Amendments of the Bulgarian Labour Code, effective as of 1st of August 2022

Amendments of the Bulgarian Labour Code (“LC”) were promulgated on 5th of August 2022 in State Gazette, Issue No 62 with an explicit retroactive effect as of 01st of August 2022. These amendments transpose in our national legislation the requirements of Directive (EU) 2019/1152 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union and of Directive (EU) 2019/1158 on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU. 

In brief, the legislator mainly aims, on one hand, to encourage the security and predictability of the employment relations, and, at the same time to guarantee the employment and social security rights of the employees. On other hand, the legislator aims to improve the possibilities for reconciling work and family responsibilities. 

The team of Stoeva, Tchompalov & Znepolski has summarized below the important changes to the LC that may apply to you in your capacity as employer or employee. 

Increased awareness of changes in the employment relationship 

From 1st of August 2022 the written information in the event of a changes in the employment relationship must be provided by the employer to the employee no later than the effective date of the amendment, instead of “within one month after the amendment takes effect”.

Limitation of the probation period for fixed-term employment contract

A new rule in Article 70, para. 1 of LC limits the probation period of the employee up to one month when the employment contract is concluded for a fixed term of less than one year. 

Additional work for another employer

The right of the employers to restrict the work for another employer, outside the work schedule established with that employer, from now on will be subject to the following objective reasons: 

  • protection of commercial secret; and/or
  • prevention of conflicts of interest. 

Amendment of the employment relationship 

The new amendments to Article 119 of LC expressly entitles the employee with the right to propose in writing to his employer an amendment to the employment relationship in relation to: 

  • transition from a fixed-term employment contract to an indefinite employment contract; and/or
  • transition from part-time to full-time employment. 

In addition, a new obligation is established for the employer when the latter does not accept such an offer, to provide the employee with a written reply within one month, explaining the reasons for his refusal, unless the offer is made by the employee more than twice in a period of one year.

Additional employer obligations

The following additional employer’s obligation are introduced:

  • to make acquainted the employee with the internal rules on salary;
  • to provide the employee with the information on the conditions and procedures for termination of the employment contract in accordance with the provision of the LC;
  • to provide the employee with the information on the training provided by the employer, related to maintenance and improvement of professional qualification. 

New type of parental leave for raising a child up to 8 years old from the father (adoptive parent)

A new type of leave has been introduced which entitles the father (adoptive parent) to use up to 2 months leave to raise a child up to 8 years old. During the leave, the father (adoptive parent) receives a cash compensation from the state social security in the amount set in the State Social Insurance Budget Act (for 2022 the compensation is in the amount of BGN 710 leva). The health insurance of an employee using this type of leave is at the expenses of the employer. 

The leave may be used at once or in parts. This parental leave shall be used only if the father has not used transferred from the mother/adoptive parent maternity leave, parental leave for a child up to 2 years old or adoption leave for a child up to 5 years old, nor he has used leave for the death or serious illness of a parent or adoptive parent. 

Employee’s rights to reconcile work and family responsibilities

The newly introduced right applies to the employee who is caring for a parent, child, spouse, brother, sister and parent of the other spouse or other relatives in the direct line due to serious medical reasons. The employee will be entitled to propose in writing to his employer an amendment to the duration and allocation of his working hours, to switch to work from distance or to propose another amendment of the employment relationship for the purpose of reconciliation of work and family responsibilities. 

The employer may refuse the proposal by serving a reasoned response in writing to the employee within 14 days.

Professional qualification of the employee

Amendments to Article 228a of LC explicitly state that where by virtue of a legislative act,  collective labour agreement or individual employment contract the employer is obliged to provide training to maintain and improve the professional qualification of the employee, the training time shall be considered as working time and all cost related to the training shall be borne by the employer. 

This article has been prepared for the purposes of general information only and does not constitute legal advice with respect to any particular subject or situation. For specific legal advice you should contact an attorney-at-law. Stoeva, Tchompalov & Znepolsky is not responsible for any legal action undertaken on the basis of the information contained herein.