New provisions on maternity leave

The provisions of the Hungarian Labour Code on the employees’ leave entitlement will be modified as of 1 January 2020. The new provisions are aimed at extending the employees’ entitlement to take leave for the purpose of providing care for their child.

According to the current provisions of the Labour Code, mothers are entitled to 24 consecutive weeks of maternity leave. Those women are also entitled to maternity leave who adopted a child. Currently, fathers are not eligible to take this maternity leave, only the so-called paternity leave which is a 5 days of extra leave to be taken before the end of the second month after the date of birth. These provisions will be modified as of 1 January 2020, by ensuring that if the father provides care for the child under the decision of the court or the guardianship authority due to the mother’s health condition or death, the father can use the maternity leave. This means that under certain conditions, fathers will be also entitled to take the 24 weeks of leave. According to the reasoning of the modification, under certain limited circumstances fathers might be entitled to receive maternity pay; therefore, in order to ensure the coherence of the various regulations, it is necessary to modify the Labour Code to guarantee that the maternity leave is available for both parents irrespective of their gender.

Furthermore, another modification relates to the unpaid leave available for parents. According to the current provisions, employees are entitled for unpaid leave for the purpose of taking care of their child, until the child reaches the age of 3, and such leave should be allocated at the time requested by the employee. According to the new provisions, those employees will be also entitled for such unpaid leave who adopted a child, for a period of 3 years from the date of placement of the child, or for a period of 6 months when the child is over the age of 3 years.

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