Understanding Employment Norms in Bulgaria: A Comprehensive Guide
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Hiring in Bulgaria? Read on to find out the employment norms (like taxes, payroll and benefits) and EOR (Employer on Record) norms in Bulgaria.

Employment Norms in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a nation located in Southeast Europe. Sofia, the country's capital and largest city, as well as Plovdiv, Varna, and Burgas, are its important cities. In addition to being a founding member of the OSCE, Bulgaria is a member of the Council of Europe, NATO, and the EU. Mining and agriculture are some of the major contributors to Bulgaria's economy. Bulgaria is a growing nation with an upper-middle-income economy.

General Information:

  • Bulgaria's currency is the Bulgarian lev (лв., BGN)
  • Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria
  • Bulgarian, Dutch, French, and German are the official languages of Bulgaria.
  • Documentation can be in any native language, however, Bulgarian administrators translate these documents into Bulgarian upon reception.
  • As of the third quarter of 2022, the GDP of Bulgaria was reported to be $21,430 million
Bulgaria map

Table of Contents

  • Agreements
  • Onboarding Process
  • Visa
  • Minimum Wage
  • Payroll Cycle
  • Annual Bonus
  • Health Benefits
  • Working Hours and Overtime
  • Leaves
  • Social Security
  • Taxes for Employers
  • Taxes for Employees
  • Probation
  • Termination
  • Severance Pay
  • Employees or Contractors
  • Final Words


  • Chapter V, Section I of the Bulgarian Labour Code emphasizes all the legal provisions regarding employment contracts.
  • Article 66 of the Labor Code stipulates that each employment contract must contain party identities, place of work, the employee's job description, agreed-upon terms specific to the employer and employee, basic and paid annual holidays, additional paid holidays, a termination period, concluding date of the agreement, the start date of actual performance, duration of a work day and work week, employer's salary, and supplementary salary.
  • Employment agreements may not exceed 3 years (Article 68 of the Labor Code).
  • Both parties receive copies of the contract, and the employee has to sign the agreement physically.
  • The agreement must be filed with the Bulgarian Tax Office within 3 working days.
  • Employment contracts for trial periods under Articles 70 and 71 of the Labor Code aid employers in confirming if the employee is a right fit.
Onboarding Process

Onboarding Process

  • Bulgarian onboarding processes aim to ensure recruits feel well-prepared, informed, and trained to make the first few weeks as comfortable as possible.
  • Processes specific to the company may include paying for a hotel room for the first few days/ week, arranging and paying for the flight, and conducting ice-breaking activities with employees.
  • Onboarding requires you to possess certain documents carrying information such as your name, address, educational and qualification certificates, and previous employment certificates. The employees must have ID cards, passports, driving licenses, and other such documentation.


Belgium has 5 Work Permits. It takes 8 to 10 weeks from the application process commencement to document delivery.
  • Work Permit A: Applies for any occupation, any employer, for an unlimited time period. This is mostly for experienced foreign workers already having work experience in Belgium with the help of a Work Permit B.
  • Work Permit B: This is the standard work permit given to most foreigners. Applies to a single employer. Valid for a year, and can be renewed. This is possible to obtain only via employers having their employer permit in advance.
  • Work Permit C: This allows employees to stay in the country for reasons other than work; being asylum, study, etc. Also valid for a year and can be renewed.
  • European Blue Card: Applies to highly skilled and qualified employees to reside and work for three months.
  • Professional Card: This applies to self-employed workers to be involved in certain work activities for one to five years.

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Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage

As of January 1, 2023, minimum wages in Bulgaria are BGN780.00 per month and BGN4.72 per hour.
Payroll Cycle

Payroll Cycle

Bulgarian salaries are paid mid-month for salaries of the previous month. Employee's salaries for the month of January would be paid in mid of February. A monthly payroll cycle is followed in Bulgaria.
Annual Bonus

Annual Bonus

Bulgarian law does not make it necessary for employers to pay annual bonuses to their employees. Therefore, the system works subjectively from company to company and depends on factors such as the seniority of the employee, specific living-related requirements, etc.
Health Benefits

Health Benefits

  • Employees aged 18-40 get their check-ups every five years, and aged 40 and up every three years.
  • The employer must conduct healthcare training during work hours.
  • All health documentation must be kept in records for at least five years.
  • Numerous employers supply health insurance to their employees, in addition to supplying medical facilities and specialist examinations.
  • Multisport cards are issued for the benefit of employees at the employer's expense. Food vouchers and meals are provided for by the employer as well.
Working Hours and Overtime

Working Hours and Overtime

  • Work hours: 8 hours per day in a 5-day work week; 40 hours per week. Maximum duration including overtime is not to exceed 12 hours in a 5-day work week; 56 hours per week.
  • Break: 1 unpaid meal break of not less than 30 minutes. Section 152 of the Labor Code stipulates unquestioned daily rest for 12 hours.
  • Overtime: Maximum 30 hours of daytime work and 20 hours of night work in 1 month; 6 hours of daytime work and 4 hours of night work in 1 week; 3 hours of daytime work and 2 hours of night work in 2 consecutive working days.


