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Work in Bulgaria

Trends of Work Market

Bulgaria belongs to the poorest countries in Europe. Although economics have recovered from hard crisis of 1996 and is on the way of increase (2007: + 11, 8 %), however Bulgarian average earnings belong to the lowest in Europe. With an economic increase has been also decreasing unemployment in previous four years very markedly: from 14, 3 % in yearly average of 2003 to7,0 % in yearly average of 2007.

Traditionally, there are most important economic countries in the south and south-west with the capital of Sofia; there you will find best work opportunities. Sofia has reached by the quota of unemployment approximately 2,5 % almost full employment. Unemployment in the northwest and southwest is far ahead above the whole average of the country. It is the highest in the autonomous district Targovishte with a proportion of about 21 %. There suffer from unemployment people over 55 years old and low-qualified such as younger workers and high-qualified with finished professional education.

Among the most important economic branches belong chemical industry, food-processing industry, food processing, tobacco industry, steel industry, textile, glass and pottery industry, coal mining, steel making, energy economic as well as engineering and tourist trade. Agriculture in used to be agricultural state has lost such high rate of employment, however there still work above-average number of people compared to other European countries (on the whole 7,8 % employers). In industrial branch there is a high proportion of employees, on the whole 34,2 %, which makes it European above the average. However, most of the people work in the direct services.

However, as an accelerating engine undoubtedly works private sector of economy. In 2006 there were created 100.056 new berths - as a whole 1/5 berths in the country. Mainly production industry (textiles, groceries, tobacco) recruited new employees. A lot of berths have been occupied in the trade and service enterprises as well as in agriculture and building industry.

With a technical progress increase needs for qualified workers; there are still prevailing berths requiring low qualification and workers without professional education. The reason for this is very slow modernizing process in separate economic branches.

There is a great demand for technicians, professionals and nurses in Bulgaria. Good chances have qualified official workers with a good knowledge of foreign languages (in particular English).

Foreign employers employ mainly specialists and leading work force in the branches of building industry, telecommunications and energetics in Bulgaria.

Access to the Employment Market

German citizens can travel to Bulgaria with their identity card or a passport if they want to stay there to the limit of 3 months. Those EU citizens, who would plan to stay longer, which means to work, study or live there have to sign on Police Office, to get the permission to stay. EU citizens do not need a work permit. You can register at employment agency (employment agency), at the place of your stay, where you will obtain in-person action plan for looking for a job. Alternatively, you can make use of a private service intermediary.

The Cost of Living

The cost of living in Bulgaria is on the whole lower than in Germany; import of goods, quality accommodation or German speaking school classes can increase the costs. Prices in the capital of Sofia and tourist cities during the season are certainly higher than in smaller towns. International network of supermarkets such as Metro or Bill has representation in many bigger cities and their goods cost the same everywhere.

Bulgaria with an average wages of 170 EUR per month is far at the back of wages scale EU countries. Legally stated wages are 90 EUR per month. At private entrepreneurs it can be 500 EUR per month. There also exist collective agreements, which are not obligatory, though. Enterprises or government send their citizens yearly from Western Europe to Bulgaria a thus they earn according to the conditions of the visiting country. Extraordinary monthly quittances in an amount of monthly salary in Bulgaria are paid daily. In the private economy enterprises have their own bonus system. Big enterprises and public employers provide with company-owned vehicle or company-owned mobile phone, especially for officers or for workers abroad.

IT-Specialist - 615 €
Salesman - 400-770 €
Officer - 200-250 €
Doctor - 200-250 €
Nurse - 100-150 €
Clerk - 100-150 €
Shop Assistant - 100-200 €
Electrician - 150-200 €

Social Transfer Payments and Taxes

If you remain behind in Bulgaria more than half a year, you have to tax your earnings. Get informed in time in a Tax Office or at tax counselor at the place of your stay, alternatively at the place of your work, which laws may be applied on you.

Income up to the cost of 1.230 EUR yearly is not taxed. Income above this cost is taxed in three levels within the limits from 20 to 24 %. Social transfer payments are excluded from taxes.

If you work 40 or more hours per month you have to pay a social insurance tax. For employes it means about 12,4 % of income (pension insurance, health insurance, and unemployment insurance; casualty insurance reimbursed by an employer only).

Work and Renewal Option

Work agreement has to be done in written. In general you should be careful, whether it contains following points: Name and address of contract partner, kind and activity, salary and extras, description of work position and working time (limited or unlimited duration), lengths of notice and terms, yearly holiday and other agreements.

