Amendments to the Bulgarian Labour Legislation

During 2022 were introduced a number of amendments to the Bulgarian labour legislation, which have significant impact on the relations between employers and employees.
In the Labour Code there is already an explicit requirement for written form for any amendments to the employment relation – whereas the employer is obliged to provide written information to the employee before the amendment enters into force. With regard to the contracts for limited term of up to 1 year a limitation of the probation term is introduced: the probation term cannot be longer than 1 month.
With regard to the additional work with another employer, there is an explicit requirement that the conclusion of a second employment contract with another employer can be forbidden on basis of concerns for protection of trade secrets or for preventing conflict of interest.
A completely new provision is created in art. 164c, which provides a right for the father or adoptive parent of a child of up to 8 years of age to use a paid leave up to 2 months, if they haven’t used leave at birth or adoption of the child. If the father or adoptive parent has used paid leave at birth or adoption of the child, then they can use the new rule until the total amount of the different paid leaves reaches 2 months.
The new art. 167b of the Labour Code provides a right for the parent or adoptive parent of a child of up to 8 years of age to suggest to the employer a transfer to remote work or other changes to the employment for better combination between family and employment duties. Such changes will be effected only if the employee and employer reach an agreement, and if the employer disagrees, they are obliged to provide a refusal with clarification as to the reasons for it.
With regard to labour discipline, there is an explicit provision, that the filing of signals to the respective control authorities does not constitute a disciplinary violation, unless untrue information has been filed deliberately.
There are also new rules for maintaining and improving professional qualification. When the employer is obliged under a statutory act, collective or individual employment contract, to provide training for the employee, then this training will be included in the work time of the employee and the employer shall cover all expenses for it. Such an obligation is explicitly provided for the employer with regard to employees, who were absent from work for a long time – the employer is obliged to provide terms for familiarizing with the new processes at work.
Additional amendments are adopted also at the level of by-laws – in the Ordinance for work time, rests and leaves. In the ordinance it is provided that the employer shall determine with the regulation for internal labour organization how the employees should be notified of the schedules for summed calculation of work time, for time on duty or time at the disposal of the employer. When the employees are obliged to be at the disposal of the employer, a rule should be provided how the employer notifies the employee to come to work. New and detailed rules are introduced, which regulate the negotiation of obligation for time on duty or time at disposal of the employer, as well as the options for calculating the work time in such a case.
As a change at European level notice deserves the Directive (EU) 2022/2041 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 October 2022 on adequate minimum wages in the European Union, which must be implemented in national legislations until 15th of November 2024. The directive encourages collective negotiation of working wages, but obliges member states, who have introduced standards for minimum wage to establish procedures for reviewing its amount. The criteria which should be considered in such procedures are the the purchasing power of statutory minimum wages, taking into account the cost of living; the general level of wages and their distribution; the growth rate of wages; long-term national productivity levels and developments, as well as measures for guaranteeing the compliance with the set amount of the minimum wage.