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Eurydice

EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Conditions of service for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Hungary

9.Teachers and education staff

9.2Conditions of service for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

The service conditions of civil servants, and within that group, the infant and small child teachers, teachers, - that is at ISCED 0 level the kindergarten teachers, at ISCED 1 level the lower primary school teachers (grades 1-4), and upper primary school (grades 5-8) teachers teaching specific subjects, and at higher ISCED levels the specialist teachers -  are defined at national, local and institutional levels. At national level the National Assembly develops the legal  framework and basic regulation for the employment of public servants in state and locally maintained public education institutions and of employees in non-state educational institutions (2.3).

The basic framework and regulation for the employment of teachers is set out by central legislative articles, decrees and acts. In state-funded institutions a public servant status is established, regulated by both the Act on Public Education – in case of the infant and small child teachers the Act on Child Protection - and the Act on Public Servants (Act CXC. of 2011 on Public Education and Act XXXIII of 1992 on the Legal Status of Public Servants). The implementation rules concerning the various levels of education are regulated partly by Acts, by Governmental Decrees, and partly by Ministerial Decrees. These legal acts regulate the rights and obligations, special remunerations, etc. of teachers working in the various types of institutions. These regulations cover both employees and public servants and their employers in public education institutions. The regulations cover employers and employees with employment relationships and public servant status in public education institutions. (2.4.) As of 1 July 2020, teachers in the initial vocational education and training were excluded from the scope of the Act on Public Education, their title has changed, they became instructors. Their legal relationship continues within the framework of employment relationship, and rules are included in the Act on Vocational Education and Training (Act LXXX of 2019).

The salary matrix of public servants is regulated at central level. The promotion system of teachers (in effect since 2013) differs from the general legislation on public servants (Government decree 326/2013 on Teacher Promotion System and on the Implementation of the Act XXXIII of 1992 on the Legal Status of Public Servants in Public Education Institutions). The task of public education is performed by the government, and within that, by the minister responsible for education, as the supervisory body as well as by the State run Central Institution Maintainer Organisation (Klebelsberg Institution Maintenance Centre). Since 1st January 2017, there is no differentiation between maintainer and operational duties, both are centrally provided. (Government decree 134/2016 on Organisations Participating as Maintainers in Public Education and on the Klebelsberg Maintenance Centre). Klebelsberg Centre became a medium supervisor above the maintenance centres of school districts. There are 60 maintance centres of school districts in Hungary.

The general rule is that the head of an educational institution is appointed by the maintainer of that institution (Act on Public Education, 83. § (2) f); 68. § (2)). However, the Minister responsible for Education has the mandate to appoint the head of institutions maintained by the maintenance centres of school districts.

Employer’s rights are exercised by the maintenance centres of school districts. In the case of institutions maintained by local governments, the appointment of the heads of the institutions and the employer’s rights belong to the competence of the municipal council. As regards to non-state maintained educational institutions, (maintained by a registered church, foundation, or enterprise) it falls into the competence of the management of the maintainer organisation.  

In non-state maintained institutions general regulations of labour law apply (Act XXII of 1992 on the Labour Code). (2.4.)

Planning policy

The human resource planning is responsibility of the maintainer through the planning of the budget. This is carried out by the Klebelsberg Centre, which means an increased level of centralised competence as well as the chance for comprehensive, complex planning.  In state maintained institutions, (such as schools, dormitories, pedagogical services) the human resource needs can be immediately analysed based on the open positions, and human resource planning activities can be easily monitored.

The planning of the human resource demand for teachers in state run schools is also a central competence, but obviously, there is also data available on the needs of local government-maintained kindergartens and non-state maintained schools from the central human resource databases.   The employment of teachers in state public education institutions is provided by the school district centres. However, there is a small number of institutions that are maintained by other state organisations, such as teacher training schools of state maintained tertiary educational institutions, or some schools that are maintained by other ministries. Examples for this latter group of schools are kindergartens run by municipalities, or the vocational training centres maintained by the minister responsible for vocational and adult training. These were established in July 2015 with the objective of providing a single organisational structure for vocational schools. VET centres are under the auspices of a different ministry, the Ministry of Culture and Innovation.

In terms of qualifications defined in the Register of Vocational Occupations which replaced the National Vocational Qualifications Register in 2020, and in the preparatory courses in Upper Secondary Vocational Schools, the maintainer may also be the minister responsible for home defence, policing, certain agricultural sectors, a public academic institution; in terms of qualifications of performing arts, of fine and applied arts and of film and theatre technology, the minister responsible for education; also private maintainers (churches, private institutions).

An important element of the policy and human resource planning is that the central office responsible for the mid-level management tasks of the educational sector (Educational Authority - 121/2013 government decree on the Educational Authority) (2.7.) The authority provides yearly reports to the minister responsible for education to provide a basis for sectoral decisions. The report is based on the Public Education Information System (called KIR), which provides data according to maintenance centres of school districts for example about institutional places or the number of students. The reports shall be published on the homepage of the ministry responsible for education.

The minister responsible for vocational and adult training is responsible for the planning the human resource capacities in the VET centres.

Entry to the profession

The general recruiting procedure for institutions is open-market recruitment. People are recruited for open positions in public education institutions and other state maintained institutions by the maintainers (maintenance centres of school districts, or the vocational training centres). Vacancies that are obligatory to advertise must be published on the website of the Government Centre for Public Administration and Human Resource Services (link) and in case of senior management positions - in the official journal of the Ministry responsible for education.

Decisions concerning positions of heads of institutions are made by the maintainer. As for institutions maintained by local governments, decision is made by the municipal council, or its general assembly. However, the head of the institution maintained by a maintenance centre of a school district is appointed by the minister responsible for education – with the request of the opinion of organizations, communities, persons and the maintainer required by the Act CXC of 2011; the heads of institutions maintained by churches or by private institutions are appointed by the maintainer with the consent of the minister. The employer's rights are exercised by the maintainer.

The head of the educational institution makes a recommendation on the person to be offered an open post, based on the submitted applications and the interviews. Then, the head of the maintenance centre of school district selects the most appropriate candidate. The employer's rights are exercised by the head of the institution.

Employment is determined by the type of institution, the core tasks and the level of education. The university level courses of general teacher training (9.1.) concluded with a degree entitling its holder to teach in lower secondary or in upper secondary education. Teachers who graduated from a college level course in the pre-Bologna system may teach in grades 5-8 of the single structure primary school (5.2., 6.2.). Teachers who graduated from a Bachelor course (9.1.) are eligible to teach in grades 1-4 of the primary school and Kindergarten teachers with BA degree (9.1.) in kindergartens (4.4.). Those with a university level teaching qualification (9.1) could teach the vocational theoretical subjects of secondary vocational schools, while teachers with a college level teaching qualification could teach only the practical subjects of vocational training but this kind of education has since been discontinued. Students graduating from vocational teacher training programmes are entitled to teach the practical subjects in secondary vocational school types. (6.2). As described in chapter 9.1, college level teacher training qualifications are counted as basic qualifications under employment.

Publication of the vacancy may be omitted under the conditions laid down by law (in case of teachers who have at least 10 months of public employment or who was granted a Klebelsberg Training Scholarship during his/her participation in higher education (Government decree 52/2013 (II/25) on Klebelsberg Training Scholarship).

Induction

In Hungary, the induction system was established with the introduction of the teachers’ career path system in September 2013.

The first step of the advancement, employment and salary system of the teachers’ career path system is the employment of university graduates in public education institutions in the framework of internship. Prior to the internship, students in teacher training courses have the chance to spend some time in teacher training schools maintained by their respective universities; this strengthens the relationship between trainee teachers, their universities and the educational institutions, and, as a result it facilitates the recruitment of teachers.

The employment of graduates is regulated in the Act CXC of 2011 on Public Education, the Act on Public Servants and the Government Decree 326/2013 . These Acts stipulate that teachers in the public sector can only be awarded an indefinite contract after working for 2 years as junior teachers in fixed-term employment. Junior teachers are supported by mentors (more experienced colleagues) selected by the school or kindergarten head. The compulsory traineeships of the last two semesters- in the undivided teacher training- are counted in the two-year traineeship period.

