have children giving them extra social benefits when having kids. For example, you do not pay taxes when having 4 children or more and you get extra help from the government when getting a loan for a house if you have at least two children.

Nevertheless and despite the good deals the system offers to new moms and growing families it looks like becoming a parents is not that attractive as it used to be for the old generations. The statistics tell us that population is only growing in age not in numbers, which is probably one of the biggest problems in today´s Europe reality. However the reasons why people are not having kids in Hungary or in any other European country are well known and might be the topic for another post.

Maternity leave in paper:

Women have 24 weeks (6 months) maternity leave, but are allowed to take up to three years off and receive maternity benefits. For the first six months, a woman receives 70% of her previous salary. This kind of support is called Pregnancy and Confinement Benefit (Terhességi-gyermekágyi segély – TGYÁS).

For the next eighteen months, until the child’s second birthday, a Child Care Fee (Gyermekgondozási díj  GYED) is available. The amount paid is 70% of the previous earnings of the parent taking care of the child; however it is capped, and cannot be higher than 70% of twice the minimum daily wage. So the maximum anyone can currently get is 100 thousand HUF which is around 340 EUR per month.

A benefit called Child Home Care Allowance (Gyermekgondozási segély – GYES) is available for parents or grandparents taking care of a child up to the age of three, although this is a much smaller amount. For those who were unemployed when they gave birth, only GYES is payable.

No copyright. Taken from

No copyright. Taken from

Maternity leave in my opinion:

I think is wonderful to have the chance to stay at home with your baby if you decide to do so. People around here often complain that the money is not good enough but I always try to point out that in other countries you do not even get any money or worse: you are not entitled to have a proper maternity at all. Moreover, in other countries the law do not protect your job. Here in Hungary from 2012 the labor law protects the mother-to-be-job, so when she decides to go back to work she will have her position back.

The so-called disadvantages:

  • You have to be working at least for two years in order to be able to enjoy this benefits but it is because you need to pay enough taxes and social security fees (Hungarian Government takes away the 40% of your salary each month) to support your maternity leave.
  • It is also true that being a single mother is nearly impossible if you pretend to leave on that money.
  • The lack of public Nurseries and Day Care centers makes very difficult to go back to work before the child is two years old.
  • You cannot (legally) work or have any extra income during the time you are on maternity leave.

The advantages:

  • You look after your child yourself until she or he will be ready to join Nursery or kindergarten, depends on how long you would like to be on maternity leave.
  • You can breastfeed for two years if you decide to do so without complications.
  • You can have another baby during your maternity leave and stay at home for another 2 years, but you will only receive the same amount of money you have been getting after the first baby turned 6 months old.

That´s all for today. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope to read you soon.

8 años en Budapest

Con la llegada de septiembre me doy cuenta de que ya son 8 años en Budapest. Han pasado ...

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Un abrazo desde Budapest
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Maternity leave in Hungary by madrexilio is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 Internacional
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12 Responses
  • Varya @ CWOV
    octubre 11, 2013

    This sounds a lot like Russia! Could it be the “leftovers” from the Socialist system? In our case, moms get a stipend for the 1st year and some small cash for the next 2 if they choose to stay home till the child is 3 years old. And when the family decides to have a second baby or third, they get around 10 thousand USD which is called maternity capital and can be used for purchasing property, education of children, pension fun and such but can’t be cashed out.

    • madrexilio
      octubre 11, 2013

      Wow! That sounds really good! It might be “leftovers” from the old times but I have asked elders and they told me this is a “new thing”, starting at the late 60’s.

      Thank you for sharing your experience here 🙂

  • Jonathan
    octubre 10, 2013

    It was really interesting to read about how maternity leave works in Hungary – are dads entitled to any paternity leave in Hungary?

    • madrexilio
      octubre 10, 2013

      Thank you 🙂
      Unfortunately it is not very common dads going on maternity leave. However after the first six months of the “mandatory” maternity leave the father can take over the child care and be him the one staying at home until the child is two years old.

      • Jonathan
        octubre 10, 2013

        That’s interesting and kind of similar to the UK and the situation we’re moving towards (…although a mum can only take a maximum of a year’s maternity leave and the last three months would be unpaid). In Hungary, are dads entitled to any time off immediately following the birth of their child? Here in the UK, more or less all dads are entitled to two weeks off.

        • madrexilio
          octubre 10, 2013

          It´s great to know. Thank you for sharing.
          Dads are entitled to have only 5 days off after the birth, but you can always take your holidays as well. Not really fair but at least they have some days off.

          • Jonathan
            octubre 10, 2013

            Well that’s five days more than a lot of dads get in the US, so it’s a start.

          • madrexilio
            octubre 10, 2013

            That´s right! In Latin America dads get nothing and maternity leave (for moms) is a joke… so I belive things are quite good in Europe, even if some people still complain 🙂

  • Mamá en Bulgaria
    octubre 10, 2013

    Bueno la maternidad en Hungría está más protegida que en España por lo que veo.. Está muy bien que den ayudas, España ya no da casi nada según la comunidad autónoma, y hay sólo 4 meses de baja.
    Sobre todo me ha gustado leer que la mamá puede conservar el puesto tanto tiempo aunque se quede en casa con el bebé. 🙂

    • madrexilio
      octubre 11, 2013

      Si, es muy poco tiempo, espero que esto cambie pronto.
      Lo de conservar tu puesto es muy buena cosa, sí que lo es 🙂

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