In connection with the epidemic with the COVID-19 virus and the declared state of emergency in the country, as well as the obligation of the employers in the Republic of Bulgaria to fulfill their legal obligations imposed by the emergency measures, today we bring to your attention the currently debated Law on Measures during the State of Emergency, announced by the National Assembly’s Decree of Emergency on 13.03.2020.
The motion was tabled in committee in the afternoon on 17 March 2020. The draft was tabled and voted in plenary on 18 March 2020. Changes in the proposed measures between first and second reading are possible, given the dynamic situation and discussions held in parliamentary committees. We will keep you informed in a timely manner.
Important for the employers, workers and employees are the proposals for modification of the Labor Code made in §4 of the Transitional and Final Provisions of the Bill, which we will present to you today in summary:
New Art. 120b: “Assignment of home work and telework in the event of a state of emergency.”
The employer may, in the event of a state of emergency, assign the employee without temporary consent to perform temporary homework and/or teleworking. This is done by order of the employer, which defines the conditions.
New Art. 120c: “Suspension in case of a state of emergency.”
In the event of a state of emergency, the employer may, by order, suspend the work of the enterprise, part of the enterprise or individual employees for the whole or part of the period until the end of the state of emergency.
When, in the event of a state of emergency, the work of an enterprise or part of it is terminated by an order of a state body, the employer shall be obliged not to allow the employees to their jobs for the entire period of the state of emergency.
In Art. 138a a new para. 2 that in the enterprise or in a unit of his, the employer may establish for the duration of an emergency or for part of that period part-time employees who work full-time.
New Art. 173a: “Use of leave for declared state of emergency”
Where, due to a state of emergency, the employer, or an order of a public authority, terminates the work of the enterprise, part of the enterprise or individual employees, the employer shall be entitled to grant paid annual leave to the employee without his or her consent, including to an employee who has not obtained eight months of service. If the employee has used the full amount of his paid annual leave, the employer provides unpaid leave.
The employer is obliged to allow the use of paid annual leave or unpaid leave in case of declared emergency at the request of:
- a pregnant worker and worker in an advanced stage of in vitro fertilization;
- mother or adoptive parent of a child up to 12 years of age or of a disabled child, regardless of age;
- a worker or employee who is a single father or adoptive parent of a child up to 12 years of age or a disabled child, regardless of age;
- a worker or employee who is under 18 years of age;
- employee with permanent disability 50 and above 50 per cent;
- an employee with the right to protection upon dismissal under Art. 333, para. 1, items 2 and 3 (dismissal only after prior permission of the labor inspection of a worker who is the mother of a child under 3 years of age or of an employed worker);
The time during which the leave is used shall be recognized as work experience.
New Art. 218a: “Compensation for termination of employment due to a declared state of emergency”
During the termination of employment of an enterprise or part of it by an order of a state body due to a declared state of emergency, the worker or employee is entitled to compensation of 50 percent of his gross wage, but not less than 75 percent of the country’s minimum wage. The compensation is paid by the employer with whom the employee is employed.
New Art. 267a: “Remuneration for work upon termination of work due to a declared state of emergency”
For the period of termination of work in the cases under Art. 120c, para. 1, the employee is entitled to his gross remuneration.
Thus, the above changes to the Labor Code provide for special measures that employers, as well as their employees, can take to limit the gathering of large numbers of people in one place at a state of emergency, while attempting to mitigate the impact on employers and employees alike.