It is possible for the infant and small child teachers to join the teacher career model from 1 January 2016.

For students in teacher training (9.1), higher education studies and post-graduate placement defined in the grant agreement can be supported by the Klebelsberg Training Scholarship promulgated by the Minister responsible for education (Government decree 52/2013 (II/25) on Klebelsberg Training Scholarship).

A probationary period is not required for those who, within a year following the acquisition of their diploma, are employed in a public education institution where they completed their traineeship as a student of the higher education institution (9.1) or have permanent employment at the institution where they have been employed a fixed period of time (9.2).

Professional status

In public education institutions employer’s rights over teachers are exercised jointly by the head of the given institution and the head of the education district (in case of state maintained schools) (10.1.).

The National Board of Teachers is the public body of the state and local government-run public education institutions where teachers are public-sector employees. The members of the Board are teacher who have been nominated for employment as a teacher in state and municipal maintained public education institutions.

The Board carries out its tasks through its national organs, as well as its regional organs in the counties and the capital. The Board may form departments under the conditions laid down in the law and its statutes. The main task of the National Board of Teachers is to supervise the organization of the community service and to operate the related advisory and information system, to exercise its right of opinion and recommendation during the drafting and amendment of legislation concerning public education and teacher training. It draws up its Articles of Association and the Code of Ethics for Teachers, which provide the legal framework for operation. The Board may establish partnerships with other professional organizations.

Teachers may have two legal statuses: they can be employed as public servants or in the private sector. If working in a school maintained by the state or the local government, they may only be employed as public servants. If the teacher does not teach in an institution maintained by the local government or the state, (e.g. maintained by a foundation, church or privately) he/she is employed in the private sector.

The employment with an unspecified period is established based on mutual agreement of the parties (employer, employee). Such employment must be preceded by a process of public application. Fixed term employment contracts can only be concluded under special circumstances (for example, replacement for a certain period of time). The appointment letter must include the following information: position, the grade of the teacher within the teachers' career system, salary category (in the case of an appointed manager, the classification of his/her position), the remuneration as well as the place of performance. The document can also address further issues in connection with the public servant status.

By introducing the teacher’s career model, the provisions of the Act on the Legal Status of Public Servants in Public Education Institutions (Act XXXIII of 1992) on apprentices and on apprenticeship as well as on the promotion and remuneration system and rating do not apply to teachers. However, teachers, each three years, move a salary grade higher with the exception of trainee teachers. At the same time, (in addition to the system of obligatory advancement in every three years), the promotion system of teachers implemented a five-grade teachers’ career path (see details later), according to which, the advancement and remuneration of teachers are directly connected to the fulfilment of a set of uniform, public criteria. The objective is to provide a predictable career. The public servant legal status comes with a set of compulsorily granted and optional allowances (e.g. bonuses). Another favourable feature is that the teacher will have a guaranteed paid holiday, and, should the job terminate, he/she is entitled to other employment suitable for his/her qualification in case the activity of the employer for which the employee was employed has terminated or the employer had to lay off workers or do restructuring and therefore is not in the position any more to employ the public servant, or the public servant is permanently unable to undertake his tasks due to health problems.

Depending on the hours of teaching, teachers in a school maintained by the state or local government, may be employed as part-time public servants or with a part-time contract. The tasks performed by teachers employed part time are identical with their full time counterparts, the only difference being that the number of working hours are less.

Part time contract is usually concluded for a year or less, typically for unforeseen reasons when planning the human resource demand. In this case, the important difference compared to indefinite contract is that the teacher will not have a paid vacation, bonus, severance pay, etc., so as an employee, he/she is in a more vulnerable situation. However, the advantage is that this period of time is considered in the calculations of the promotion system of teachers. The external (part-time) teacher is only obliged to hold the lessons, and his duties extend no further than that (no assessment and pedagogical and additional, institution-related duties need to be performed). Further limitations include that part-time teachers can only have less than 40% of the working hours of full time teachers and that even though they may participate in the meetings of the teaching staff, they do not have the full range of voting rights.

