COVID-19 - Bulgaria in a State of Emergency - Important Employment Issues for Employers - Part II - NEW EMPLOYEE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
The new Emergency Measures and Actions Act has already been promulgated in the State Gazette after the President's veto on some texts was adopted. The law regulates important issues related to the employment, as well as the economic and social development of citizens during the COVID-19 crisis.
Protecting employees during a crisis
In spite of overall expectations, the new Law does not provide additional opportunities for employers to terminate employment with their employees during a state of emergency. The new regulation emphasizes flexibility and adaptability in work, without authorizing Bulgarian employers to take drastic measures such as layoffs or the right to impose mandatory use of unpaid leave.
What are the new opportunities for employers?
As already discussed in Part I - DISTANCE WORK, with the new Law, employers are able, in an emergency, to unilaterally order distance work by special order without the consent of employees. The terms and conditions for assigning, executing and controlling shall be determined by the order of the employer.
The employer is entitled to give the employee up to half of his annual paid leave without his or her consent.
The employer is obliged to allow the use of paid or unpaid leave when requested by a certain category of employees (pregnant, mothers, minors, disabled persons, etc.).
In the undertaking or its unit, the employer may establish part-time work for the whole or part of the declared period of emergency.
Termination of work
The employer shall have the right to suspend the activity of the whole undertaking or part of it, as well as of individual employees for the whole or part of the state of emergency, in which case he shall be entitled to grant all paid annual leave to the employees concerned and employees without their consent. If, during a state of emergency, the employer discontinues work, but without giving workers leave, he or she owes them the gross remuneration for that period.
Suspension of work by order of a state body
When the termination of the work of the enterprise or part of it is done by order of a state body, and not at the discretion of the employer, then it is obliged not to allow the employees to their jobs for the whole period. In this case, the employer has the right to give them the full amount of unused paid annual leave without their consent, as is the case for those of them who do not have 8 months of work experience. If the employer chooses not to grant the employees leave, he or she owes them the gross remuneration for that period.
Financial support for employers
The law stipulates that the NSSI will transfer 60% of the amount of the insurance income for January 2020 for the persons insured by employment, to insurers meeting the criteria determined by the Council of Ministers. These criteria have not yet been adopted and there is a lack of clarity on the requirements for those employers who are planned to be financially supported.
The team of the Bulgarian Consulting Group monitors all changes and updates of the Bulgarian legislation in the conditions of declared state of emergency and informs its clients and partners in a timely manner in order to give them legal certainty that their activity is fully legal and adapted to the emergency situation in Bulgaria.