Education and work of social carers



The overall management and organising of the education of social workers in the country is the responsibility of

The Ministry of National Resources integrates the fields of (1) social, (2) labour, (3) health, (4) culture, (5) education, (6) sport, (7) civil society and churches. For this reason, the education of social workers belongs to the same central public administration body/ministry.

However, there are more background institutions belonging to the ministry and support its tasks operatively, as:

National Labour Office Vocational and Adult Education Directorate (responsible for adult education trainings in general, including those specified trainings that home carers need to attend)

National Family and Social Policy Institute (responsible for the mandatory advanced training system for the social practitioners)

The Education Departure of the Ministry (responsible for the higher education including the BA and MA trainings for social workers)

Financing of the education of social workers

  1. Higher education courses. Attending a higher education training related to social work is mostly an individual decision, with individual financial consequences. In case the individual is a practitioner already and the training is important to keep his/her workplace, the employer may contribute to the training costs to some extent. However, because of the economic circumstances, less and less employers can afford this. So, individuals need to finance it for themselves.
  2. VET/ADULT education courses. The situation of the VET/Adult education trainings a bit different since unemployed people can attend these courses with the support of the Regional Labour Offices, without paying any contribution. State funding has a crucial role, as well as the EU Structural Funds, that can flow via the Labour Offices or they are available for the different economic actors (for-profit or non-profit organisations, training organisations, social institutions etc.) through project support. In these cases, participants are not required to pay any fee what is more, in many cases they are supported with additional allowances (e.g. travel expenses in case they need to travel to the training location).
  3. Mandatory advanced courses. The third, very important educational system concerns the practitioners throughout the whole range of the social services. (This system followed the existing mandatory training models in the health care and education sector in Hungary).

The rights to acquire education of social workers in the country

Need to meet the minimum training criteria which are detailed for every social worker position/function in 1/2000. (I. 7.) SzCsM Decree on the role and operational criteria of social institutions providing personal care. The 1/2000 SzCsM Decree is the implementing regulation of the Act on social administration and social provision (1993.III). It lists each types of social services mentioned in the Social Act and regulates the criteria (training background) to each relevant position can be identified related to the service.

The organisation of the further education of social workers in the country is the responsibility of

National Family and Social Policy Institute (responsible for the mandatory advanced training system for the social practitioners). This is a background institution for the Ministry of National Resources.

For the organisation of the participation of single social practitioners, social services providers are the responsible actors (regardless to which sector – local government, NGO, church, for-profit – they belong to). Social service provider organisations need to prepare a ‘Training Plan’ for every year, in which they details how many of their social employees will take part on mandatory trainings, how they will finance it and how they will maintain substitution and other related issues. Social provider organisations must to serve data on the results in every year to the National Family and Social Policy Institute that will credit the points collected by each practitioner.

Financing of further education of social workers

Though home carers have to participate in mandatory trainings regularly as well, they usually cannot choose them for themselves and according to their own personal needs or interest. It is usually the leadership that makes a decision on trainings.

This may have two reasons. Formal social institutions operate in a strong hierarchy, both inside and outside. Inside hierarchy means that most of the decisions are made by the leaders and directors. Outside hierarchy refers to the regular reporting obligations to higher level public administration bodies and strict formal regulation in general.

However, the other reason is the strict financial limits that social institutions have to face. Though, institutions get a quota per capita from the central budget in order to train their employees, its amount has decreased seriously in the last decade. Leaders have to send their employees to obligated professional trainings for three reasons. First, these training programs can complete partially the lacking professional competences of not qualified staff members. Second, professionals can follow up with the development of their service field and usually they can take part in some supervision groups this way, too. Third, in case a professional did not collected the required amount of points through different trainings in every five years, they are not allowed to practice their profession theoretically.

Hence, on one hand, leaders have to fulfill these formal expectations for many interests. On the other hand, they have a strict budget which urges them to choose trainings with a low price. In addition, social institutions have to organize substitution while some colleagues are far because of the trainings, which is a significant question as the number of domestic nurses declined in the last decade.

Amount of students of social worker education in the country

There is no exact report about the number of social practitioners, since an exact definition for social practitioners does not exist in Hungary (for example, it is not decided whether public servants working in local and central public social administration are deemed as social practitioners).