If the teacher does not teach in a state-run institution (2.4), he/she must be employed on the basis of a working contract full-time or part-time. In such a case the working contract specifies the position, the wages, and the location of work. At the same time, the teacher is less protected than in a public servant status. First of all, a contract of indefinite duration is not compulsory, and other allowances/benefits are also more uncertain, e.g. in the event of the termination of the legal relationship, the employer does not have to offer another position. However, exactly in order to ensure protection, legislation requires that such teachers should have the same salary, working hours, resting time, promotions, and remuneration as public servants. In practice such teachers are contracted for a specific period, and they extend the contract several times. Such a practice renders teacher employees excessively exposed. Therefore, the Labour Code restricts it. It stipulates that employment contracts signed for definite periods of time may not cover a period more than five years in all. (The Labour Code lists some exceptions to that rule.) Included in that period are extended employment periods and the length of additional employment periods that are created within six months after the expiry of a previous employment of definite period.

Replacement Measures

When preparing the timetable, the head of the institution, or the person responsible to do so – must ensure that each lesson should have an adequate possibility for replacement. Replacement should preferably be professionally equivalent (i.e. the absent teacher and the replacement teacher should be qualified to teach the same subjects, and if that is not possible, non-professional replacement must be arranged for. However, as a result of the reforms, within public education institutions maintained within the same structure (either state or local council), it is now possible to allocate an appropriate replacement teacher to an institution, who normally works in a different school (Government Decree 229/2012).

Supporting Measures

The trainee period of new teachers, which is the first level of the promotion system of teachers, as well as the connected obligatory mentoring serves the purpose of supporting adequately qualified, newly recruited or fresh graduate teachers. In such programme new entrant or fresh graduate teachers in order to become prepared for duties of a teacher’s life may rely on the support and guidance of a more experienced colleague. It institutionalises the opportunity for the new teacher to turn to a supervisor or mentor with any problems for the first two years. Assistance provided to fresh graduates is remunerative, since new entrants gain more experience and learn to take professional responsibility, which has a positive effect on pupils as well. In addition, the work of the mentor also becomes more conscious and of higher quality. The mentor-entrant relationship thus not only serves the purpose of support but also improves the work of the entrant. On the whole, it helps the institution to become a learner-centred organisation, promotes the dissemination of best practices and improves the quality of education.

Mentoring helps the trainee to become integrated into the public education system and to implement the pedagogical-methodological tasks in practice. The mentor also supports the activities of the pedagogical work performed by the trainee, in the professional application of the local curriculum and pedagogical program of the institution, in the planning of lessons, in the appropriate choice of pedagogical methods and tools and in preparing for the final traineeship qualification exam.

The mentor visits the trainee's lesson at least once, maximum most four times a quarter, and afterwards they have a discussion, providing a consultation opportunity. At least every six months the mentor provides a written evaluation of the activity of the trainee and the development of his / her pedagogical competences, and before completing the traineeship, he/she prepares a summarizing evaluation of the traineeship experience and passes the assessment to the head of the institution and the trainee.

According to the promotion system of teachers introduced in 2013, the entrant teacher must work in the framework of an internship for two years, which period concludes with an internship exam. 

The exam consists of two parts: The portfolio of the experience gained during the teaching internship must be uploaded to the online IT system operated by the Educational Authority. As a next step the teacher also has to defend it in from of a presentation in front of an exam panel consisting of two external experts and the head of the education institution, where the internship was carried out. In addition to the portfolio, the teacher also has to give two demonstration classes, again observed by two external experts assigned by the Educational Authority and the head of the institution. 

The result of the end of internship exam can be either “pass” or “fail”. If the teacher passed the exam he/she will enter the Teacher I. grade of the promotion system on January 1st the following year.

