- The possibility for bilateral cooperation is introduced – between trade unions and employers’ organizations on the issues of:
- employment relations and relations directly related to them;
- social security relations and
- living standard.
- The application of the Labor Code (LC) is clarified – unless otherwise provided by a law or an international agreement, the LC applies to the employment relation between:
- an employer and employee with a place of work in the Republic of Bulgaria;
- a Bulgarian employer and an employee with a place of work outside the Republic of Bulgaria.
The above does not apply to employment relations with an international element, if the parties have chosen their employment relations to be governed by the law of another country.
The employee will have the right to enjoy the protection provided by the mandatory provisions of the State on which or from which territory the work is normally performed, when these norms are more favorable for the employee.
- The Minister of Labour and Social Policy may extend the application of the collective employment agreement signed at industry or branch level (or of some provisions) in all enterprises of the branch or branch:
- at the joint request of the parties to the agreement and
- after written consent from all employees’ and employers’ organizations recognized as representative at national level.
The extension of the collective employment agreement signed at industry or branch level (or of some provisions)
- has effect on the employees working in enterprises in the relevant industry or branch;
- is carried out by an order of the Minister of Labor and Social Policy, which is published in the State Gazette, and the text of the agreement (or of some provisions) is published on the website of the Executive Agency “General Labour Inspectorate” within 3 days of the publication of the Minister’s order.
The following entries are provided:
- of the collective employment agreement – in the register of the labour inspectorate in the region where the employer’s seat is;
- of the collective employment agreements signed within industries and branches – with the Executive Agency “General Labour Inspectorate”.
Employees join to a collective employment agreement signed between a trade union organization in which they are not members and their employer:
- with a written application of the employees to the employer or to the management of the trade union organization;
- under terms and conditions (including payment of a money accession fee) determined between the parties to the agreement – the terms and conditions shall not contradict the law or evade it or breach the good faith.
- An amendment is introduced in the cases of working through an enterprise which provides for temporary work – the sent employee may be posted for execution of his employment duties outside the working place under the permanent employment by the enterprise which provides for temporary work:
- at a request of the beneficiary-enterprise sent to the enterprise which provides for temporary work 5 working days prior to the posting of the employee;
- upon observation of the terms and conditions for posting/sending of employees in the framework of the provision of services.
- An amendment is made regarding the posting and sending of employees in framework of the provision of services – the obligation of the employer or the enterprise which provides for temporary work to pay labour remuneration in compliance with the Bulgarian legislation is more precisely determined.
- Amendments are made regarding the following employment agreements:
6.1 For working on certain days of the month – the employee may enter into such an employment agreement with the employer with whom he works to perform work that is not within the scope of his work duties, outside the working hours established for him;
6.2 For short-term seasonal agricultural work – already registered tobacco producer may enter into such an employment agreement. Tobacco can be harvested without the requirement for a profession with special qualification in the main economic activity “Crop production”.
- The establishment of an obligation for duty or for placement of the employer during a certain time of the day is specified:
- The obligation is no longer related to the category of employees, but to the positions;
- The procedure for establishing the obligation, its maximum duration and its reporting shall be determined by an ordinance of the Council of Ministers.
- Some changes have been made in the following cases of regular working hours:
8.1 Spread-over working hours – when due to necessity the employees perform their work duties and after the expiration of the regular working hours, the employees have the right to the breaks provided for these cases in the Labor Code.
8.2 Night work – the food that the employer shall provide is free (and not hot).
8.3 Aggregate estimation of working hours
- The employer may establish an aggregate estimation of working hours under conditions and in compliance with an ordinance of the Council of Ministers and determine the period for which it is established, lasting from 1 to 4 months.
- With a collective employment agreement signed within industries and branches a period for aggregate estimation of working hours up to 12 months may be set – the industries and branches are specified in an ordinance of the Council of Ministers.
- A supplement has been made about the overtime work – with a collective employment agreement signed within industries and branches a longer duration of 150 hours of overtime work can be agreed, but not more than 300 hours in one calendar year.
