Hungary - Social development

A national social insurance system was relatively well advanced before World War II for the nonagricultural population. A 1972 decree of the Council of Ministers extended this system to cover virtually the entire population, including craftsmen; by 1974, 99% of the population enjoyed the benefits of social insurance. Coverage includes relief for sickness, accidents, unemployment, and old age and incapacity, and provides maternity allowances for working women, allowances for children, and payment of funeral expenses. In 1997 new legislation established a private insurance pension system which was to cover all new employees who joined the labor force. The system is funded by contributions for employees and employers, and the government. Both men and women can collect old age pensions at the age of 62 after 20 years of employment. The social insurance system also provides for disability and survivorship benefits. Medical care is provided directly to the insured through the public health service.

Women have the same legal rights as men, including inheritance and property rights. They hold a large number of the positions in teaching, medicine, and the judiciary, but generally earn less than men. Women are underrepresented in senior positions in both the private and public sectors. Sexual harassment in the workplace is commonplace, and it is not prohibited by law. Spousal abuse is a huge problem; approximately 20% of women are victimized. Sexual abuse, rape, and domestic violence are underreported due to cultural prejudice.

Minority rights are protected by law, allowing for the creation of minority local government bodies for limited self-rule. The law also preserves ethnic language rights and encourages minorities to preserve their cultural traditions. Despite these efforts, the Roma minority, which may make up as much as 9% of the population, continues to face discrimination and prejudice. There were also reports of excessive police force in certain cases, as well as pretrial detention.

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