Probation can be agreed up to 6 months, if it was not agreed otherwise, during this time both sides can determine relation immediately without a length of notice. Then it is held: After mutual agreement the contract can be determined any time; if it be to the contrary, for the contract with unlimited duration there is a length of notice for 3 months. Notice of cancellation has to be underwritten in persona.

Working time is 40 hours per week of 5 days in a week at public (state) employers; at private employers you are supposed to work usually for 6 days a week and more than 40 hours. Extra time work is paid by extra payment (extras) or balanced with a holiday; however they are limited to 30 hours per month. Youngsters, pregnant women and mothers with children younger than 6 years old must not perform extra time work. Workers on night shifts have 35-hor working time.

Employees have a right to legally stated paid holiday at least 20 working days per year. Holiday may be drawn up to the half of the following year, if the employer agrees with this. Apart from this, there belong 11 legally stated public holidays.

Employees have paid employability owing to illness in the sum of 80% their salary (90% if the illness or injury has been caused by work process). However, an employee has to fulfill request of paying social insurance tax for previous 6 months, he or she has the right to require refund of wages while employability. The unemployed, who have paid for the previous 15 months at least for 9 months social insurance tax, get unemployment contribution. This makes amounts 60% of earnings in the last month, however at least 46 EUR and to the limit of 82EUR per month. It is paid according to the length of time, during which an employee has been paying social insurance tax within the limits from 4 to 12 months.

For solving of conflicts between an employer and employee there have been found General Work Inspectorate.

Social Insurance

States of European Union and European economic interspaces have stated keeping certain rules, with which keeping and transformation of rights in the field of social security is guaranteed. They refer to dues of health insurance, pension insurance, unemployment insurance and family allowances. Notice states, that employer does not suffer disadvantage because he has been employed in various membership countries: neither social insurance tax must be lost, obtained rights must be protected and every country is obliged to pay pensions, which refer to there spent time of insurance. More detailed information and useful web links about social security you will find on web sites of European Commission (searching term “EUlisses”).

When you arrive ...

For legal insurants copy of European identity card is quite sufficient, so they can undergo medical treatment abroad in the case of accident or sudden illness. European identity card is valid in all EU countries, as well as in Norway, Island, Lichtenstein and Switzerland. Those who have been insured privately before they leave have to conclude private health insurance with their health insurance company which will be valid for 12 months and only lump-sum will be paid.

When you work ...

As soon as you sign work contract, you yield to national system and local legal regulations at the same time. As for insurance, you have to be insured in the country where you are working. From so-called principle of working activity in inland there also exceptions exist. If an employee is send by their employer on temporary residence in another country, to work there for the business, this employer is due to pay insurance in his own country. From this are possible some other exceptions.

If you take children with you ...

There is a very good network of nursery schools in Bulgaria, of course only from three years old. On the other hand it is much more difficult to find babysitting for younger children especially in smaller towns.

Children fewer than three can attend children nursery school in Bulgaria, for younger children there are crèches. Costs are approximately 13 EUR per month for whole day care of a child including breakfast and lunch; this is firmly stated by law every year. Alternatively, there are private baby-sitters in bigger cities.

Children from 7 to 16 are of school age. On web site you can find information about Bulgarian school system. There is a private German school in Sofia, which offers education from nursery school up to the eighth form, as well as Bulgarian Grammar school, which teaches several subjects in German from the ninth form up to school leaving exams. In the rest of the country there are a lot of schools which offer several classes in German language. You will find addresses on websites of German embassy in Sofia ( For children from EU, who live in the country there are free of charge courses in Bulgarian language.

Children’s allowance is paid on minor children who have at least one parent of Bulgarian nationality. Apart from this neither member of the family can earn more than 102 EUR. Children’s allowance is 10 EUR per month per one child. Families with children who have Bulgarian nationality can also apply for higher nontaxable sum on taxes.

Female employees get 135 days of maternity leave, from which they have to draw 45 days before the baby is due. During maternity leave they get maternity allowance 90% of their previous earnings. After the end of maternity leave women or men or one of grand parent can take a maternity leave for bringing up for two more years for bringing up first three children. In this time the cost of nurse allowance 92 EUR monthly. After parental leave a father or a mother can go on an unpaid holiday up to 6 months - until the child is 8 years old.

Consulting about child care and family allowances in Bulgaria you will get from EURES-consultants in Bulgaria. Addresses and phone numbers you will find on (EURES Advisors)

Source: Central Foreign and Professional Intermediation(CFPI)
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