The national census in every 10 years (2011) informs that by the estimations, there are over 80,000 social practitioners in Hungary.

In 2011, 11975 domestic nurses worked in domiciliary care services for older people. Their number is little bit less now than at the start up of the service around 1993-1995, and it was quite waving during the 1990s and after 2000. The opposite trends of the proportion of full-time professionals and nurses receiving fee refers to a strong formalization and institutionalisation process. Nowadays, nurses receiving fee have a complementary role, especially in small villages. 

Overall management and implementation of European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIPAHA) in the country is the responsibility of

Ministry of National Resources

The main resources of financing of European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing

The important sources of financing are state financing, EU funding anf family own resources. Low level of support is observed from municipalities and private charity.

The required background of the social workers in the country

Persons with elementary education only and students of social worker programs are not accepted as social workers. The persons with secondary education only and leavers of short time courses are accepted but will be paid low. Short time professional courses: only adult education courses (1,600-2,000 hours) are acceptable.

The requirements to the professions of social worker concerning the level of ICT skills

The ICT skills are not considered important except for the case of those home care services in which an alarm system has been used, when knowledge of remote health monitoring is important.

The standards of the profession of social worker (social carer) in the country

Standards are listed in the 1/2000. (I. 7.) SzCsM Decree on the role and operational criteria of social institutions providing personal care. In addition, a non-profit umbrella organisation called 3SZ (Social Professional Alliance – Szociális Szakmai Szövetség, www.3sz.hu) worked out overall professional standards (quality of work, work ethics) for social carers. Each organisation that joined the 3SZ is required to follow these professional standards.

System of carers activities in the country

In Hungary, domestic care for older people is defined by the Act on Social Administration and Social Services (1993.III. 63 §), which regulates social benefits in cash and in kind as well as basic and institutional social services. Domestic care for older people is a basic social service in Hungary that has to be available in every settlement.

In frame of domestic care, carers need to provide services that maintain independent living for older people in their own home environment.

These services are:

·    basic caring and nursing activities,

·    maintain/contribute to hygienic circumstances

·    to prevent emergency situations or fending off them

·    to map individual caring needs and their rates

·    to provide care in maximum 4 hours per day

Individual rights to carer’s VET in the country


Legal framework of carer education in the country

Law on Higher Education (2011.CCIV)

Law on Adult Education (2001.CI)

Law on Vocational Education (2011.CLXXXVII)

Opportunities for carer’s VET in the country

Higher education trainings:

Social Worker – BA training: 7 semesters (can be completed with an MA degree, 4 semesters)

Social Educator – BA training: 7 semesters

Adult education trainings:

Social assistant (since 2006): based on secondary school, 2000 hours, 2 years

Social nurse (since 2001): based on primary school, 2000 hours, 2 years

Social assistant and nurse (since 2001): no educational entrance criteria, 2000 hours, 2 years

Social assistant and manager (since 2006): based on secondary school, 2000 hours, 2 years

Social carer (since 2006)

Professional social carer (since 2006):

Social, child care and youth carer (since 2006): based on secondary school, 2000 hours, 2 years

Certification system of carers in the country

The Adult Education Accreditation Committee is responsible for the certification and control of higher and adult education trainings.

System of validation of prior experience in the country

Adult and higher education trainings need a quality assurance regulation which is prepared and had to be provided by the training/education organisation. The quality assurance handbook has to detail all the training processes and ensure a quality management. Validation of prior experience is regulated here and training organisations design these procedures (e.g. by using tests, requesting copies of diplomas etc.).

Evaluation of the situation in the labour market of carers in the country

Carers are usually underpaid (the average wage of the carers was between 300-363 EUR in 2009), with low lobby capacity on both organisational or sector level, the prestige of the profession is also low. Career or mobility possibilities are restricted.

Evaluation of the participation of the country in the European collaboration in the field of care on the old age people


General description of the professional status of the carers in the country

The number of care recipients has been slightly increasing since 2005 and more drastically after 2008. (Hungarian Central Statistical Office, 2011) Women are over-represented as domestic care receivers; their number is two and a half times more than of men, in addition, their dominance has been more spectacular since 2005. The total number of recipients almost doubled in the last fifteen years.

