Employment and Labour Law in Bulgaria
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As a working foreigner in Bulgaria, you need to know your rights and obligations under the Labour Code.
Before actually beginning work, the employer shall provide the employee with a copy of the employment contract as concluded, signed by both parties, and a copy of the notification, certified by the territorial directorate of the National Revenue Agency. The employer has no right to allow the employee to work before submitting these documents. Once you get them, you have one week to start working.
The employment contract contains data for both parties and determines:
1. the place of work;
2. the name of the position and the nature of the work;
3. the date of its conclusion and the beginning of its fulfilment;
4. the duration of the employment contract;
5. the size of the basic and extended paid annual leave and of the additional paid annual leaves;
6. an equal term of notice for both parties on termination of the employment contract;
7. the basic and the extra remuneration of permanent nature, as well as the periodicity of their payment;
8. duration of the working day or week.
Most of the times a trial period is included in the contract, it is up to six months and it can be negotiated in favour of either party. Prior to the expiration of the trial period, the party in whose favour it has been agreed upon may terminate the contract without notice. In practice, most times the trial period is in the employer's favour.
Main obligations under the employment relationship:
- For the employee - to perform the work he has agreed to do and to observe the established labour discipline;
- For the employer - to provide conditions to the employee so that he can perform his work and pay him remuneration for the work done.
Full-time employment in Bulgaria means 40-hour workweek and a minimum of 20 days paid annual leave. Night work and working overtime are remunerated according to Articles 261 and 262 of the Labour Code respectively.
For industrial reasons and company matters, Article 136a allows an employer to implement extended working time during some working days and compensate by reducing it in others.
Termination of the employment contract is regulated in chapter 16 of the Labour Code. Depending on circumstances it can be proposed by either party with or without notice. The notice period is 30 days unless a longer period has been agreed, but it cannot be longer than 3 months.
Labour disputes between worker/employee and employer are regulated in chapter 18 of the Labour Code. Legal proceedings are free of charge for employees, they don't pay for legal fees and proceedings, including for applications for a repeal of effective rulings on labour cases. Unless agreed otherwise, a Bulgarian court has jurisdiction over legal disputes between foreign nationals and employers, with domicile in Bulgaria, when the work has been performed in this country. The same applies when a worker/employee is sent on a business trip to Bulgaria under Art. 121a, Para. 1, item 2 and Para. 2, item 2.
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