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The politics of parental leave policiesChildren, parenting, gender and the labour market$
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Sheila Kamerman and Peter Moss

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420671

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420671.001.0001

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Hungary and Slovenia: long leave or short?

Hungary and Slovenia: long leave or short?

(p.135) Nine Hungary and Slovenia: long leave or short?
The politics of parental leave policies

Marta Korintus

Nada Stropnik

Policy Press

Communist parties ruled in Hungary and Slovenia after the Second World War. Their ideology placed women alongside men in the labour force, and mothers of young children were not exempted from either. Economic necessity and the desire for a decent standard of living also kept mothers in employment. Consequently, parental leave was regulated earlier and better than in many capitalist countries. This was also due to the shortage of childcare services, while at the same time, migration to urban areas and small apartments resulted in less care by extended families. During the socialist years, before 1989, there were high levels of employment in Hungary. However, today, female labour force participation rates are low compared with the EU average. In Slovenia, for decades, women accounted for forty-five per cent of the workforce, children below three years of age were in subsidised childcare facilities, and this rose to forty-four per cent by 2007. This chapter offers an historical overview of the development of parental leave policies in Hungary and Slovenia, both former socialist regimes but today with very different leave systems. It attempts to explain why their systems have become so different — in spite of an apparently similar approaches to women's labour market participation during the socialist years — by looking at how they have been shaped by political processes, relevant actors, and the debates that preceded the reforms. The second section of the chapter looks at Hungary while the third section focuses on Slovenia. The fourth section draws comparisons, focusing on the very different leave schemes of the two countries, which has considerable significance for women's position in the labour market and their general economic status.

Keywords:   Hungary, Slovenia, mothers, parental leave, childcare services, female labour force, leave schemes

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