The Bulgarian Parliament has adopted new legislation that introduces important changes to the Labour Code, the Social Insurance Code and the Health Insurance Act. These new legislative provisions are effective from 1 August 2022 and include several amendments.

Amendments to employment must be announced in advance

Employers must notify their employees in writing of any amendments made to their employment relationship no later than on the date when such amendments enter into force, as opposed to one month after such amendments are made, which was the previously applicable period.

Shorter trial period is introduced for short-term employees

Fixed-term employment agreements that are shorter than one year can include a trial period of up to one month.

Limited non-compete during employment

Employers have a limited right to prohibit their employees from working for another employer simultaneously. An employee's right to have a concurrent employment relationship can be limited only to protect trade secrets and/or to prevent conflicts of interest.

Employees are now explicitly entitled to suggest amendments to their employment agreement

In addition to the employer, the employee can also suggest amendments to their employment agreement in writing when it concerns а fixed-term contract or part-time work. Employees are entitled to this right only after the end of their trial period. If the employer does not agree to the proposed amendments, their reasoning for their decision must be provided to the employee within one month.

Employers must ensure that employees are properly informed and trained

Employers are now required to provide more information to their employees, including information about the conditions for employment termination, as well as about any training programs available for the maintenance or upgrade of the employees' professional qualification. Time spent participating in a training program shall be considered as working hours. Any training costs are borne by the employer.

New parental leave for fathers is introduced

Subject to some restrictions, the father of a child (eight years old or younger) is entitled to an additional leave of up to two months. In order to exercise this right, the employee must notify the employer at least ten working days in advance. Fathers using such leave are entitled to statutory compensation for the leave period in accordance with amendments to the Social Insurance Code.

Work-life balance need is recognised by the Bulgarian Labour Code

Both mothers and fathers taking care of a child (eight years old or younger) can request a temporary change in their employment relationship for the purpose of creating a balance between work and family-related obligations.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.