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Introduced in 1990, Bulgaria’s flag consists of three horizontal bands in white, green, and red. White symbolizes peace, love, and freedom, while green represents the country’s agricultural terrain, and red signifies the fight for independence and acts of military bravery.
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Bulgaria offers a cost-effective labour market compared to many Western European countries. Labour costs, including salaries and benefits, are generally lower, making it an attractive option for businesses looking to control expenses. They have a well-educated and skilled workforce. Many Bulgarians are proficient in languages, including English, which can be beneficial for international businesses.
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The minimum wage is 780 BGN per month. The minimum hourly wage is set at BGN 4.72, but certain sectors might have collective agreements that establish a higher minimum wage.
Standard Working Hours
In Bulgaria, workers maintain an 8 hour daily schedule, consisting of a 40 hour week. The weekly hours should not exceed 48 hours in total. The working week is Monday – Friday.
Bulgarian Law usually does not permit overtime work, however there are some exceptional cases. Any additional work beyond the standard workweek compensated as overtime pay and must be following the employment regulations. This amounts to a maximum of 6 extra hours per week, 30 hours per month and 150 hours per year. Overtime pay is usually at a rate of 150% of the employee’s salary, unless stated otherwise in the employment contract. Employees should have at least 12 hours of rest each day.
In Bulgaria, the payroll cycle typically follows a monthly pattern, with compensation being paid on the final working day of the month.
Paid time off
In Bulgaria, employees are eligible for 20 days of paid annual leave after completing a minimum of eight months of service. Unused annual leave can be carried over to the following year, however these days need to be used by June.
Workers are entitled to receive paid sick leave in case of sickness absence from work. During the initial three days, the employer covers 70% of the basic income, while from the fourth day onward, the National Social Security Institute provides payment, equivalent to 80% of the employee’s income. Employees must provide a medical certificate within 48 hours of the first day of sickness. To qualify for these payments, employees need to have a social security insurance history spanning at least six months.
Female employees are granted a period of five months for paid maternity leave, typically taken from two months before the expected due date until three months after giving birth. However, if the nature of the employee’s work poses risks to her health or that of the unborn child, the maternity leave before the due date can commence earlier than two months. Alternatively, it can be postponed until after childbirth.
Fathers are entitled to mandatory paid paternity leave of 15 days paid at a rate of 90% of the regular salary rate from the child’s birth. Fathers are eligible for this entitlement once they have completed at least one year of employment.
Termination of Employment
The standard termination procedure in Bulgaria adheres to the termination grounds outlined in the Bulgarian Labor Law, unless an employer can substantiate the need for immediate dismissal due to misconduct.
Notification of termination must be in written form and forwarded to the appropriate government agencies.
The notice period for either party extends to 1 month, although it can be extended to a maximum of 3 months. All notice durations should be clearly outlined in the employment agreement. Employees within Bulgaria have the option to resign without adhering to the stipulated notice period; however, this choice results in the loss of any correspondence payment.
The probation period for regular employees is a period of three months, with a maximum extension allowed up to 6 months.
Any foreign individual intending to work in Bulgaria is required to seek a Bulgarian residence permit. The primary legal framework overseeing the issuance of residence permits to foreign nationals is the Foreign Nationals in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
Under this legislation, foreigners are eligible to apply for one of three categories of Bulgarian residence permits. Such as Bulgarian residence visas, residence visas for foreign workers, and long-term or extended residence visas.
The standard rate in Bulgaria is 21%.