Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure BG-2020-11/2708 – measures in Bulgaria
|Country||Bulgaria , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 13 March 2020 – 10 June 2022|
|Context||COVID-19, Restructuring Support Instruments|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g., short-time work)
|Author||Ekaterina Markova (IPS-Bas) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||23 June 2022 (updated 28 October 2022)|
The programme covers companies whose activities have been prohibited by restrictive measures related to COVID-19 and companies whose turnover decreased by 20% compared to the same period in 2019.
The list of industries that are not included in the first stage of the programme (13 March - 30 June 2020) are: agriculture, financial and insurance activities, government, education, human health and social work, households as employers, activities of extraterritorial organisations and services.
During the second stage of the programme (1 July - 30 September 2020), the measure focuses on hospitality industry, in particular seasonal workers. In comparison to the first stage, all workers in healthcare who do not have a contract with the National Health Insurance Fund may apply for compensations, including dentists. Nurseries, kindergartens and training centres may apply as well.
The third stage of 60/40 measure covers all sectors, excluding agriculture, forestry and fisheries, financial and insurance activities, general government, education, (except economic activities with code 85.10 - private sector, and code 85.5), human health and social work activities (except economic activities with code 86.23, code 86.90 and code 88.91 - private sector), activities of households as employers and activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies.
Since March 2020 the government covered 60% of the wages as well as the social security contributions of employees in sectors affected by the COVID-19 crisis who would otherwise have been dismissed. The government agency responsible for the approval of applications is the Employment Agency through its regional and local labour offices. The payment is done by the National Social Security Institute.
After 30 June 2020, employers can apply for subsidised employment when they hire new employees from the national unemployed register as well. The entire measure was first extended until 30 September 2020, and with a Council of Ministers' Decree dated 12 October 2020, it was extended by further three months until 31 December 2020. June 10, 2022 was the final deadline for employers to apply for Measure 60/40 funds.
Employers cannot dismiss employees for whom they receive subsidy while receiving the support; after the end of subsidy, the employer should keep the same employment level for a period equal to the welfare period from which they benefited. There were no requirements for the employers to have paid taxes and social and health insurance contributions for the current year, but they should be declared. Taxes due by the end of 2019 should have been paid.
For the hospitality industry compensations were paid for employees hired after 1 June 2020 based on contributory income for the respective job.
In addition to the 60/40 measure, starting on 1 July 2020 there are two additional schemes under the 'Human Resources Development Programme' where employers in tourism and passenger transport will be able to apply for both 60/40 and additional compensation of BGN 290 (€148). Since 1 July 2020, employers are also able to apply for the measure 'Employment for you' providing subsidies for hiring unemployed people for a period of 3 months whose wages (minimum wage) and social and health insurance contributions will be paid by the state. The latter will not be eligible for the 60/40 measure.
The total cost is estimated at BGN 1.5 billion (€770 million). For the period 13 March-29 June 2020 there were applications from nearly 18,000 employers accounting for almost 290,000 employees. During the entire period of the first stage of support about BGN 185.9 million (€95.8 million) were paid to 8,976 employers for a total of 171,655 employees. During the second stage, by 29 September 2020, nearly BGN 135 million (€69.05 million) were paid to 3,115 employers and 105,227 employees.
The measure 60/40 has supported almost 12,000 employers and saved the jobs of over 265,000 employees as of February 2, 2021. More than BGN 807.3 million have been paid out, according to a report of the National Social Insurance Institute (NSI). The expenditures and budget transfers made in the period 1 January - 28 February 2022 to employers to maintain the employment of their employees (measure 60/40) amounted to BGN 70 265 942. The measure supported 3,211 employers and 69,700 employees. The overall coverage of the measure up to February 2022 is 329,291 employees and 13,581 employers, according to NSI report in 2022.
The COVID-19 measure 'income support for workers' was extended three times - the second time as of 12 October - end of 2020. The last stage of the measure lasts until July 2022. Some employers argued that they had to halt all their operations and could not profit from the 60/40 measure, since they could not cover their part of the workers' remunerations due to low or absent revenue.
Employees in standard employment
||Applies to all businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Public employment service
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
Eurofound (2022), COVID - 19: Income support for workers, measure BG-2020-11/2708 (measures in Bulgaria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/BG-2020-11_2708.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.