The proportion of care receivers has been raised within the 60+ population, too, while the number of those ones who are able to pay a cost contribution for the service has declined seriously. That refers to the deteriorating social and economic situation of older people in Hungary.

While there is a ‘catching up‘ with the number of nurses on the supply side in the last decade, the demand seems continuously increase. In 1995, 3.6 care recipients fell to one nurse on an average (with 12448 nurses in total) while it was 7.3 (with almost the same number - 11975 - of nurses) in 2011. This trend obviously puts a high pressure on the service level as well as on nurses.

Description of the place of work of the carers in the country

While a mixed welfare model has developed in service delivery, social service provision still remained state-dominated with local-self governments and their different types of local co-operations in centre. Though local governments has have the right to collaborate to perform different tasks since the transition, their co-operation to provide public services strengthened after 2004, when they got concrete incentives by the central government. The amendment of the Act on Regional Development and Spatial Planning (1996. XXI.) called local governments to establish multipurpose subregion associations to provide some basic public health, social, cultural and educational services. Public services delivered by subregion associations were supported by extra quotas from the central budget which was a persuasive incentive for single local governments to collaborate. This change benefitted not only the bigger cities and towns where central administrative bodies of subregion associations were settled, but the smaller local governments, too, which were obviously struggling with the provision of many of public services. The population – particularly of small settlements – was also advantaged, since several specific services became available for them due to this re-concentration process.


The share of local governments, as providers was 60 percentages of total number of care recipients in 2001. Churches had another 30 % and nonprofits 8 %. While nonprofits had a bigger role in social service provision during the Nineties in the name of decentralization and subsidiarity, some churches came up in the last two years due to the conservative government after 2010. Decentralization – which meant the principle of “one settlement – one local government in public administration and the responsibility of single local governments in service provision – seemed to be replaced first by a re-concentration in 2004 and then by a centralization recently. The ‘back to the state‘ principle will probably allow less space for non-governmental actors in social service delivery in the future.

Requirements to the personality of the candidates for carer (moral stability, physical condition, addiction to nicotine, etc.)

Carers need to take an inspection in every year.

Some health/emotional factors that can be excluding factors:

·    severe psychical disability

·    severe mental disability

·    someone who is declared as not able to take a job needing normal hearing,

·    someone who is declared as not able to take a job needing cooperation,

·    someone who is declared as not able to take a job having an emotional stress/strain.

Some health/emotional factors that can be restricting factors:

·    someone who is declared as not able to take a job requiring good communication skills,

·    someone who is is declared as not able to take a job requiring manual movement of objects (where fingers, hands and arms needed to be used intensively),

·    someone who is declared as not able to take a job with changing places of work and/or needing travelling.

Requirements to an immigrant as a candidate for carers job

Migrants are not significant/typical as carers in formal caring in Hungary.

Work regulations of carers in the country

·    Working hours: 8 or part time work

·    Rest period and rest breaks: N/A

·    Night working: not mandatory, based on the job contract

·    Holidays: following the Law on the legal status of public servants or the Labor Code

·    Sick leave, maternity leave: following the Law on the legal status of public servants or the Labor Code

·    Unemployment benefits: following the Labor Code

Main principles of payment system of carers

Carers working in formal public/state institutions are deemed as public servants. In this case, the wage levels and rates are established by following the official wage rates (based on the educational level and years spent in the public sector).

Cafeteria (meal-tickets, transport expenses etc.) can be also given to these carers.

Carers working for non-governmental organisations are paid by the Labor Code; salary cannot be less than the minimum salary established by the Government.

Other benefits of carers additional to the salary (telephone, covered transportation expenses, any discounts, etc.)

Carers usually use a mobile phone provided by the service provider organisation.

Covered transportation expenses or other cafeteria can be provided but it depends on the local governments as main service providers.

The motivation for job of carer

The National Employment service (ÁFSZ) established a ‘course information folder’ for home carers, which is used for the pupils finishing secondary schools and the unemployed for a career change.

The most frequent motivation is to help the (older) people and improve the quality of their life.

Average duration of work in the position of a carer?