WORKERS RIGHTS IN BULGARIA

Minimum wage in Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, if you work 40 hours a week:

  • The minimum gross wage is 610 leva a month, which amounts to €311
  • The minimum net wage is 473 leva a month, which amounts to €242

This means that your salary cannot be lower than this threshold.

People under 18

If you are under 18, you can work in Bulgaria only under certain conditions. These are:

  1. Your parent/guardian has to write and sign a statement that they agree to your employment and that they are aware of the possible risks involved
  2. Your employer has to:
  • Request permission from the Labor Inspection Service
  • Make a risk assessment prior to hiring you
  • Ensure all necessary measures regarding your personal health and safety in the workplace

The minimum age of employment in Bulgaria is 16. In exceptional circumstances, a person who is 15 years old can also work.

Working hours

The standard working time is 8 hours per day, 40 hours per 5-day work week. This doesn’t include the usual 1-hour lunch break.

There are variations of this working time. It can be slightly different than the standard one depending on your type of work/contract.

Tax rate

The amount of the tax you pay depends on:

  • Your monthly pay at your job
  • The year you were born in
  • Labor category
  • Other factors

You can calculate your net monthly income on the Platform for Taxation and Accounting (available only in Bulgarian).

The government automatically deducts your tax and social security contributions from your pay.

Time off

If you work full-time in Bulgaria, the minimum annual paid leave is 20 working days. However, to have the right to annual paid leave, you must have a minimum of 8 months of work experience in Bulgaria.

Be aware that during the emergency period announced by the government due to COVID-19, your employer may order you to use your paid leave without your consent. That may happen even if you do not have 8 months of work experience.

You also have the right to unpaid holiday leave which usually depends on the employer’s consent.

Public holidays are not included in the calculation of your annual paid leave. There are about 14 public holidays a year. You can find the list of national public holidays here.

The daily wage for work performed during a public holiday is minimum twice the amount of your ordinary daily wage.

Sick pay

You have the right to a paid sick leave if you have at least 6 months of work experience in Bulgaria. The only exceptions are sick leave due to a labor accident or sick leave for employees under 18.

For the first 3 days you are out sick, your employer must pay you 70% of your average daily gross wage. The National Social Security Institute pays for the remaining time.

You must submit a sickness certificate to your employer. Your General Practitioner or another medical specialist must sign and stamp this certificate immediately after returning to work.

Health and social insurance

Your employer pays both your health insurance and your social insurance through monthly installments to the Bulgarian National Revenue Agency.

Bonus pay

You may receive bonus pay if you work in the public or municipality administration, and if you achieve the targets that your employer specified.

Receiving bonuses is also common in the private sector. However, this depends entirely on the company’s internal salary regulations and on your individual employment contract.

Unemployment benefits

You can get unemployment benefits only if you have worked and have been insured for at least 12 months during the past 18 months.

Exploitation at work

If you don’t receive your salary or the employer doesn’t meet the requirements for your health and safety at work, you are a victim of exploitation. In this case, you can file a complaint with the Labor Inspection Service or hire a lawyer who will file a lawsuit with the local trial court on your behalf. Learn more:

Legal services

Contracts in Bulgaria

There are 2 types of contracts in Bulgaria.

The employment contract:

  • The Bulgarian Labor Law regulates it
  • It offers lower flexibility in the working hours, breaks, duration, but ensures greater security
  • It can be fixed-term or permanent

The civil contract:

  • It is a more flexible type of contract
  • It is temporary and easier to terminate
  • It’s not the Bulgarian Labor Law, but the Obligations and Contracts Act that regulates the relationship between you and the employer under such a contract

Do not agree to work without an employment or a civil contract! You may find it tempting but it can potentially expose you to a great risk of exploitation after which you will be deprived of the rights that are normally guaranteed to a person working under a contract.

Pension system

The pension system in Bulgaria is based on a combination of a public system of mandatory pension insurance, supplementary mandatory pension schemes and supplementary voluntary pension schemes.

For 2020, the retirement age for men is 64 years and 3 months whereas for women it is 61 years and 6 months. This age will probably continue rising in the following years. You can check the retirement age for the year you will retire in here.

Early retirement is only possible for people working under hazardous and unhealthy working conditions or for special groups such as teachers, military and police officers.

Dismissal

Your rights in case of dismissal will be different depending on the type of contract you have with the employer. It is important that you read your contract thoroughly and carefully before signing it so that you are aware of all aspects concerning your employment.

Other essential information

  • You have the right to be treated equally at the workplace by both your employer and coworkers.
  • Direct or indirect discrimination at the workplace is strictly forbidden.
  • Your employer has to pay you the agreed upon wage on the date or in the timeframe specified in your contract.
  • You have the right to protection against wrongful dismissal.
  • You have the right to request a fair and objective recommendation from your employer in case you decide to apply for another job.
  • You have a right to a break. Your employer has to provide 1 meal break during the working day which should not be less than 30 minutes.
  • If you are an asylum-seeker, the expiration of the validity of your registration card does not equal an end to your legal right to work. You have to collect your extended registration card which can be renewed for a period of 3 months.