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Minimum Wage in Bulgaria –Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a separate legislation relating to minimum wages in Bulgaria?

There is no separate legislation on minimum wages in Bulgaria. Wages and payment systems are issues regulated by the Labour Code. This Code regulates the labour relations between the employee and the employer, and other directly linked to them issues.

The minimum wage for the country is determined with a Decree of the Ministry of Councils, as stipulated in the Labour Code (Art. 244, Labour Code).

With a Decree № 250 from 11 October 2012, the Council of Ministers determines new minimum wage for the country. The minimum wage is determined per month. The Decree is adopted on the basis of Art. 244, Paragraph 1 of the Labour Code and enters into force on 1 January 2013.

Do one or more minimum wages exist that is/are determined by law?

Bulgaria has only one minimum wage for the country. The minimum wage is determined on national level - minimum wage for the country (Art. 244, Labour Code). Pursuant to Article 244 of the Labour Code, the Council of Ministers decrees the minimum wage for the country (and the types and minimum amounts of the additional labour remunerations and compensations for employment relationships).

However, the minimum wage for the country should always be taken into account with the minimum social insurance thresholds based on the 9 major groups, differentiated in the National Classification of Occupations, as well as the Economic Activities Classification (http://www.kik-info.com/useful_info/mod2013.php).

At what level is minimum wages determined at?

The minimum wage in Bulgaria is determined on national level. The determination of the minimum social insurance thresholds is based on the major occupational groups by economic activities.

Additionally on the base of Art. 2 par. 1 and 2 of the Regulation on other additional remuneration, social partners are allowed to negotiate additional and other wages (on sectoral and eEnterprise levels). In the CLAs can also be negotiated basic wages per occupational groups (Art. 5, par.2 of the Regulation).

On what basis is minimum wage calculated?

The minimum wage of 310 leva (158,50 EUR) is calculated on monthly basis (for standard 8-hour work day and 40-hour work week). On the base of the minimum monthly wage, is calculated the hourly wage of 1,85 leva (0,95 EUR) .

In case of weekly/monthly minimum age, are they based on any fixed number of hours?

Yes. The minimum monthly wage is decreed for standard 5-day work week and 8-hour work day.

Are governmental bodies, employer and/or trade union representatives involved in minimum wages setting?

The minimum wage in Bulgaria is officially set by the Council of the Ministers (Art. 244, Paragraph 1, Labour Code). However, social partners at national level are involved in the cooperation and consultation on employment related, including social insurance and living standard, issues, through the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation (Art 3, Labour Code). The National Council for Tripartite Cooperation discusses and gives opinion on draft regulations to the Council of Ministers. The decisions of the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation are provided to the Prime Minister (or another minister).

In the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation take part representatives of the nationally representative trade union confederations - the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) and the Confederation of Labour Podkrepa; and representatives of the nationally representative employer associations, currently – the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA), the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria (KRIB). Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI); Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA); Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA); Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria (KRIB); Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB); Confederation of Labour "Podkrepa".

How are upratings (adjustments) of minimum wage/s decided upon?

The Labour Code imposes the setting of a minimum wage as an obligation of the Council of Ministers. Thus, with a Decree, the Council of Ministers regularly determines the minimum monthly wage for the country and the period (after which) it should be updated.

The draft Decree is consulted with the nationally representative organizations of the trade unions and employers, according to the Rules of the Organization and Activity of the Councils of the Tripartite Cooperation. On the basis of a joint proposal from the Minister of labour and social policy and the Minister of finance, and after the consultations with the representatives of the trade unions and employers, the Council of Ministers may update the minimum wage. The National Council for Tripartite Cooperation discusses and gives opinion on employment related matters (incl. minimum wage), however has no legislative but consulting power.

Which are the components of minimum wage in Bulgaria?

The minimum wage for the country has only fixed component - it is the guaranteed minimum for the lowest paid employees, a basic wage for an employment service.

