Factsheet for case BG-2020-15/496 – Updated – measures in Bulgaria
|Country||Bulgaria , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 05 April 2020 – 31 October 2020|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Income protection beyond short-time work
– Income support for unemployed
|Author||Tsetomila Sabcheva and Luboslav Kostov (Citub) and Eurofound|
|Case created||12 April 2020 (updated 23 September 2020)|
A new opportunity for registered unemployed individuals to sign temporary labour contracts with agriculture producers without losing their unemployment benefits has been approved by the Bulgarian government. The new amendment gives a legal right to an unemployed person to receive unemployment benefits from the state and at the same time work at a rural stop and take a salary from there.
According to unofficial information, the Ministry of Agriculture is also discussing the possibility of workers in enterprises that have been introduced to reduced working hours due to the coronavirus crisis and are being compensated under the 60/40 scheme , to be able to start additional work in agriculture.
People receiving unemployment or social assistance benefits can earn additional income from seasonal work in agriculture without losing their entitlement to state support. Those who are currently on unpaid leave can also sign a second employment contract without permission from their primary employer. These are the two approved measures that, at the threshold of the active season in agriculture, should divert employees to this sector.
Amendments to the Emergency Legislation adopted in April 2020 introduce the possibility for farmers to conclude temporary employment contracts similar to one-day contracts to hire employees for activities such as harvesting. The key change in this case is that the conclusion of such contracts would not affect the receipt of unemployment benefits or social benefits by employees, which in previous years was a serious obstacle to securing seasonal workers on the field.
Currently, there is also no limit to the length of time that employees can work under the second employment contract while on unpaid leave.
The Bulgarian employment agency, operating for the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, estimated that of nearly 100,000 unemployed registered at the labour offices in the country since 13 March 2020 (date of introducing COVID-19 measures), 1,637 people have expressed interest in working in agriculture. They account for 1.6% of the unemployed force. In April 2020, 97 employers announced 1,304 open vacancies for agricultural workers.
Between January 2020 and June 2020, more than 73,000 one-day contracts have been registered with 564 farmers, who grow mainly vines, apples and lavender. Another 66 farmers have applied for 2,500 contracts for more than one day for 29,500 man-days to work, mainly for harvesting the rose.
To support the contracting, the employment agency, issued an online contracting portal.
Sector specific set of companies
||Does not apply to citizens|
Social partners jointly
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
The measure was thoroughly consulted with the representatives of the workers in the agriculture sector in Bulgaria.
Representatives of the agricultural sector hope that this measure will support the employment in the sector, as it is usually hard to find seasonal workers.
|Economic area||Sector (NACE level 2)|
|A - Agriculture, Forestry And Fishing||A1 Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities|
|A2 Forestry and logging|
|A3 Fishing and aquaculture|
|Occupation (ISCO level 2)|
|Agricultural, forestry and fishery labourers|
Eurofound (2020), COVID-19: Unemployed can take seasonal work in agriculture without loss of benefits, case BG-2020-15/496 (measures in Bulgaria), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch
Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.