The National Assembly adopted amendments and supplements to the Labour Code (“LC”), implementing in the national legislation the requirements of Directive (EU) 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union and of Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU. 

The amendments are published in the State Gazette, Issue No. 62 dated 05.08.2022 and are effective as of 1 August 2022. 

The amendments aim, on one hand, to encourage security and predictability of the employment relations, and, on the other hand, to improve the possibilities of reconciling work and family responsibilities. 

Below is a summary of the more important amendments.

Increased awareness of the elements of the employment relationship 

The procedure for providing the necessary written information in the event of a change in the employment relationship is improved. The new rule creates an obligation for the employer to provide the information to the employee not later than the effective date of the amendment in the employment relationship, instead of how it was before – to provide the information at the earliest possibility or at the latest one month after the amendment takes effect. The aim is to make the information known to the employee in a timely manner to ensure the necessary extent of transparency regarding working conditions and to avoid possible labour disputes.

Fixed-term employment contract with a probation period

A requirement is introduced that when the employment contract is for a fixed term of less than one year, the probation period shall be up to one month. In this way, the probation period is aligned with the duration of the contract

Additional work for another employer

The provision being in force until now, was allowing the conclusion of an additional employment contract unless otherwise agreed in the principal employment contract of the employee. Thus, the rule gave the opportunity for introduction of a complete prohibition on additional work for another employer. With the amendment of the provision of Art. 111 of the LC, the prohibition of additional work for another employer may be agreed only for reasons of protection of trade secret and/or prevention of conflict of interest. 

Thus, it will no longer be possible to stipulate in the principal employment contract a general prohibition on concluding an employment contract for additional work. 

Employers under the principal employment relationship will only be able to restrict the employee when the additional work poses a risk of compromising employer’s trade secret or will result in a conflict of interest in the performance of the work. The amendment seeks to ensure the constitutional right of employees to work, including for another employer, while also respecting the need to protect the commercial interests of the employer.

Amendment of the employment relationship

The employee is explicitly granted the opportunity to propose in writing to the employer an amendment to the employment relationship with regard to the transition: 

(i) from a fixed term to an indefinite employment contract, and/or

(ii) from part-time to full-time. 

At the same time, an obligation is established for the employer, if he does not accept the offer, to notify the employee in writing within 1 month, explaining the reasons for his refusal. This creates a guarantee that the employer will consider the offer and give objective reasons, if he does not accept it. When the offer is made more than twice in a period of one year, the employer is not obliged to provide a reasoned written reply to the employee.

Transparency in working conditions

Obligations are created for the employer to introduce the employee with the rules and procedures for determining the individual salary, to provide information on the conditions and procedures for termination of the employment contract in accordance with the provisions of the LC, as well as information on the training provided by the employer, related to maintaining and improving professional qualifications and professional skills. The amendments aim to ensure employee’s right to receive full information on the terms and conditions of the employment relationship, which is a prerequisite for greater job satisfaction, as well for avoidance of labour disputes.

Use of leave during a declared state of emergency or declared emergency epidemic situation

The rules on the unilateral granting by the employer of employee’s paid annual leave when the work of the enterprise, a part of the enterprise or individual employees is suspended in the event of a declared state of emergency or a declared emergency epidemic situation by order of the employer or by order of a public authority, are amended. This amendment removes the current contradictions with the general regulation of annual paid leave by explicitly stating that the employer may unilaterally grant the use of leave even when the employee has not completed the minimum 4 months of length of service required for the right to use annual paid leave

Professional qualification of employees

With the supplement in Art. 228a of the LC it is explicitly regulated that all costs related to training for the purposes of maintaining and improving the professional qualification of the employees shall be borne by the employer, when employer’s obligation to provide the training arises from a regulatory act, a collective labour agreement or an agreement between the parties to the employment relationship.

Because participation in the trainings is at the direction of the employer, the training time will be counted as working time with the corresponding employee’s rights, including the right to receive remuneration, the right to uninterrupted daily and weekly rest, etc. Whenever possible, the training should take place during work, within employee’s established working hours which is a prerequisite for full participation in the training without reducing employee’s rest time. 

Parental leave for a child up to 8 years old from the father (adoptive parent)

The new provision of Art. 164c of the LC regulates an individual right to parental leave for raising a child up to the age of 8 in favor of the father (adoptive parent) with a guaranteed right to a financial compensation from the state social insurance. To ensure the right to a financial compensation during the leave, corresponding amendments to the Social Insurance Code are also introduced. The health insurance of persons using this type of leave will be further regulated by virtue of an amendment to the Health Insurance Act. The contribution for the period of leave is borne by the employer. 

The leave will be for 2 months and can be taken at once or in instalments.

The father (adoptive parent) will be able to take parental leave for a child up to the age of 8, when he has not used transferred from the mother/adoptive parent maternity leave, parental leave for a child up to 2 years old or adoption leave for a child up to 5 years old, nor has he used leave for the death or serious illness of a parent or adoptive parent. An employee who has himself adopted a child and has used the adoption leave for a child up to 5 years old on this ground will also not be entitled to use the parental leave for a child up to 8 years old.

Employee’s rights to reconcile work and family responsibilities

The amendments and supplements to Art. 167b of the LC guarantee the right of the employee to receive a reasoned written reply from the employer when he/she requests in writing a change in the employment relationship for the purpose of reconciling personal and professional life, but the employer does not accept employee’s proposal. The cases, in which the employee has the right to propose to the employer an amendment of the employment relationship for a certain period, are defined by law. It is provided that the proposal may relate to the duration and distribution of the working time, a change to remote working, as well as amendments to other conditions to facilitate the reconciliation of work and family obligations.

Employees who are entitled to this right are parents (adoptive parents) of a child up to the age of 8, as well as those who are caring for a parent, child, spouse, brother, sister and parent of the other spouse or other relatives in the direct line due to serious medical reasons.

How can we help?

The KPMG team remains at your disposal should you have any questions or need assistance regarding the interpretation and application of the amendments to the Labour Code. 

For information

Emil Evtimov
Director, Legal Advisory Services
Tel.: +359 2 9697 600 

Eliana Yurchieva
Senior Associate, Legal Advisory Services
Tel.: +359 2 9697 600