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Eurydice

EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Conditions of service for academic staff working in higher education

Hungary

9.Teachers and education staff

9.5Conditions of service for academic staff working in higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Planning policy

Hungarian tertiary education also made a commitment in the joint development of the European Higher Education Area. The objectives set out in the 1999 Bologna Declaration and confirmed in the ministerial meetings include the promotion of university teachers’ and researchers’ extensive mobility, the development of clear and comparable training systems, the attainment of European adaptability, the development of cooperation in European quality assurance, the support of the European dimensions of tertiary education and the development of European level educational models and curricula. Mobility, new content and quality determine the development projects in higher education and their application among teachers.

One of the conditions for the establishment and institutional accreditation of a university or college is the availability of a teaching staff consisting of qualified teachers (i.e. with a scientific degree) potentially holding a leading teacher’s status (i.e. a teacher or, in a university, an associate professor qualification), which is inevitable for the high quality fulfilment of training tasks in the specific field and discipline of science. In higher education, legal regulations determine the conditions of employment, nomination and reaching job positions to ensure legal certainty for employees and employers. (7.) The higher education institution plans the human resources of the education itself to start the training program.

Regardless of the number of tertiary educational institutions where the teacher performs teaching tasks, the teacher may be taken into account in only one higher educational institution upon assessing if the operating conditions of the institution – thus accreditation of the training program -  are fulfilled. The teacher’s declaration identifies the specific tertiary educational institution where he/she may be taken into account according to the above.

State-funded higher education institutions have to provide personal allowances of the support from the central budget for their core activities (training and research). Non state-funded, church-funded or private institutions can get budgetary resources for personal allowances based on a grant agreement. (7., 9.4.)

Entry to the profession

In higher education institutions, education-related tasks are provided by teachers (assistant lecturer, assistant professor, college and university associate professor, college and university professor, master professor) and teachers. (7.1)

The more than one-year-long positions for university and college associate professors and university and college professors must be filled during a public application process, whereas a public application may be invited for the positions of the assistant lecturer and the assistant professor. The public calls for applications for teachers’ positions must be published in the official journal of the Ministry, the website of “Közszolgállás” (Civil service job portal) the website of the higher educational institution and in any other forms customary in the tertiary educational institution.

The employment-related requirements of the higher educational institution define the documents and the proceedings the senate verify the fulfilment of the conditions for employment in a teacher’s position. They also define the requirements for filling teaching positions, the procedure for evaluating public applications, the conditions of institutional teaching and research grants and other allowances, also the order of related applications, the requirements and order of the habilitation process, which is defined as the condition of the university professor employment (as defined in the Government Decree), as well as the requirements of performance and their evaluation.  Applicants employed by the higher educational institution and those not in employment relation or a public servant’s legal relation with the tertiary educational institution may participate in the public application. The submitted applications are assessed by the senate. There is a professional opinion-forming body involved in the preparation of the senate’s decision concerning the fulfilment of a university professor’s position. As regards any and every teacher’s position, the rector may establish employment relation or public servant’s legal relation by choosing from among the ranked applications.

In the case of a college or university professor’s position, if the applicant does not yet have the proper professional title, the rector may, as a form of granting a position-related title, initiate the candidate’s nomination as a college professor or university professor before the establishment of the employment relation. The rector sends his recommendation (prepared in order to grant a title) for nomination as a university professor or college professor to the maintainer of the higher educational institution to be forwarded to the person authorized to effect such a nomination (grant such a title), who may be the Prime Minister (for the nomination of a college professor) or the President of the Republic (for the nomination of a university professor). The rector of the higher educational institution must get the expert opinion of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee before preparing his recommendation for the nomination of a university professor. The rector of the higher educational institution makes his recommendation for the nomination of a university professor based on the expert opinion, and he sends to the maintainer of the higher educational institution with the attachment of the expert opinion. The maintainer of a non-state-owned higher educational institution sends the rector’s recommendation, attaching the expert opinion of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee and its own opinion, to the minister. The minister collects another expert opinion of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee if the recommendation of the rector of the higher educational institution does not accord with the expert opinion of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee. If the rector’s recommendation and the expert opinion of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee accord, the minister initiates nomination as a university professor with the President of the Republic. If the rector’s recommendation and the expert opinion of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee do not accord, the minister may consider whether he intends to initiate nomination as a university professor.

