New Bulgarian legislation introduces requirement for employment of people with disabilities

Bulgarian companies with staff exceeding 50 employees are obliged to open workplaces for people with disabilities, as per the new Disability Act which has entered in force as of 1st January 2019.

In order to ensure the employment of people with permanent disabilities in the normal working environment, the legislator has foreseen that employers with personnel headcount ranging from 50 to 99 employees are required to provide work for at least one person with permanent disabilities. Employers with 100 or more employees and workers are required to provide work to people with permanent disabilities; in a number equal to two per cent of their current headcount (eg. a company employing 100 employees must provide work to at least 2 employees with permanent disabilities). Work positions established under Art. 315 of the Labor Code are not taken into account when calculating the quota.

In order to meet its quota for recruitment of employees and workers with permanent disabilities, the employers follow a procedure whereby they inform the territorial divisions of the Employment Agency about the vacancies, the required employee profiles, the necessary qualification and professional skills. Within three months of being notified, the employer is required to employ people with permanent disabilities who meet the requirements for employment at the workplace.

Under the law, persons with permanent disabilities are defined to include “persons with permanent physical, mental, intellectual and sensory impairment who may impede their full and effective participation in public life and to whom the medical expertise has established a degree of disability of 50 and over 50 per cent.”

In case of non-compliance with the obligation, the employer will be liable to pay a monthly compensation contribution in amount of 30% of the minimum wage for each vacancy for a person with permanent disability which has not been fulfilled.

It is worth noting that the General Labor Inspectorate may decide to exempt employers from this obligation provided there are specific factors in the working environment which prevent the recruitment of people with permanent disabilities or in case of an absence of persons with permanent disabilities directed by the Labor Office Directorates or by Labor intermediaries. Employers who apply alternative employment measures to people with permanent disabilities will also be exempt from this obligation.

We advise companies with a headcount of 50 or above to seek professional advice in making sure they are compliant with the new legislation.

Nelly Parvanova
Head of Accounting & Payroll

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