Ferenc Gyurcsány, leader of the opposition Democratic Coalition (DK), on Monday, outlined his party’s family policy plan aimed at encouraging Hungarian couples to have children.
The first part of DK’s proposal calls for the repeal of the labour code amendment passed last December. Gyurcsány argued that people who are forced to work ten hours a day six days a week would not be too keen to have children.
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Families with small children must be guaranteed, he said, that they will not be evicted from their homes. Further, caregiving should be officially recognised as employment and caregivers should be paid at least the minimum wage.
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Gyurcsány also called for raising family benefits by 50 percent with immediate effect and for vacant general practitioner and pediatric practices to be filled.
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Further, the wages of health-care workers should be raised by at least 50 percent, he said. The wage increases should continue over the next four years, with wages rising by at least 15 percent every year, Gyurcsány added.
The former prime minister also called for creating the conditions for schools to provide modern education and language skills. Tuition fees should either be lowered or scrapped entirely and the number of students higher education institutions can admit should be increased, he added.
He also said basic utilities should be made free for everyone up to a certain consumption level.
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Asked to comment on the government’s family policies, Gyurcsány admitted the rise in Hungary’s fertility rate, adding, at the same time, that “we are infinitely far” from a fertility rate that is high enough to preserve Hungary’s population.