In making an expert opinion, the Hungarian Accreditation Committee evaluates, in addition to the requirements of the legal regulations, the applicant’s educational, scientific or artistic results.

In making a decision, the minister may as well collect, apart from the expert opinion of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee, an independent international expert opinion or may order the preparation of international comparative studies.

Professional status

In the public sector (state- or municipality-owned institutions) teachers are employed as public servants and their employment is governed by the Act on Public Servants. In the private sector the employment of teachers is governed by the Labour code. In higher education institutions, the rector has the employer’s right, regarding education and scientific research. (7.1.)

In higher education institutions the employment is for an unspecified period. The law specifies positions for which academic achievement, the academic degree are prerequisites of advancement. For teachers it is a prerequisite to obtain master degree and professional qualification; assistant lecturers should have their doctoral studies in progress; for assistant professors, college and university associate professors, college and university professors a doctoral degree is a must.

In the promotion system of teachers the institution can establish posts for assistant lecturers, assistant professors, college and university associate professors, college and university professors. Employment in given positions also means gaining a job title based on performance. Requirements of the job title are laid down partly by the act on higher education (Act CCIV of 2011 on National Higher Education), and partly by the higher education institution’s requirements of employment.

In certain cases, it is possible to undertake teaching tasks under a service contract for one time or regular teaching tasks, e.g. if the nature of activity undertaken by the teacher permits or if the time spent carrying out the task does not exceed 60% of the complete working time. The terms of employment are that the employee cannot have any criminal record, cannot be prohibited from any profession or activity, and they must have acquired the required professional qualifications.

With regard to institutional autonomy, (apart from the legal regulations) the internal requirements of the institution imply the specific requirements of employment and advancement. The higher educational institution may, in addition to the legal requirements, set any other professional conditions, prescribe the completion of some practical time and set rules regarding conflict of interest.

The Act on Higher Education also stipulates the obligations of the persons who perform education-related tasks. These obligations include the objective, multilateral transfer of knowledge and respect for student’s human rights and dignity.

As regards the establishment of employment-based legal relation in ecclesiastic tertiary educational institutions, the requirements of employment in the institution may be defined with the consideration of the Act on Equal Treatment. In accordance with the Act on Higher Education the ecclesiastic tertiary educational institution has the right to define the content of religious training and the requirements concerning the teachers involved in religious training.

Salaries

From 2002, the Public Servants Act (no. 1992/XXXIII.) contains a salary matrix for guaranteed allowances of teachers and scientific researcher public servants in higher education institutions.

The remuneration system applicable to those occupying a teacher’s or researcher’s position as the Act on Public Servants sets 2 or 3 salary grades for certain positions. The starting point is salary grade 1 in the university professor’s position: a guaranteed amount is defined for this grade in the Finance Act. The remuneration payable in the other positions is calculated in the function of the ratio related to the salary grade and the university professor’s guaranteed remuneration. From 2017, the salaries of teachers and master professors are also based on this calculation. A public servant holding teacher’s position may advance to a higher salary grade after having spent five years (university professor, college professor) or ten years (university associate professor, college associate professor, as well as assistant professor appointed for an indefinite term, and teacher) in the preceding salary grade in that specific position.

The supplement system of educators relates to the managerial appointment. The earnings paid with the Professor Emeritus title is a special allowance disbursed according to the regulations of the higher education institution.

In 2020, the salary of teachers working in the universities range from approximately HUF 222,000 to HUF 588,000 per month (EUR 568-1504; EUR/HUF 391, 2022), depending on the teaching position.

Working time and holidays

The working time of teachers in tertiary education is 40 hours per week. The working time consist of compulsory lesson time, and unscheduled duties to look after during working time. University or college professors out of their full weekly working time -in an average of two semesters- are obliged to spend at least 8, associate professors at least 10, assistant professors, assistant lecturers and master professors 12 hours respectively with helping students’ preparation, giving lectures, seminars, workshops and consultations. The educator spends at least twenty per cent of his working time with scientific research work (artistic or sports-related activity, in the training fields related to arts, art mediation and sports science), and in the working time not devoted to sessions with students or scientific research, he is obliged (as a kind of job-related duty) to fulfil all the tasks (according to the employer’s instructions) related to the operation of the tertiary educational institution and requiring the lecturer’s expertise. The data concerning the result of any scientific research activity must be published in the national scientific bibliography database. The minimal time spent with teaching and defined in teachers’ occupational requirements may be increased by maximum forty per cent and decreased by maximum twenty five per cent.

