Companies extending their operations into Bulgaria need a complete grasp of Bulgarian employment contracts. The employment relationship with the employees is governed by Bulgaria’s Labour Code and supplementary legislation, as well as European Union Directives, dealing with benefits, entitlements and compensation. These issues are a major consideration during the process of hiring, onboarding and drawing up contracts with new staff.
Once Bradford Jacobs’ Professional Employment Organisation (PEO) recruitment networks have located the best talent for your company, we step in to steer you through this crucial element of recruitment. Thanks to our PEO and EOR services, we can provide compliant labour contracts for your employees in Bulgaria, including local benefits. Our team keeps track of Bulgarian laws and regulations daily to be duly aware of updates that can be implemented in working contracts and to ensure a smooth entry for your business into the Bulgarian economy.
The Labour Code stipulates that employment contracts must be in writing, signed by both parties who keep a copy each, and the National Revenue Agency are advised within three days of the contract being signed. Employment cannot legally start until this has been done. Initially, the contract can be in any language. Still, there must be a Bulgarian translation in the case of legal issues, and the Labour Inspectorate can request a Bulgarian version to be provided at any time. The minimum requirements for the contract are detailed in Article 67 of the Labor Code. Any changes to the contract must also be in writing. Employers risk financial penalties for non-compliance.
Although the Labor Code generally applies to all contracts, if there is an international aspect to the agreement, the parties can elect to be governed by another country’s contract laws.
Open-ended Employment Contracts: Unless otherwise specified, an employment contract is considered open-ended, permanent and indefinite. Employment continues until terminated mutually or by complying with relevant procedures.
Fixed-term Employment Contracts: Fixed-term contracts can be entered into for a minimum of one year (less than one year in specified limited circumstances) to a maximum of three years. The contract becomes permanent if an employee is required to work for five days after the end date. Fixed-term contracts can also be applied to completing specific tasks or for the temporary substitution of a permanent member of staff.
Probation Periods: These cannot exceed six months. The contract must stipulate whether the employer or the prospective employee requested the trial period, and whichever applies can terminate the contract prematurely without notice. The arrangement becomes permanent and indefinite if it is not ended during the fixed-term trial period.
Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs): These can be in force at the company, municipality, or industry level. Typically, CBAs improve working conditions such as pay, paid vacations, benefits, and entitlements. Agreements cannot apply terms less favourable than any statutory minimums in place. Where a contract relates to an area not covered by statutes, it cannot exceed two years.
Most aspects of employment law are dealt with in the Labour Code, with issues over non-compliance dealt with by the Labour Inspectorate. Other areas of employment legislation, articles and statutes cover collective bargaining, anti-discrimination in the workplace, health and safety, employee protection against employer bankruptcy, social assistance and family benefits. Here are the general requirements when dealing with Bulgarian employment contracts: