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A new statute for Hungarian teachers after months of protests

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Hungary – On July 4, the Hungarian parliament passed a law on the status of teachers  by 134 votes to 60. This new law will come into force on January 1, 2024, and will significantly increase teachers’ salaries.

After several months of protests regarding education as well as teachers’ salaries and working conditions, the new law is now likely to end the conflict.

According to Interior Minister Sándor Pintér, the primary aim of this law is to improve the professional and financial situation of teachers. The pay rise brought about by this law is indeed quite substantial, and the average salary of Hungarian teachers will now be in the region of 800,000 forints gross per month (or €2,065). Until now, the teaching profession had been relatively poorly paid in Hungary, and the government was aware of this. For example, State Secretary for Public Education Zoltán Maruzsa said on November 8, 2022:

“The government does see the need for a significant pay rise in public education.”

In addition to the increase, the number of leave days for teachers will be increased from 46 to 50 per year.

As Bence Rétvári, the Secretary of State for the Civil Service, pointed out, another new feature of this law is that the new pay scale for teachers will be based on “performance” rather than seniority:

Those who devote more time and energy to children will earn more.

It is in the interests of children and the country that teachers who work more intensively with children are also rewarded financially;

the new law pertaining to teachers’ careers does this thanks to the new performance-based pay scale.” This aspect of the new teachers’ statute is being criticized by the opposition on both the right and the left, however.

But Hungarian President Katalin Novák, who signed the law on July 6, thinks that it “ensures the continued functioning of the public education system, provides a clear framework, and creates the basis for salary increases”. She also stressed that “the most controversial points […], which many rightly opposed and that were initially put up for debate, are no longer included in the adopted legislation, or else have been considerably modified”.