Bulgaria: Signals on Irregularities aims to inform you what you can do if you feel your employee rights are not respected. When working in Bulgaria it is important that you are treated right. Your employer is required to uphold the labour law for each individual employee. Should it happen that you feel treated unfair or not according labour regulations there are things you can do.
We advice that you first check your employee contract, this is your first reference to check what your rights and duties are. See with your employer that your rights are respected. Compare with colleagues how they feel about the situation. Also in Bulgaria the EU Labour Laws are in place, however we have seen employers profit in the margin. You are an asset to your employer and for this you desserve respect.
After you agree to a contract with an employer. The contract is the base for your future work relation. Make sure you understand the clauses in the contract, if anything is unclear, ask before signing! After the contract habit in your work will be included in this relation. With habit we mean, if for example you always work 8:00-16:30, this becomes habit and therefore a right. In other words habit is based on what is common or repetitive in your regular work situation. And this is important to keep in mind:
ANY CHANGE in CONTRACT or HABIT requires a 3-DAY WRITTEN NOTICE for YOUR CONSENT!
You are not obliged to consent (agree) with any proposed change. No=No and your opinion is protected by law. In case you do not approve of the change, you write ‘read for taking notice’ or ‘no consent’.
Some pointers to observe
> Employers are not allowed to register (eg. sound recording) your intake interview. However a candidate can do this.
> Change of Contract or Habit: 3 days in advance a written request for your consent.
> Financial/monetary pressure, punishment and/or wage/bonus deduction in any form is illegal.
> Any form of bonus should be related to the result of your individual input.
> Do not accept pressure or intimidation by your employer/manager: this is harassment.
> Be careful accepting outside work-related phone calls.
> Employers like to squeeze pennies: be very careful accepting tasks not listed in your contract.
> Equal Pay for Equal Work: Everybody with the same job description needs to be paid equal.
> Consult the Bulgaria Labour Code if you have concerns, or write us for more information!
An irregularity that is often overlooked, but could be good to take note of: Employers like to make publicity for their company. For this they use for example a Facebook page. Keep in mind that nobody has the right to publish any picture of you on any outside (social) media without your specific permission.
Strange but not an irregularity
In many labour contracts in Bulgaria you get a little raise for every extra year of employment. Some companies express this in a percentage. It has come to our attention that these percentages often are lower than the national inflation rate. In other words: you would loose money working longer for a company.
In any relation: Give and Take within reason, do what you are supposed to do and do it well. You should not have any problems!
Reporting your Employer for Irregularities
If you feel your employer is unreasonable and you cannot come to reason between each other, you can report your employer to the Labour Inspection. Follow the link underneath and fill out the form. Note: reporting your employer to the Labour Inspectorate is a pretty severe measure. Only do this when you have proof and if possible as a collective.
What will happen after you report your employer? To be honest we are not sure if this reporting function of the Bulgarian government works. However if you feel you are not taken seriously, we can assist you with contacts in Brussels within the EU.