Hire employees
and contractors in Bulgaria

Remote’s guide to employing in Bulgaria.

Capital city
Sofia
Currency
Bulgarian Lev(BGN)
Population size
6,912,730 (2021)
Language spoken
Bulgarian
01

Facts & stats

Bulgaria is a country in Southeast Europe with Romania, Serbia and North Macedonia, Greece, and Turkey as its bordering countries. Its capital and largest city is Sofia while other major cities include Plovdiv, Varna, and Burgas.

Bulgaria is a founding state of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and is a member of NATO, the European Union, and the Council of Europe. The country's economy revolves around services industries, in addition to mining and agriculture. Even though Bulgaria has the lowest GDP per capita and joint-lowest Human Development Index in the European Union, it is a developing country with an upper-middle-income economy.

Bulgaria Map
  • Capital city
    Sofia
  • Currency
    Bulgarian Lev (BGN)
  • Language spoken
    Bulgarian
  • Population size
    6,912,730 (Mar 7 2021)
  • Ease of doing business
    Easy (2020)
  • Cost of living index
    40.92 (2021)
  • Payroll frequency
    Monthly
  • VAT - standard rate
    20%
  • GDP - real growth rate
    3.7% (2019)
02

Grow your team in Bulgaria with Remote

Employing in Bulgaria requires employers to own a legal entity in the country and manage payroll, tax, benefits and compliance through their own in-country resources. The complex nature of employment law in Bulgaria makes full compliance with employment laws a tricky task to manage without in-country support.

Through Remote’s Global Employer of Record solution, your Bulgarian team members can be employed by our local legal entity. Any other globally distributed employees can be employed through Remote’s owned entities across the world. We take care of payroll, tax, benefits and compliance so you can focus on what matters most - your people.

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Bulgaria risks illustration

Risks of misclassification

Bulgaria, like many other countries, treats self-employed individuals or contractors and full-time employees differently. Misclassification of contractors in Bulgaria may lead to fines and penalties for the offending company.

03

Employing in Bulgaria

Companies that are looking to hire people in Bulgaria must ensure they have a deep understanding of the Bulgarian Labour Code. Legislation in Bulgaria is also closely linked to the labour laws of the European Union. Companies that are looking to employ people in Bulgaria must understand the specific Bulgarian laws around equal pay for men and women, the limitations of overtime, bans on workplace discrimination, and the specific legislative requirements of managing sick leave for Bulgarian employees.

Common questions that could come up during the hiring process may be about overtime rates, health insurance, and parental leave. Remote can help you offer a complete, competitive, and compliant benefits package to your employees in Bulgaria.

Public holidays

Date Holiday Name Extra information
New Year’s Day
Bulgaria Liberation Day
Good Friday (Eastern)
Labour Day
Orthodox Easter
Orthodox Easter Monday
Saint George's Day (Eastern)
Day of Slavonic Alphabet, Bulgarian Enlightenment and Culture
Slavonic Literature and Culture Day
Unification Day
Independence Day
Eastern Orthodox Christmas Eve
Eastern Orthodox Christmas
2nd Day of Christmas (Eastern)
Minimum
Wage

From January 2021, the minimum working salary and monthly social security income were increased from BGN 610 to BGN 650. The maximum monthly social security income remains at BGN 3,000.

Payroll
Cycle

Salaries in Bulgaria are paid mid-month for the previous month. For example, salaries for April are paid in mid-May.

Onboarding
Time
We can help you get a new employee started in Bulgaria fast. The minimum onboarding time we need is only 17 working days.

Our team ensures your employees are onboarded and paid as quickly as possible while keeping your business compliant with all local employment legislation. The minimum onboarding time begins after the employee submits all required information onto the Remote platform. The onboarding timeline is also dependent upon registration with local authorities.

For all non-nationals of the country of employment, the Right to Work assessment (if applicable) will add three extra days to the total time to onboard. There may be extra time required if we need to follow-up on the right to work assessment.

Please note, payroll cut-off dates can impact the actual first day of employment. Remote has a payroll cut-off date of the 10th of the month unless otherwise specified.

04

Competitive benefits package in Bulgaria

Beyond providing your employees with all statutory benefits in Bulgaria, Remote can help you create a custom benefits package for your Bulgarian team.

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05

Taxes in Bulgaria

Learn how employment taxes and statutory fees affect your payroll and your employees’ paychecks in Bulgaria.

