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Factsheet for measure BG-2020-47/1684 Updated – measures in Bulgaria

Supporting unpaid workers

Подпомагане на работниците в неплатен отпуск

Country Bulgaria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 19 November 2020 – 30 June 2022
Context COVID-19
Type Tripartite agreements
Category Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g., short-time work)
Author Tsetomila Sabcheva and Luboslav Kostov (Citub)
Measure added 08 January 2021 (updated 01 April 2023)

Background information

The state will pay for no more than 60 days compensation to workers who are on unpaid leave for businesses closed by order. If the working day lasts for 8 hours, the employee will receive €12 per day for the period of unpaid leave, and if he is part-time, the amount of compensation is determined proportionally.

Content of measure

Employees will provide their employer with a written declaration in a form indicating the period for using unpaid leave and a bank account to which the money will be paid. Applications are submitted to the Labour Office Directorate, and the commission examines the documents within 10 working day.

The maximum period for compensation will be two months, and the ceiling of the compensation - €720. It will be paid directly to the employee within 5 working days, after approval of the submitted application. Another necessary condition is that the unpaid leave be in the period from 29 October to 31 December this year. In case the employee is part-time, the assistance will be determined in proportion to what is agreed in the employment contract.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

21 February 2023

Unpaid leave under the Labour Code taken in 2020 at the request of the employee shall be counted as length of service up to 90 working days. Up to 90 working days of unpaid leave will be recognised as length of service and health insurance entitlements will be uninterrupted in 2021. This will enable people to acquire and retain insurance rights (to pension, maternity, unemployment, sickness benefits) for a longer period of time. People on unpaid leave will not lose pension rights because of a break in service. Workers must pay health insurance contributions of 26 BGN per month to avoid losing their health insurance rights while on unpaid leave. One of the payment options is with part of the funds received under the "Keep Me" programme.

14 October 2021

Following a Council of Ministers Decree adopted on 14 October 2021, the support measure has been extended until the end of June 2022. Both employees from closed companies under a state act and self-insured people can benefit from the measure. The monthly compensation given to the eligible candidates equals 75% of the insurance income.

Use of measure

The measure concerns all workers who have remained on unpaid leave as a result of the declared emergency epidemic situation and the partial lockdown, which was introduced in Bulgaria on 01 December 2020.

Under the measure, the greatest support will be given to those employed in bars, taverns, wineries, pubs, cafés, language centres, etc. Employees of companies for organizing congresses and conferences, seminars, competitions, trainings and other public events will also have the right to compensation.


  • Employment retention
  • Income protection

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Employers' organisations
Company / Companies
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


All social partners, who are national representatives, participated in the negotiations and elaboration of the measure. It was discussed with them several times, including during a special extraordinary meeting of the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation. The measure was supported, but with a lot of conditionality and insistence on clearing several definitive problems.

Views and reactions

The social partners supported the government's new project in principle, but made suggestions and comments. The proposal is for workers on unpaid leave to receive €12 per day from the sites closed by an order of the Minister of Health or another state body. More than 32,500 people will benefit from the new aid, the government predicts. The funds for the compensations will be provided under OP HRD through the financial mechanism REACT-EU and will amount to €25,000,000.

On this issue, both unions and businesses believe that the so-called temporary unemployment must be regulated by law, not temporary solutions sought. Business and trade unions insist that the issue of the so-called "temporary" or technical unemployment, instead of looking for instant solutions. This will make it clear to which companies measures to support economic crises will be applied.

Social partners approved the extension of the measure in 2022 on a regular meeting within the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation held on 1 October 2021.


  • 19 November 2020: Служителите ще получават по 24 лв. на ден (
  • 27 November 2020: Заповед към ПМС 325 на МС от 27.11.2020 г. (
  • 01 October 2021: Удължават мерките „60 на 40“ и „Запази ме +“ (обзор) (
  • 01 October 2021: Мерките „60/40“ и „Запази ме“ ще бъдат удължени (
  • 14 October 2021: ПРОЕКТ „ЗАПАЗИ МЕ +” (


Eurofound (2021), Supporting unpaid workers , measure BG-2020-47/1684 (measures in Bulgaria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.