Reaching Teacher I and Teacher II grades are compulsory for all teachers. A qualification committee assesses the teacher's activity during the qualification examination and the qualification procedure. The evaluation is based on the indicators related to the pedagogic competences. These competences are set in government decree 326/2013:

  • professional tasks, professional, subject- and curriculum-related knowledge,
  • planning of pedagogical processes and activities; with self-reflection related to their implementation,
  • supporting learning,
  • development of the personality of the student, proper methodological preparedness for the successful teaching and education disadvantaged children with special educational needs or with difficulties in integration, learning or behaviour; teaching children with special educational needs with other students in integrated classes
  • support and development of forming learning groups and communities, openness to different socio-cultural diversity, integration activities, classroom activities
  • continuous evaluation and analysis of pedagogical processes and the personality development of students,
  • proficiency in environmental education, the credible representation of the value system of sustainability and the way in which attitudes related to environmental awareness are transferred,
  • communication and professional collaboration, problem solving, and
  • commitment and responsibility for professional development.

The interpretation of these pedagogical competences to a certain position in pedagogical service institutions, pedagogical-professional service institutions in teacher, pedagogical expert, pedagogical lecturer positions, and in institutions under the Act on Protection of Children (Act 1997/XXXI on Protection of Children and Guardianship Administration) shall be approved by the minister responsible for education and published by the Educational Authority on its web site (Chapter 12).

The qualification process of Teacher II grade also consists of two parts. First, the two-year portfolio should be uploaded to an online IT system run by the Educational Authority and it shall be defended with a personal presentation before two external experts and the head of the institution. For the second part, two classes or sessions should also be presented to two external experts delegated by the Educational Authority and the head of the institution.

The qualification process required for the achievement of a Master Teacher grade includes the development of the preparatory plan of the Master Teacher application, the presentation of the Master Pedagogical Application.

The parts of the qualification process required for the Researcher Teacher's grade are the preparation, submission and defending of a researcher teacher's application.

A Master Teacher or a Researcher Teacher, who does not participate in the national pedagogical-professional examination, as an expert, adviser or does not perform a pedagogical-professional service assignment as a consultant, in order to keep the grade, he/she has to renew his/her application in every five years.

The qualification process may result in either “pass” or “fail”. After a successful examination, the teacher steps forward to the next stage of the teacher career pathway. In case the trainee fails the exam he/she must perform an additional 2 years of internship. If he/she repeatedly fails the exam, his/her status will be terminated. In Teacher I. the Teacher II. qualification process can be repeated once, before a maximum of 11 years of professional experience.

Teacher evaluation tools, in particular the qualification exams and rating sheets, observations, evaluation aspects, processing aids, the detailed requirements of the portfolio for the Master Teacher and the Researcher Teacher applications, are uniform and public. The Educational Authority is responsible for the preparation, and after that it is approved by the Minister responsible for education.

It is a permanent option for all teachers to take advantage of pedagogical, and other professional services, to advance on their teacher career model. These are provided on a county level (organised by the pedagogical education centres of the Educational Authority, since they are responsible for pedagogical professional service provision), and include further training, counselling, and legal advice. In the event that a teacher faces a difficult professional, personal, etc. situation, he/she may rely on informal help from colleagues, and the head of institution, or may see the school psychologist if that is available.  

 The activities of teachers are supported by experts, advisers employed by an institution providing pedagogical-professional services or by other public education institutions (10.2). The task of the consultant is to assist the work of teachers (required in a specific subject or special pedagogical field), to organize consultations, trainings and professional forums. A consultant with at least 10 years' experience shall perform his duties under central professional guidance. The Educational Authority maintains a list of consultants.

The minister responsible for education operates the national pedagogical and professional inspection system (tanfelügyelet), which is a developmental, supportive research and a repetitive evaluative audit that takes place every five years. Its purpose is to monitor and evaluate teachers' work in accordance with external, uniform criteria to improve quality. The audit covers all public education institutions regardless of the maintainer. A Master teacher who has completed the training of the Educational Authority and is listed in the National Register of Experts may take part in the audit. The national pedagogical and professional inspection is organized by the Educational Authority. It is carried out at three levels: institutional audit, audit of the head of the institution and inspection of teachers.