In certain cases, it is possible to undertake teaching tasks under a service contract, e.g. if the nature of activity undertaken by the teacher permits or if the time spent carrying out the task does not exceed 60% of the complete working time.

As a specific rule, teaching and scientific research may be undertaken in the same position. The proportion of the different tasks is described in the employment contract or appointment.

Based on the Act on Higher Education, the tertiary educational institution may set rules regarding conflict of interest or may limit the employee’s option to fill in a position similar to the job with the employer but in another tertiary educational institution.

The employee is entitled to have an ordinary holiday, consisting of basic and supplementary holiday, in each calendar year when he was in employment relation. The length of the basic holiday and the supplementary holiday is defined in the Labour Code, in the base case. The basic holiday varies depending on the employee’s age, ranging between minimum 20 days and maximum 30 working days. With regard to public servants, the Act on the Legal Status of Public Servants defines the length of the basic holiday, the length of supplementary holiday (which is conditional on the salary grade) and the supplementary holiday due to employees in high and senior positions.

The full annual basic holiday for teachers employed as public servants equals 21 working days, and increases with age. Public servants are entitled to supplementary holiday, covering a number of working days equal their salary grade. The teacher is entitled in both cases to supplementary holiday of 25 working days. The employer may reserve 15 working days out of the 25 for working purposes, but only in the following cases: the university may employ them for teaching and educational work and work related to education and teaching. Research fellows and public servants working in research but at a higher position are entitled to a supplementary holiday of five working days a year. Public servants holding a top senior position or a senior position are entitled to have a basic holiday of 35 working days and thirty working days, respectively, each calendar year.

Promotion, advancement

Special rules apply to the promotion arrangements of teachers in tertiary education. Educator positions include assistant lecturer, assistant professor, university or college associate professor, university or college professor. All these positions are superordinated.

In purview of the Act on Higher Education, the precondition of indefinite-term employment in an assistant lecturer’s position is the commencement of doctorate trainings or the obtainment of the doctorate title (for the assistant professor’s position). The preconditions of reaching an associate professor’s position and title in an application procedure and for an indefinite term are the management of the students’ and subordinate teachers’ educational and scientific work, the skills to hold lectures in a foreign language and the possession of a scientific degree. Moreover, the teacher who failed to get a scientific degree until the end of the tenth year from the date of his employment shall not be employed.

Persons who have a scientific degree and whose scientific work is recognized in the national and international teams of his specific scientific or artistic field can reach a university or college professor’s position and title in an application procedure and for an indefinite term. Nomination as a university professor is subject to the existence of habilitation.

In the professional rank scale in higher education both the university and the college professor is a special status, indicated by the fact that they are appointed by the state as a sign of recognition. Habilitation is the recognition of someone’s teaching and lecturing skills as well as scientific performance. Presentation skills must be proved in a freely delivered public lecture also in a foreign language. University professors may use that title until the end of their lives even if their mandate has come to an end. University professors are entitled to use the title as long as dismissed by the Prime Minister or the President of the Republic, when the right to use the professor’s title is also withdrawn. Lecturers and researchers may be employed until they have reached the age of 70. For college and university professors the rector is entitled to terminate the employment-related legal relation. University and college professors must be relieved of employment upon reaching the age of 70, and the title of Professor Emerita/Emeritus may be granted and used after retirement.

