On 10 October 2023, the Bulgarian parliament adopted new amendments to the Labour Code, which introduces the unified electronic employment record as part of the digital employment register that will be maintained by the National Revenue Agency (NRA). When these Labour Code amendments go into force on 1 June 2025, paper employment records books will be a thing of the past in Bulgaria.
Currently, all employees must have paper employment record books, which certify their employment history, including date of commencement and termination of employment, position held, base remuneration, and length of labour service. It is the employer’s obligation to keep the employees’ record books up-to-date and make entries. An employer’s failure to fulfil the obligations concerning the employment record book may result in financial sanctions and payment of compensation to the employees.
In addition, the employment record book is crucial for verification of the employee’s length of labour service for the purposes of retirement and calculating the statutory additional remuneration for professional experience and length of service.
In view of the above, digitalisation of the employment record books will allow for easier verification of the information, more secure record keeping and reduced problems related to retirement.
What information must be entered in the unified electronic employment record?
The NRA will keep a digital employment register made up of the unified electronic employment records of all employees. Basically, the information that must be recorded in the unified electronic employment record coincides with the data on the conclusion, amendment, and termination of the employment contracts that employers already enter into the paper employment record book and submit to the NRA. In addition to this information, employers should record additional data, such as:
- the amount of paid annual paid leave as agreed upon under the employment contract and the days used from the paid annual leave, which is due for the year of termination of employment, thus enabling another employer who hires the employee in the same calendar year to properly calculate the days of paid annual leave to which the employee will be entitled;
- compensations paid under Art. 222, para. 2 and para. 3 of the Labour Code (for termination of the employment due to illness and for acquired right to a retirement pension) – since employees are entitled to receive such compensations only once, it is crucial for employers to gain information whether their employees have already obtained these compensations.
In addition to the above, the current notification procedure under Art. 62, para. 3 of the Labour Code will be replaced by an obligation for the employers to make entries in the digital employment register related to the conclusion, amendment, and termination of employment contracts. Further details will be subject to a separate Ordinance, which the Council of Ministers must adopt by 1 June 2024.
Who will have access to the unified electronic employment record?
All employees will have online access to their electronic employment record.
Access will also be provided to employers who will be able to see the information they have submitted and information entered by previous employers (except for the amount of the salary and the compensations paid).
As the body keeping the digital employment register, the NRA will have access to all electronic employment records. The NRA can allow online access to the Labour Inspectorate, the National Statistical Institution, and other authorities for the fulfilment of their legal obligations.
What obligations do employers have in replacement of the paper labour books?
As of 1 June 2025, all employers will make records in the unified electronic employment records of their employees and forego the use of paper employment record books. The law, however, provides a transition period (i.e. 1 June 2025 to 1 June 2026). During this period all paper employment record books must be executed in accordance with the current statutory requirements by indicating the length of service until 1 June 2025.
For more information on the implementation of electronic employment records and labour law in Bulgaria, contact your CMS client partner or our local CMS experts: Eva Petrova and Nadya Chukova.