Employment Law Highlights
24 January 2024
Increase of the minimum wage and change in the social insurance threshold voted with the State Budget Act
From January, 1st 2024 the minimum monthly wage for Bulgaria is fixed at BGN 933 (appr. EUR 478).
The payroll tax rates (i.e. for social and health security contributions) remain unchanged. Nevertheless, the social security payments for certain groups of employees will need to be modified due to change in the maximum social insurance threshold, which effective from January, 1st 2024 is increased to BGN 3 750 (appr. EUR 1920) per month.
Changes to the sick leave compensation payable by the employer
From January, 1st 2024 the employers shall pay out to the employees for the first 2 business days of the sick leave 70 % of the average daily gross remuneration for the month in which the temporary incapacity to work occurred. Before the amendment the employer’s obligation covered the first 3 business days of the employee’s sick leave.
The meal vouchers go digital following a transition period
From January 2024, employers will be able to order meal vouchers electronically in the form of a card or a fully virtual instrument. A transition period will apply from 1 January to 30 June 2024. During that period both paper and electronic meal vouchers can be used but the employers must order only one of the types. Starting from July, 1st 2024 only electronic meal vouchers will be issued.
The labour booklet remains paper-based in 2024
In the end of 2023 the substitution of the paper-based employment booklet (in Bulgarian: “трудова книжка“) by an electronic register was voted. The amendments to the Labour Code established new obligations to the employers and the competent institutions in Bulgaria. While most of the changes will enter into force in June 2025, it could be reasonably expected that the preparation of the underlying legislation and the technical infrastructure will take place this year. It is worth noting however, that in 2024 the paper booklet remains an official document evidencing the facts and circumstances registered therein and both employees and employers must follow the established requirements for the issuance, completion and handing over of the labour booklet.
New rules on the salary payment fees
According to recent amendments in the Labour Code effective from September 2023 the employer companies in Bulgaria having 100 or more employees are not allowed to pay salaries in cash (except for salaries due to seasonal workers). Starting from 2024 the bank fees for the salary payments shall be borne by the employees in case of international bank transfer (i.e. if the employee has appointed a bank account outside Bulgaria).
What else to expect: pending employment legislation in 2024
- Amendments to the Labour Code
In the end of 2023 two bills of amendment were submitted to the Bulgarian National Assembly. Along with changes regarding the conditions for distance work, the use of IT solutions at the workplace and enhancement of the work-life balance are in focus. Amendments are also suggested with respect to the effective protection of the workers’ rights in subcontracting chains (i.e. where the employer is a direct subcontractor under a contract for provision of services), including a proposition for joint responsibility between the employer and the contractor for employment-related obligations under the service agreement. Extension of the employers’ liability in case of unlawful dismissal is also proposed.
- Amendment to the Whistleblowing Act
In January 2024 a bill of amendment to the Bulgarian Whistleblowing Act was published for public discussions. If voted, the suggested changes will affect the reporting channels requirements and may result in extension of the period during which an investigation must be launched.
This document does not constitute legal advice and it only aims to provide general information about the legislative landscape to date.