Additionally, special conditions apply to public servants employed in a researcher’s position in a tertiary educational institution (Government decree 395/2015. (XII. 12.) on the Implementation in the Higher Education of the Act XXXIII of 1992 on Public Servants and on the Employment in Higher Education). Pursuant to the Higher Education Act, permanent employment as an assistant research fellow is subject to enrolment in a doctorate course; employment as a research fellow is subject to PhD/DLA candidacy. The prerequisite to permanent employment as researcher is subject to holding a PhD/DLA degree, and this person must be competent in leading the students’, doctorate students’ and assistant lecturers’ educational, scientific or artistic work, in holding lectures in a foreign language and having satisfactory professional experience in education and research. The precondition to being employed in a scientific advisor’s or research professor’s position is that the person must have a doctoral degree and be an internationally recognized representative of his specific scientific or artistic field, doing an outstanding work in scientific research or arts. The employment-related requirements of the tertiary educational institution must identify the documents and the proceedings the senate verify the evidence of having fulfilled the conditions inevitable for being employed in a senior researcher’s, research advisor’s and research professor’s position. The basis of promotion is professional activity, compliance of criteria for a higher position (doctoral grade, habilitation, publications, foreign languages, etc.). Promotion is subject to approval by the institution.

Students also assess the quality of education (in the student union or organization). The regulation of such an assessment falls in the competence of the institution. The new regulations prompt the head of the institution to terminate those instructors’ employment who do not fulfil the employment-related requirements, do not meet the conditions that are inevitable to hold the position and are set (with an acceptable term) by the employer in the employment contract or the document of appointment, or who (based on their declaration) may not be taken into account in the basic activities of the institution when the operating conditions of the institution are being assessed.

Holding senior jobs and fulfilling senior assignments represent a special case of advancement in state-funded higher education institutions. A public call must be invited for top senior assignments.

(7.) The institution is headed by the rector who, in the case of a university, is selected by the senate from among the university professors in an application procedure; and the President of the Republic has the right to appoint or dismiss this person. A college rector can be a university professor, associate professor, college professor, research advisor, research professor or senior researcher, from among whom the senate selects the competent person in an application procedure. The college rector is appointed and dismissed by the Prime Minister. Both college and university rectors are subject to the statutory requirement of having skills and practice in management, organization and economic management. The chancellor is the head of the institution with regard to the duties defined in the Act on Higher Education and primarily assuring economic management and operation. The tertiary educational institution uses the available resources to meet the conditions whereby the economic management of the tertiary educational institution could support the fulfilment of the basic responsibilities. This means that it exercises the employer’s rights over the non-educational, non-researcher, non-teaching employees of the higher educational institution, makes arrangements for reaching the financial and professional competence stipulated in legal regulations.

The applications for other top senior assignments (dean, deputy rector, deputy dean etc.) are ranked by the senate, and the rector decides to issue a senior assignment after having deliberated the opinion of the senate. The assignment is for a definite term (5 years the most), but this period may be extended once for the first (senior) heads of the tertiary educational institutions, based on an application. The assignments are subject to serious conflict of interest rules regarding economic management and supervision. The top age limit for a senior position is 65 years of age unless the definite term expires later.

Retirement and pensions

No special legal regulations apply in Hungary to the retirement of teachers in tertiary education, so the general social insurance regulations and, for state employees, the Act on Public Servants govern this issue; still the teacher and the researcher may be employed until having reached the age of seventy. According to the general regulations, a person who has reached the age of 65 may get a full amount of old age pension. With regard to women, those who have at least forty years’ entitlement period are also entitled to get the full amount of old-age pension.

According to the regulations on social insurance-based pension benefit, the payment of the old-age pension has to be suspended (from the first day of the month following the month of establishing the legal relation to the last day of the month of terminating the legal relation) if the pensioner is in a public servant’s legal relation.

With regard to continued employment, if justified in the employer’s particularly important interest or through the basic activity of the budgetary organization, the person exercising employer’s rights may, after having asked for the opinion of the Government, decide on employing the public servant who has reached the relevant old-age pension age limit and the service period entitling him to the full amount of old-age pension, noting that the opinion of the Government will be governing for the person exercising employer’s rights in passing his decision. The person intending to establish a public servant’s legal relation for his continued employment is entitled to submit the application.

Reaching the pension age limit does not automatically imply the termination of the labour relation or the public servant’s legal relation. Teachers and researchers may be employed even after having reached the pension age limit. However, teachers and researchers who have reached the age of 70 have to be dismissed on the basis of the Act on Higher Education.

In tertiary education, heads and managers are subject to an age limit: a senior assignment may be fulfilled until the age of 65 in a state-owned higher educational institution.