Amendments to the Ordinance on business trips in the country

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The Ordinance on Business Trips in the Country (the “Ordinance”) is the main piece of legislation that regulates the conditions for business trips, the amounts of different types of business trip allowances, the rights and obligations of the posting employers and the posted employees, etc. The last major update to the Ordinance was adopted more than a decade ago. During this period, there have been a number of developments, both in labour legislation and in socio-economic conditions. This necessitates changes to the Ordinance to enable it to respond to new realities and to adequately regulate social relations in the current context.

For the above reasons, the Council of Ministers has drafted a Decree on the amendment and supplementation of the Ordinance on business trips in the country, which has been published on the portal for public consultation.

In this article the more substantial proposals for changes will be discussed.

A change to Article 6 provides that persons travelling as suppliers, deliverymen, couriers, dispatchers and others where the nature of the work involves travelling between different locations will not be considered as posted. Until now, the current legal framework was less precise as to the scope of persons whose activities are directly linked to travelling between localities and who are therefore not posted in the performance of their normal duties. At the same time, the unnecessary reference to civil contracts has been removed – persons in this type of legal relationship cannot be posted at all.

The possibility of issuing the posting order electronically is introduced. If issued electronically, the posting order shall comply with the requirements of Regulation 910/2014 and the Electronic Document and Electronic Certification Services Act.

The requirement that the posting order must specify the need for a report is removed. The obligation to draw up a report is a mandatory requirement in Article 29 of the Ordinance, leaving only the type of report to be specified in the order itself.

A new item 10 is created in Article 9 of the Ordinance, which introduces in the mandatory content of the posting order a requirement to indicate whether the order itself needs to be certified by the signature of an authorised staff member at the place of posting. The previous version of the Ordinance required that the posting order must be certified with the signature and stamp of an authorised staff member. This may create difficulties in cases where the posting is to a site outside the locality. The amendments therefore propose to introduce the legal possibility for the posting employers to decide for themselves whether the signature of the authorised staff member at the place of posting is necessary. It is also noteworthy that the introduction of an electronic version of the posting order makes the requirement for a signature and stamp unenforceable. The drafters of the proposed amendments claim that this reduces the administrative burden.

The regime for the reimbursement of expenses for the use of a private motor vehicle during the business trip is updated. The previous legislation provided that only the costs of the most economical mode of driving of the person on business trip – i.e. out of town, and only on the national road network – would be covered. The restriction is unjustified, as in fact the persons on business trips use their vehicles in mixed urban and extra-urban mode. In addition, covering the costs only within the ‘national road network’ is socially unfair, since, by the definition in the Road Act, it means that the posted persons have to cover the fuel costs themselves when travelling on a municipal road. The changes introduce the coverage of fuel costs in mixed traffic (urban and non-urban), according to the consumption rates set by the vehicle manufacturer. It is also proposed to cover the costs of those posted on the entire road network, not just the national road network, i.e. including within localities.

One of the most significant changes in the Ordinance relates to an increase in the daily allowance in the case of secondment. As the drafters themselves point out, the last change in the amount of the daily allowance was in 2008 and was set at BGN 20. In view of increased inflation, this amount is clearly insufficient. The daily allowance serves to cover the cost of meals during the day. The proposal is to increase the minimum amount to BGN 40.

There has been a change in the rules under which higher amounts of travel and accommodation money are provided, as well as a one-off provision of money to cover minor expenses. The current text of the Ordinance requires that secondees must accompany foreign guests or specialists in order to receive the increased travel allowance. The submitters argue that this restriction is unjustified. The amendment provides for the possibility to pay the increased amount of the above-mentioned types of posting allowances to all secondees and not only to those accompanying foreign guests or specialists. A different approach is also taken to the granting of the amounts – instead of the grounds exhaustively listed in the Ordinance, it is proposed that this should be done at the discretion of the posting employer or when agreed in a collective agreement or in an agreement with a trade union of public servants. Thus, the daily allowance could be increased by up to 200 %.

The proposed amendments aim to update the legal framework on posting to reflect the new economic conditions and achieve a higher degree of social justice. It remains to be seen whether they will be voted on in this form.

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