- The following changes have been introduced in the basic paid annual leave:
- The employee’s right to use paid annual leave when starting work for the first time already arises at gaining of at least 4 months of length of service (and not as before – 8 months);
- The employee shall now be entitled to compensation for unused paid annual leave upon termination of the employment relation before gaining 4 months of length of service.
- A supplement was made regarding the terms for imposing disciplinary sanctions – when the protection in cases of dismissal under the LC shall be applied, these terms do not run from the time of submitting the request to receiving the opinion of the labor expert medical commission and/or the preliminary permission for dismissal.
- Amendments have been made upon termination of the employment relation after the employee has acquired the right to a pension for length of service and age:
12.1 The compensation for a period of 6 months – the employer owes this compensation if the employee has acquired 10 years of employment service in the last 20 years while working for the same employer or in the same group of enterprises.
12.2 The termination by the employer of the employment relationship on the grounds of the employee’s right to a pension for length of service and age – it is specified it is applicable “except in cases of” acquisition of the right to a pension by teachers under the Social Insurance Code.
- The names of some employment agreement have been amended:
- the employment agreement with a condition for on-the-job training is now called an “on-the-job training agreement”;
- the employment agreement with a condition for internship becomes “an employment agreement for internship”.
- As length of service shall already be recognized:
- the time of holding of a position in an international organization of which the Republic of Bulgaria is a member;
- the time during which an employeе to be placed to another work or a pregnant employee does not work, as no suitable work has been provided by the employer.
- Amendments and supplements related to the leaves during active and fixed-term service in the voluntary reserve – have been introduced in the LС through the Law for amendment and supplement of the Law for the reserve of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria:
- a distinction is made between active and fixed-term service in the voluntary reserve in view of the conditions for using unpaid leave two days before departure and two days after return;
- for the time of the unpaid leave the employee is paid remuneration at the expense of the budget of the Ministry of Defense.
- The following amendments and additions have been introduced regarding infringements and penalties:
16.1 The sanction for repeated non-fulfillment of the obligations for provision of healthy and safe working conditions has been reduced.
16.2 Amendments have been introduced concerning the sanctioning of repeated infringements of:
- the provisions of the labor legislation outside the rules for provision of healthy and safe working conditions;
- the obligation to conclude a written employment agreement;
- notifying the National Revenue Agency (NRA) of the conclusion of an employment agreement within 3 days and of its termination within 7 days;
- providing the employee with a copy of the signed employment agreement and notification to the NRA;
- not allowing the employee to work before providing these documents.
Administrative sanctions are provided in case of systematic violation of the above obligations, as well as in case of systematic violation of the following obligations of the employer:
- payment of remuneration for the work performed;
- payment of compensations in due time.
16.3 Administrative sanctions or fines are provided in the following cases:
- non-implementation of a compulsory administrative measure applied by a supervisory authority for observation of the labour legislation;
- decree of a supervisory authority for the existence of an employment relationship and non-fulfillment of the subsequent mandatory prescription for the employer to offer the employee signing of an employment agreement;
- non-provision of assistance to a supervisory authority for observation of the labor legislation in execution of the authority’s functions.
16.4 Amendments have been made regarding the agreement with the sanctioning administrative authority:
- This agreement cannot set the amount of the fine or pecuniary sanction lower than 70 % of the minimum provided for the particular violation.
- An additional requirement is introduced so that an agreement is approved – the violation shall not be repeated or systematic.
16.5 A definition of “systemic violations” is introduced – such are available when
- three or more violations of same type have been committed and
- they have been established by entered into force penal decrees within three years.
16.6 The term “group of enterprises” is specified – in all cases the reference is to the Labor Migration and Labor Mobility Act.
16.7 A definition for “systemic violations of the labour discipline” is introduced – such ones are:
- three or more violations of the labour discipline committed over a period of one year,
- and no disciplinary sanction has been imposed for at least one of them and the established terms have not expired for their imposition,
- and those ones for which sanctions have been imposed – when the disciplinary sanctions have not been deleted in compliance with the respective order.