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Overview of Bulgaria

Bulgaria lies in the south-east of Europe and is one of the oldest countries in Europe. It is also the only one to never change its name since its establishment in 681. Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria but the second biggest city, Plovdiv, is the oldest continuously inhabited country in Europe with its origins stretching to over 8000 years ago. Bulgaria has a population of 7 million people. The official language is Bulgarian and they use the Cyrillic alphabet. In Bulgaria, one shakes ones head for yes and nods it for no. Be careful not to get confused!

Bulgarians treat business meetings formally and show respect throughout by adhering to protocols. Be prepared for a meeting to take longer than the allotted time. Patience and good relationships are crucial to success in Bulgaria. Bulgarians are very direct in their way of dealing with matters as well as explicit. However, it takes time to do business with Bulgarians.

Currency of Bulgaria

  • Lew

Health Insurance and the Social Security system of Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Healthcare system was reformed in 1998 into a system with compulsory and voluntary health insurance. The healthcare system is financed through the compulsory health insurance contributions from employees and employers as well as taxes.

The health insurance system covers diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitation services as well as medications for insured individuals.

Private healthcare is also available and covers primary care, dental and pharmaceutical care.

Employer cost of Bulgaria

The cost for an employer to hire someone in Bulgaria is a plus of 19.02% to the gross salary.

Salary and bonuses of Bulgaria

Regular employees are paid monthly.

Many companies pay a 13th month salary, but this is not required by law.

Commissions, incentives, and bonuses are variable and will be agreed upon directly with the employer

Public Holidays in Bulgaria

  • January 1st – New Year’s Day
  • March 3rd – Liberation Day
  • moveable – good Friday
  • moveable – Easter Monday
  • May 1st – International Worker’s Day
  • May 6th – Saint George’s Day
  • May 24th – Bulgarian Education and Culture and Slavonic Literature Day
  • September 6th – Unification Day
  • September 22nd – Independence Day
  • December 24th – Christmas Eve
  • December 25th – Christmas Day
  • December 26th – Boxing Day

Working Hours in Bulgaria

Office hours are from 8.00am to 6:00pm, Monday to Friday.

A regular work week is 40 hours at 8 hours a day.

Overtime is not allowed to be more than 3 hours a day over 2 consecutive days, 6 hours in a week, 30 hours in a month and 150 hours in a year. Overtime is paid at a rate of 150% on regular days, 175% on weekends and 200% on national holidays.

Vacation in Bulgaria

Bulgaria has a minimum of 20 vacation day per year.

Sick Leave in Bulgaria

In order to receive sick benefits, one has to have been employed for at least 6 months before one can claim sick pay. One has to have a sick note issued by a general practitioner in order to prove the condition.

The first 3 days of illness are covered by the employer for up to 70% of ones wage. The following days are covered by the general sickness benefits. The amount one receives (80% or 90%) depends on social security contributions one has paid in the last 18 months before the incapacity occurred.

Termination/Severance in Bulgaria

An employee can be terminated due to just cause as provided by the law such as closure of the business or undue conduct. Notice of the termination must be given to the employee in writing and the notice period is 30 days.

Employers are obligated to inform the National Revenue Agency of any conclusion of employment contracts with essential details of the contract.

Employers can terminate an employee’s contract by offering to pay them compensation. Compensation in such a case is at least 4 times the employee’s monthly salary.