Salaries

Teachers’ salaries have always consisted of at least two parts: wages in accordance with the wage matrix, plus supplements paid in recognition of extra tasks or conditions at the workplace. Wages in accordance with the matrix has been a function of the teacher’s qualification, and the number of years spent in the public service. The introduction of the teachers‘ career path the number of years served became even more emphasised.

The salaries of teachers working in an institution maintained by the state are based on the wage matrix of promotion system of teachers, declared in the Act on Public Education. From 2013, the guaranteed remuneration for teachers grades, including salary ranges, as a percentage of the salary base and the allowances for workplace conditions are determined by the Public Education Act (Act 2011/CXC on Public Education, Government Decree 326/2013.). The remuneration base, which is defined in the Finance Act of the given year by the National Assembly is 120 per cent of the base salary in case of finished upper secondary level, 180 per cent in case of Bachelor degree and 200 per cent in case of master degree. (3.1) After a successful examination or qualification process, a teacher is ranked in a higher grade from the first day of the following year.

If a teacher obtains a new qualification required for his/her job in a higher educational level, he or she is entitled to a salary base corresponding to a higher level of qualification from the first day of the month following the issuing of the certificate. If the pedagogical assistant acquires teacher qualification during their legal relationship, they must be ranked as Trainee from the first day of the month following the certificate of qualification, and in this context, their salaries and wages cannot be reduced.

The head of public education institution evaluates the quality of the teacher’s work and work performance based on a  competence

- and performance-based evaluation system. The employer – the head of a public education institution maintained by a school district centre, or with the approval of the head of a member institution of a VET centre – can stipulate a teacher’s salary differently than the salary which fits the grade of the pedagogue. Taking into account the foregoing, a teacher’s allowances cannot be less than the base salary defined by the Finance Act calculated with remunerations depending on the teacher’s qualification (119.6% of the projection base specified in the Finance Act in case of secondary education, 174.5% in the case of a bachelor degree and 193.2% in the case of a master's degree). (Act CXC of 2011 on Public Education). Pedagogical assistants without specialist teacher qualification or training are entitled to 107 percent guaranteed allowance according to their rank, (as it is declared in the law of public servants) if they are entitled to the mandatory or a guaranteed minimum wage. After developing a competence- and performance-based rating system, the employer has the opportunity to divert the allowance.

The salary is based on the teacher’s 40 hours of work per week. That includes compulsory lessons, optional lessons, duties related to supervising the children and administrative tasks.

Another feature of the career system is that it is guaranteed. Teachers must be promoted to a higher payment category by law every three years. When a teacher first enters the system, the employer must categorise him/her, and indicate that category in the appointment document (contract). The basis of the categorisation is qualification, time spent in the profession and the reached level in the qualification process. If a teacher has several qualifications, only the one necessary for performing his/her work will be taken into account.

Reward and supplementary salary can be given to the head of the institution by the maintainer and to the teachers by the head of institution, and its amount is set according to the Act on Public Education. At the time of the creative leave, a teacher can get a state scholarship up to the amount of the last month’s salary before the unpaid leave, without any wage supplements.

Wage supplements

The current legal framework makes a distinction between obligatory and optional wage supplements.

The basic salary is supplemented by overtime pay, and a set of supplementary payments. Statutory supplementary payment must be given for extra work laid down in legislation, e.g. to head of the institutions, leaders, form-masters, head of teaching staff, teachers helping the work of the students self-government, or those performing more complex work, e.g. those working with children with special needs, or in national minority education, in IT, etc., as well as on a geographical basis to those who work in a community disadvantaged from an economic and infrastructure point of view, or hit by a rate of unemployment in excess of the national average. Supplements are given for teaching classes that exceed the required number of teaching hours. Incentives not related to earnings include food contribution, support to purchasing books, reduced-fare travel cards, museum cards, library cards, discounted book purchases. The employer may even support employees through a preferential loan.

There is an opportunity to channel a salary supplement for outstanding performance in public educational institutions, so extraordinary work performance is acknowledged. It is awarded for an academic year; the same person can be entitled for the supplement more times.