The following statutory benefits are made as employment deductions through payroll:
  • Employer

    • 10.92% - State Social Insurance contributions (disability, disease, maternity, old age pension)
    • 2.80% - Supplementary Compulsory Pension Insurance
    • 4.80% - Healthcare contributions (mandatory medical insurance)
    • 0.4-1.1% - Accident at Work and Occupational Diseases Fund
    • The contributions to the State Insurance System are based on the gross salary of the employee, but the total is limited to a monthly maximum of BGN 3,000 as of 2020.
  • Employee payroll taxes

    • 8.38% - State Social Insurance contributions (disability, disease, maternity, old age pension)
    • 2.20% - Supplementary Compulsory Pension Insurance
    • 3.20% - Healthcare contributions (mandatory medical insurance)
  • Employee income taxes

    • 10% flat rate (personal income tax is taken from the gross salary minus all contributions)
06

Types of leave

Statutory
leave

In Bulgaria, four weeks of leave is granted every year. It is also interesting to note that in the scenario where a public holiday falls on a weekend, the following Monday becomes a paid holiday.

Pregnancy and
maternity leave

Expecting mothers are entitled to 58 weeks at 90% pay. 45 days of maternity leave is usually taken before the birth of a child. With the mother's consent, when the child reaches six months, the leave can be transferred to the father for the rest of the period.

Partner/Paternity
leave

In Bulgaria, paternity leave is for 2 weeks with 90% pay.

Parental
leave

The parental leave is for 104 weeks out of which there will be a flat-rate of income fixed for 52 weeks while the remaining period will be unpaid leave.

Other
leave

The employer pays 70% of the basic income for the first three days of illness or general injury. Social Security provides 80% of the basic income from the fourth day of sickness until full recovery.

The employee needs to provide a sickness leave document from a medical practitioner within 2 days of issue and the employer must register this document to the authorities. The doctor is also responsible for sending a separate document to the authorities.

According to the Bulgarian legislation the employer has an obligation to maintain a sick leave register and keep the sick leave documents presented by employees for a period of three years. The documents have to be kept in their original form. This data must be submitted to the National Social Security Institute (NSSI) and the deadline for this reporting is the 10th date of the following month after the sick leave documents are presented by the employee.

07

Employment
termination

Termination process

In Bulgaria, there are various laws to be followed by both employers and employees in the case of a termination. For example, if there is a mutual agreement between the parties to terminate the employment contract, it is easily dealt with, by communicating it in writing. However, if the employee is part of a union, then the employer will have to take permission from the union before terminating the employee.

Employers face significant complexity managing any form of termination, as there are so many specific types of terminations specifically outlined in the labour code and other employment laws.

Potential reasons for terminations:

  • closing the enterprise, in which the individual is employed, or of a part of the enterprise
  • reduction of the number of working positions
  • decrease of workload
  • discontinuation of work by the employing enterprise for more than 15 business days
  • lack of capacity of the employee for effective performance of his/her labour duties
  • lack of professional qualification or required educational background, necessary for effective performance of the labour duties
  • refusal of the employee to relocate to another location together with the enterprise, in which the employee works
  • change of the requirements for performance of the labour duties inherent to the position, provided that the employee fails to meet these requirements
  • the employee has become entitled to retire on old age pension; or upon attainment of the age of 65 in the case of professors, associate professors or persons holding a doctoral degree (with some exceptions)
  • if the employee has been granted a pension for contributory service and retirement age in a reduced amount in accordance with the Social Insurance Code
  • if the employment relationship has arisen after the employee has acquired and exercised his right to old age pension
  • if the employment relationship has arisen after the employee has been granted a contributory service and retirement age pension in a reduced amount in accordance with the Social Insurance Code
  • objective impossibility for performance by the employee
  • if the position has to be vacated for an employee who was reinstated in the position after having been unlawfully dismissed
  • execution of an agreement for assignment of management with registered directors of the employing entity (in the latter case an employer is entitled to terminate employment agreements only with managerial personnel; this right lapses upon the expiry of nine months from the commencement of the agreement for assignment of management)

Notice period

In Bulgaria, the notice period is usually 30 days. However, the employer and employee can negotiate a longer duration (up to 90 days) in some cases.

Severance pay

There is no statutory severance pay unless in the following scenarios:

  • Termination of employment due to an illness: In this case, for an employee with at least 5 years of service, 2 months' gross remuneration must be paid as severance
  • Termination after the employee is eligible for a pension: In this case, 2 months of pay as severance (or) 6 months of pay for a job tenure of >= 10 years
  • Termination because of downsizing or closing down the company: One month of severance must be paid

Probation periods

In Bulgaria, the probation period cannot exceed 6 months.

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