The Bulgarian government recently amended its Labour Code to extend paternity leave entitlements and introduce a right to flexible work arrangements for parents of young children and carers. The amendments align Bulgaria with the European Union Directive No. 2019/1158 on work-life balance for parents and carers. The amendments were published in the State Gazette and became effective on 1 August 2022.

Key details

Paternity leave

Previously, biological/ adoptive fathers were only entitled to 15 days of government-paid paternity leave, beginning once the child leaves the hospital. Under the enhanced legislation, fathers are now entitled to an additional two months of paid paternity leave which may be used until a child reaches eight years of age. Leave may be taken as a single block or multiple shorter periods, subject to a 10-day written request to the employer.

The total paternity leave entitlement is now two months and 15 days for employees. The 15 days of paternity leave remain payable at 90% of the insured person’s social security income and the contributions requirement is reduced from 12 months to 6 months of qualifying contributions, given the short leave period. The extended paternity leave of 2 months is paid by the National Social Security Institute and is equal to the statutory minimum wage (BGN 780 per month from 1 January 2023). To qualify for the 2-month extended paternity leave, fathers must have at least 12 months of qualifying contributions.

To qualify for the newly extended paternity leave, father employees are not allowed to use maternity leave or any other leave that was transferred to them by the other parent.

Flexible work arrangements for parents and carers

To support a better work/life balance, a framework has been established for eligible employees to request a temporary change in their employment conditions. Eligible employees include biological/adoptive parents of children under the age of eight and those caring for a parent/in-law, child, spouse, or sibling with a serious medical condition. Requests must be made in writing and may involve the duration of work (from full-time to part-time), the distribution of the working hours, a change to remote work, etc. The employer may refuse the request but must provide the employee with a reasoned written response within 14 days of receiving the employee’s request.

Decree No.217;jsessionid=515844A80313ED12814271D4A3832CEC?idMat=175303&_x_tr_sl=bg&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=op,sc

In collaboration with

Elena Filipova DipCII
Managing Director