Sick Leaves

  • Temporary incapacity entitles employees to sick leaves.
  • Compensation is paid as per suitable security laws subject to the circumstance.
  • Employees are paid for the first three working days, at 70% of the daily amount.

Parental leaves

  • 58 weeks of maternity leave is given to the expecting mothers at the 90% of their social security income. The government and not the employer pay for this income.
  • Breastfeeding breaks for working mothers range from 1 hour to 3 hours per day.
  • New fathers are entitled to a 2 weeks break with 90% of their pay.
  • Additional leaves for parents with a child less than 2 years of age for the purpose of caretaking are permitted as subjective parental leaves.
  • For adoptive parents with a child less than 5 years, a 365-day break is permitted from the date of the transfer of the child to the adoptive parents.

Annual leaves

  • After 8 months of work, employees are entitled to 20 days of leave.
  • Additional leaves are on a subjective basis and depend on factors such as seniority, company, tasks, etc.

Public Holidays (for the Calendar year 2023, excluding holidays falling on a Sunday):

  • New Year's Day (1st and 2nd January)
  • Liberation Day (3rd March)
  • Good Friday (14 April)
  • Holy Saturday (15 April)
  • Easter Monday (16th April)
  • Labor Day (1st May)
  • St. George's Day (6th and 8th May)
  • Culture and Literacy Day (24th May)
  • Unification Day (6th September)
  • Independence Day (22 September)
  • Day of Bulgarian Enlighteners (1st November)
  • Christmas Eve (24th December)
  • Christmas Day (25th December)
  • Christmas's Second Day (26th December)
  • Christmas Day (27th December)

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Social Security

Social Security

By virtue of employment, it contributes to around 24% of an employee's social security; around 14% by the employer, and 10% by the employee. Discuss rates with your company for further understanding and more accurate figures.
Taxes for Employers

Taxes for Employers

The employer has to pay the following taxes:
  • State Social Insurance: 10.92%
  • Healthcare contributions: 4.80%
  • Supplementary Compulsory Pension Insurance: 2.80%
  • Accident at Work and Occupational Diseases Fund: 0.4-1.1%
  • State Insurance System is paid based on the employee's gross salary.

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Taxes for Employees

Taxes for Employees

Payroll taxes:

  • State Social Insurance contributions: 8.38%
  • Healthcare contributions: 3.20%
  • Supplementary Compulsory Pension Insurance: 2.20%
  • Income taxes:
    • 10% is the flat rate. Personal income tax is deducted from the gross salary excluding contributions.


The probation period for the employees is up to 6 months and it shouldn't exceed the same.

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There are various laws that employees and employers both have to follow:
  • If the termination is decided by the mutual agreement of both parties, then it can be done easily, by communicating the same in writing.
  • If the employee is associated with any trade union, then the employer has to seek the permission of the union, before they terminate any employee.
  • Significant issues are faced by employers when it comes to the termination of any form. There are many specific types n of terminations that are mentioned in the employment laws or the labor code.
  • Here are some possible reasons for the termination:
    • less workload
    • organization getting closed, in which the employee is working
    • reduction in the working positions
    • employee lacks the necessary skills to perform his/her duties
    • lack of required education and professional qualification needed to perform the duties
    • employee's refusal to relocate to another location or town and more
Severance Pay

Severance Pay

  • Severance pay is a one-time payment upon termination, dependent on the type of termination (for example, termination by the employee, mutual agreement, without cause, cause within an indefinite term, and fixed term agreement).
  • The standard maximum severance pay is one month's salary for dismissal on specific grounds (partial closure or closure of establishment, staff cuts, layoffs).
  • The standard severance pay is two months' salary for dismissal due to disability/ health hazards to employees (given that the individual has been employed for at least five years, and has not received severance pay in these last five years).
  • For individuals having worked with their employer for more than 10 years, severance pay amounts to six months' salary.
  • For people attaining the entire length of service and have crossed their retirement age, the standard severance payment is two months' salary.
  • When termination is a result of issues against payment of compensation by mutual agreement (by the employee's initiative), severance pay amounts to at least four months' salary.
Employees or Contractors

Employees or Contractors

  • Employee/ Worker: Bulgarian Labor Law applies here only. Employers are the economically stronger party and employees are financially dependent on them. There are three classifiers of workers (1st, 2nd, and 3rd categories); the third category being the most common and standardized.
  • Independent Contractors/ Self-Employed: Civil and Commercial laws govern this sphere. Individuals providing services to an employer and are in a contractual relationship with the employer. They are not a part of their labor force. These include self-employed professionals, freelancers, and registered company executives.
  • Failure to correctly classify a working relationship results in fines and penalties, legal issues, and the offending party is required to pay workers for any lost benefits/ wages.
Final Words

Final Words

While Bulgaria offers a relatively low living cost, low crime rates, abundant nature and landscapes, and a respectable standard of education to working parents, the ongoing infrastructure construction may offer a few hurdles. Bulgaria has one of the lowest economies but is now climbing the ladder. For parties with hiring capacity, Bulgaria is ideal to expand their businesses. Sofia is an ideal outsourcing center. IT sectors offer the highest salaries.

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