Bulgaria’s Leap to Electronic Food Vouchers

Bulgaria is currently undergoing a substantial transition from traditional paper-based food vouchers to the modernized realm of electronic equivalents. Over time, many employers in Bulgaria have extended food vouchers as an additional benefit to their employees, complementing their monthly salaries. These vouchers have been paper based, necessitating physical delivery, signatures, and meticulous record-keeping procedures. This conventional approach posed challenges for both employers and chain stores, prompting a demand for a more efficient and contemporary solution. In response to these challenges, recent amendments to the State budget have paved the way for a significant transformation – the migration from paper to electronic food vouchers.

This transition will begin next year, with a seven-month period which both paper and electronic vouchers will coexist. Employers will be given the flexibility to opt for the most suitable type for their employees, with the electronic format offering distinct advantages. 

The electronic food vouchers, available in cards or fully mobile/virtual form, will mark a departure from the cumbersome paper-based system. During the transitional period, employers will have the option to choose either format for their employees, but after the designated timeframe, only electronic vouchers will be utilized. Notably, paper meal vouchers will still be valid until their expiration after this transition period. 

Electronic vouchers will bring a range of benefits, both for employers and employees. They can be easily managed and distributed through electronic channels, such as mobile apps or online platforms, eliminating the need for physical handling, storage, and accounting associated with paper vouchers.

Electronic vouchers can only be employed within Bulgaria in a network of contracted chain stores POS terminals or online. Τhey cannot be used for cash withdrawals at ATMs, nor for the purchase of cigarettes or alcohol. Furthermore, these electronic vouchers fall within the tax and social security exemptions, offering an added financial advantage of up to BGN 200 per month per employee under the social program terms. 

In conclusion, Bulgaria’s recent shift to electronic food vouchers signifies a progressive step in modernizing employee benefits. The transition from paper to electronic vouchers not only streamlines the distribution process but also introduces practical advantages for both employers and employees. The implementation of this electronic system, effective from January 1, 2024, is poised to enhance efficiency, reduce administrative burdens, and contribute to a more environmentally friendly and technologically advanced approach in the realm of employee benefits in the country. 

For further information, feel free to contact our office in Sofia at sofia@eurofast.eu 

Eurofast Sofia Editing Team
Eurofast Sofia