Working time and holidays

Teaching and working time

The weekly timetable of those in a teacher’s position consists of compulsory lesson time, and time to be spent on activities related to education. In practice, 40 hours a week is regarded as full-time employment, and in case of teachers 32 hours are fixed and have to be spent on education-related tasksApprox. 22-26 lessons are compulsory lessons to be delivered.  The teacher is obliged to devote the working time – in and between classes- to the education of children. That includes time spent supervising children in breaks. Supervision is interpreted broadly as it includes the whole period beginning with the child entering the building until legally leaving it, including the compulsory programmes, sessions in the school’s schedule. In the time that remains the teacher may prepare for the next teaching day, or do some overtime standing in for a colleague, or may hold structured optional classes if pupils so require (special student’s circle, catch-up class, etc.) or deals with administrative tasks, or attends meetings.

A teacher or a kindergarten teacher with at least 20 years of experience in their profession, who reaches a retirement age within 5 years can choose a reduced working time. Their salary and wages will be reduced by fifty per cent of the reduction in working time.

A teacher must be exempted from working at her/his workplace one day a week to provide time for their expert and counsellor duties. Therefore, his/her working schedule spent with teaching and education is reduced. This amount of working time reduction varies per position. The working time allowance is 8 hours for the teacher, who is the professional head of a foster-parenting network, of a children’s home or of a reformatory. For those, who carry out tasks of the head of teaching staff, head teachers or teachers helping the work of the students self-government, the working hours spent with education cannot be less than 75% of the lower working time limit applicable to his / her job; 9 hours per a week for head teachers, 20 hours per a week for head teachers in kindergarten.

It is also counted as expert or counsellor work of a head teacher when they are a member of a certification committee during a qualification process on behalf of the head of the institution.

Those employed part-time have similar duties, only their lesson number is for less time. The external (part-time) teacher is only obliged to hold the lessons, and his duties extend no further than that.

Holidays – definition and issuance

The full annual basic holiday for teachers employed as public servants equals 21 working days. The basic holiday in the private sector equals 20 working days. However, 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: in-service training, training to improve employability, teaching/education as part of the school’s profile, or if the teacher’s annual holiday was granted during school time. Holiday must be granted primarily in the summer holiday.

In addition to ordinary holidays, other allowances may also be granted to public servants. Those are at the employer’s discretion. For teachers (at least in Teacher II category) the head of school may agree on a maximum of one year of unpaid leave (known as ‘sabbatical leave’) every ten years. For this, the teacher must make a professional work plan, which is evaluated by an expert appointed by the Educational Authority. Those who are preparing for teacher’s professional examination can also be entitled working time allowance.

Promotion, advancement

Teachers must be promoted to a higher salary class every three years. 

The teachers’ advancement system, guarantees the career advancement of teachers. There are five grades within the system:

  1. Intern
  2. Teacher I.
  3. Teacher II.
  4. Master teacher
  5. Researcher teacher

It is mandatory for all teacher to at least reach the levels “Teacher I” and “Teacher II”.

After performing the initial two years of trainee period and successfully passing the qualification exam, teachers enter the “Teacher I” grade.

In order to advance to the grade “Teacher II”, he/she must have an additional six years of teaching experience. After six years the teacher can voluntarily apply for a qualification procedure to advance to grade “Teacher II”, but after 9 years this procedure is obligatory.

“Master teacher” grade requires 14 years of experience and an additional professional exam. A „Research Teacher” grade also requires 14 years of professional experience and a Ph.D.

The number of “Researcher Teachers” is subject to a national quota, it cannot exceed 1% of the total number of teachers.

Mobility and transfers

Transfers are possible if a teacher is employed as a public servant. An important point is that public sector employees can only be transferred within the public sector, i.e. they cannot be placed in the private sector.

Transfers are based on a tripartite agreement, i.e. the former and the future employers must reach agreement with each other, and with the public servant concerning issues related to the transfer. The Act on the legal status of public servants requires that the new position, the location of his/her work, remunerations, and the timing of the transfer of the public servant must be agreed. Obviously, other issues may likewise be regulated in the course of a transfer.

Typically, transfers take place when the future employer insists on employing a particular teacher, and turns to the employer of the teacher as a token of his confidence and recognition. By that gesture the new employer is shouldering the possible financial consequences of paying severance pay.

