New rules for employee’s business trips

New rules for employee’s business trips

We all know that the rules on business trips under the Bulgarian law have been amended as this matter has been all over the news. Most certainly, the main accent is on the financial aspects of the legislative changes. The minimum amount of the daily allowances in cases of business trips within the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria has been doubled and is now BGN 20 if the employee is relocated only for the day. If the employee has to spend the night in the location of the business trip, the minimum amount is BGN 40 per day.

The government also increased the minimum amount of the daily allowances when employees are sent on a business trip abroad. All amounts are now defined in euro, regardless of the destination. The amounts for the accommodation expenses have also been increased. Also, a new rule was introduced that there are no limits on the accommodation expenses if they cover amounts that have been actually paid.

Those changes are just on the surface, there are some more, especially for business trips in Bulgaria. The most useful amendment is the one that allows employers to issue business trip orders as electronic documents and not on paper, if the requirements for electronic identification are met.  Yet, this change raises questions as the government has not taken into consideration one already existing special legal act – the Ordinance on the requirements for the creation and retention of electronic documents in the employee’s labor dossier, as adopted in 2018. The latter explicitly stipulates that the parties to the employment agreement shall agree to receive binding electronic communication. In that case, one would wonder if employees have to agree on the use of electronic business trip orders in Bulgaria.

Both ordinances bear the same judicial weigh and are issued by the same authority – the Bulgarian Council of Ministers. Therefore, the provision to be applied should be the one that has been adopted at a later moment and is respectively the more up-to-date one. So, the employee’s consent to receive electronic business trip orders is not required. Yet, the Labor Inspection may differ in its interpretation, we will wait and see.

If employers decide to continue sending their employees on business trips in Bulgaria with standard orders on paper, there is also an update. Such orders no longer need verification and stamping by an official at the destination place of the business trip. Yet, if the employer finds it necessary, a verification can still be required.

Business trips abroad will still require an order issued on paper, but the stamp is no more a mandatory element. Only employers which are funded by the State will have to require a stamp on the document.

Some of the new amendments refer to the reimbursement of travel expenses incurred by employees with their private vehicles when travelling to a business trip in Bulgaria. The new manner of calculation aims at being fairer so the amount will be defined based on the combined fuel consumption rate as per the manufacturer’s statement.

All changes are in effect as of 27 March 2023, three days after they were officially published in the Bulgarian State Gazette.

For further information contact:

Mileslava Bogdanova – Misheva, Senior Associate