However, according the Regulation on the structure and organisation of the wage (last updated on 1 July 2012), the gross wage consists of: 1. Basic wage, determined in accordance with the current legislation and the applied system of payment; 2. Additional wage, determined by the Labour Code, the Regulation, Collective labour agreement, or other legislative act; 3. Other additional wages, determined by legislative act or in the individual labour contract, not included in par. 1 and 2.

How frequently is the fixed component of minimum wage updated?

According to the Labour Code, the determination and the update of the minimum wage is done regularly (frequency of the update is not specified in the respective Law). And the monitoring on the update of the minimum wage, in the last decade, shows it is done almost annually (in 2010, however, keeps the same rate), sometimes even twice a year (e.g. 2011, 2012). The minimum social insurance thresholds are updated each year.

How frequently are the variable components of minimum wage updated?

Currently, there is no Legislation/Regulation, specifying the mechanisms for the minimum wage determination and update.

In social-economic analysis on the policies of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, from 2011 (http://www.strategy.bg/FileHandler.ashx?fileId=1543), the lack of mechanism for determination of the minimum wage in the country is considered a weak aspect in the Ministry`s policies. Thus, in 2011, specific attention is given to the minimum wage and the mechanisms for its determination - the principles, the procedures, the terms and conditions for the setting and modifying (updating) the minimum wage in the country.

In 2012, a specialized working group was established to review the legislation in the field of negotiation and wage. The adverse economic circumstances and trends, however, influenced the positions of the social partners and after continuous discussions and negotiations in different formats an agreement on a specific mechanism for determining the minimum wage is not reached (http://www.mlsp.government.bg/bg/news/news.asp?newsid=2593&catid=12).

What is/are the yardstick/s on which minimum wage upratings are based?

Currently, there is no Legislation/Regulation, specifying the mechanisms for the minimum wage determination and update.

In social-economic analysis on the policies of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, from 2011 (http://www.strategy.bg/FileHandler.ashx?fileId=1543), the lack of mechanism for determination of the minimum wage in the country is considered a weak aspect in the Ministry`s policies. Thus, in 2011, specific attention is given to the minimum wage and the mechanisms for its determination - the principles, the procedures, the terms and conditions for the setting and modifying (updating) the minimum wage in the country.

In 2012, a specialized working group was established to review the legislation in the field of negotiation and wage. The adverse economic circumstances and trends, however, influenced the positions of the social partners and after continuous discussions and negotiations in different formats an agreement on a specific mechanism for determining the minimum wage is not reached (http://www.mlsp.government.bg/bg/news/news.asp?newsid=2593&catid=12).

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How is minimum wages compliance regulated?

According to Art. 399 of the Labour Code, the overall control and monitoring on the labour legislation (incl. wages), in all sectors and activities, is implemented by the Executive Agency of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy - the General Labour Inspectorate (GLI). Trade unions, however, have a signal function. According to Art. 406 (1) trade unions have the right to inform the supervisory authorities for violations of labour law and seek an administrative penalty for the guilty parties. There are also cases of joint control campaigns of the GLI and the trade unions; sometimes even with media participation.

Which legal sanctions can be applied in compliance is lacking?

According to Art. 412a of the Labour Code, violations of the labour legislation impose administrative penalties in the form of fines on individuals or legal entities.

Are sanctions often being applied?

Neither in the Labour Inspection Law, nor in the Plan of the activities of the General Labour Inspectorate (2008-2012), there is information on the frequency of control actions or sanctions applied.

Are employer and/or trade union representatives involved in compliance procedures?

Yes, the GLI cooperates both with trade unions and employer`s associations. With the nationally representative trade unions - the CITUB and PODKREPA CL - there is even Declaration of on the observance of the labour legislation.

To whom/Where can individuals complain, if they think they are earning less than minimum wage?

Signals of individuals on labour law (incl. wages) violations are usually referred to the GLI. The GLI, but also the Ministry of Labour and Social policy, have hot (telephone) lines for signals of violations. However, trade unions as representatives of workers employees have direct information and observation on employment related issues.

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