However, teachers may change jobs differently. The redeployment of teachers from one workplace to another is subject not to regulations of public education, but general employment legislation. It provides that a teacher may terminate his/her employment relation through mutual agreement, ordinary notice, and extraordinary notice. The teacher may take advantage of either of the first two any time, while with extraordinary notice the legislation requires that reasons should be given, and it sets a limit of one year from the action quoted as a reason. The most usual practice is terminating an employment relationship through mutual agreement.

A teacher changing workplaces takes with him/her his/her the grade within the teachers' career system, i.e. he/she cannot face a situation less favourable than prior to the move as long as the move is within the teaching profession.

In case of unsuccessful qualification exam, the trainee is required to complete an additional 2 years of professional experience, after which he or she must pass a qualifying examination again. As it is stipulated by the Government Decree 326/2013., if a Trainee or a Teacher I. fails the repeated qualification exam on their level, their public servant employment status is abolished also in the new institution by the act on Public education (9.2). If the Trainee or grade I teacher re-establishes his / her legal relationship, he / she shall take a qualifying examination or qualify again after a further two years' professional experience. If this is unsuccessful, the teacher also loses his / her legal status in the new institution.

However, if the teacher takes a position where the qualification requirements are lower, the classification of the position will be equivalently lower.

As long as he/she stays in education, but his/her position changes, i.e. he/she works on in a non-teaching job, it is no longer guaranteed that his/her salary will remain unchanged. That may mean a rise (e.g. if he/she goes to work in education administration, local government, ministry, etc.) as well as a drop (e.g. assistant supporting educational or teaching work).

Dismissal

There is legislation to specify the cases in which a teacher, working either as public servant or as an employee may have his/her employment relationship terminated. Employment is terminated immediately if the specified period of his/her employment expires, if the teacher dies, or if the institution ceases to exist without a legal successor. The employer may also terminate employment. This happens with a public servant through exemption, with immediate effect during the probation period, and through dismissal.

Exemption must be based on a specific reason (pl. professional incompetence, deficient quality of work, incompetence for medical reason, retirement, terminating legal relationship due to restructuring, etc.). There are, however, situations in which exemption is prohibited temporarily, e.g. during periods of inability to work due to disease, sick-pay for nursing a sick child, pregnancy and during work performed abroad on the basis of mutual agreement. Exemption is possible with limitations if e.g. the spouse has no earnings, or if the employee is a single parent, or her husband is a rank-and-file soldier, etc. Exemption must be justified. Notice period may be 2-8 months, depending on the time the teacher has spent in public servant legal relationship.

A rule to protect the interests of the teacher is that exemption may take place only – other than for reasons of incompetence – if the employer has no further jobs to fit the teacher’s degree and qualifications, or if the teacher fails to agree to employment in such a position. Exemption entitles the teacher to severance pay worth 1-8 months’ average salaries, depending on the period of service.

The situation with those working on the basis of a work contract is similar to the above. In such a case the head of school may dismiss the teacher through ordinary notice, extraordinary notice, and with immediate effect during probation. Notice must be justified, and may only relate to the teacher’s abilities, his/her behaviour at work, and the employer’s operation. The employee must be given a chance to defend him/herself. Here, too, legislation provides prohibitions, and limitations to notice. The notice period may last from 1 month to 1 year, depending also on the time spent in employment. In the case of notice, the teacher is entitled to severance pay, the sum of which is dependent on the length of the employment relationship.

Retirement and pensions

Teacher’s retirement is not subject to any special legislation in Hungary, i.e. general social security legislation, and public employment legislation applies, the latter only for teachers in the public sector. General regulations enable payment of the full sum of the old age pension to persons having completed their 65th year of age, and completed at least 20 years of service. That rule no longer distinguishes between women and men.

There are temporary rules, however, that still contain regulations different for the two genders.

Among women, a teacher can opt for early retirement. This requires 40 years of employment.

In addition, teachers recipient to early retirement pension, or other pension regarded identical to old age pension, or to disability, or accident related disability pension are considered retired.