In the past nine years, the number of women in employment in Hungary has increased by three hundred thousand, and this increase is due to the fact that since 2010 significant changes have occurred in the country’s employment policy, the Minister of State for Employment Policy and Corporate Relations of the Ministry of Finance said on Monday in Kapuvár.

At a roundtable discussion entitled ‘Employment of Women in Focus’ which was organised for local employers, Sándor Bodó added that women who are on maternity leave or would be willing to work after retirement represent a further major resource.

The Minister of State described training as the best option for making progress in this field. He said in the employment of women with secondary and tertiary qualifications, Hungary is around the European Union’s average. However, the country is still behind in the case of women without qualifications. It is a further major problem in the latter group as to how employment policy could and should be combined with other areas of social services, he observed.

From among programmes designed to assist female workers, Mr Bodó specifically highlighted the flexible employment project which was concluded at the end of last year. He said this programme was geared primarily towards small and medium-sized businesses, and the goal was for SMEs to explore how they could introduce forms of flexible employment for women.

He also pointed out that they offer benefits to businesses which employ women under the age of 25 years, women over the age of 55 years and women who wish to return to employment early from maternity leave. Additionally, women with young children who go back to work in settlements where there are no creche facilities or where there are no available creche places and as a result they are compelled to enrol their children in institutions run by foundations or in private family care facilities receive a monthly benefit of a maximum amount of forty thousand forints. This programme started on 9 August, and has been very well received; more than a thousand people have registered so far, the Minister of State said.

The goal is to create more opportunities for women on the labour market, he said.

Mr Bodó recalled that the employment rate in Hungary has reached 70.2 per cent, while unemployment stands at 3.4 per cent. While in 2010, 3.6 to 3.7 million people were in employment, today more than four and a half million people have jobs.

Mayor of Kapuvár György Hámori (Fidesz-KDNP) said in the city which is fifty years old this year, the local government helps the return of women to work with the expansion of the number of available creche places. Additionally, they would like to introduce a service which provides care for a day or two for children who do not attend creche.

During the summer holidays, they provide continuous day-time care for children so that parents should not be compelled to take several weeks’ leave because they are unable to guarantee supervision for their children. At the same time, they provide free child supervision for an hour or two at the Family and Career Point.