In the last days before its dissolution, the National Assembly managed to adopt the proposed amendments to the Labour Code. The tumultuous media reaction to them could leave the false impression that the only innovation was the introduction of child-care leave for fathers of children up to the age of 8 years. However, the changes are in fact multiple and affect various aspects of the employment relationship. Although they were only promulgated in the State Gazette on 5 August 2022, they become binding on employers retroactively, from 1 August 2022.
The first group of amendments to the Labour Code relates to the employer’s obligation to provide information to its employees. For example, the existing obligation to notify the employee in writing when the employment relationship changes, is maintained. However, this must now happen before the change takes place.
Along with the internal labour regulation, employees should now be familiarised with the internal salary rules. In addition, the employer must also provide information on the conditions and procedures for the termination of employment contracts, as well as on training related to the maintenance and improvement of the professional qualifications of its employees.
There is also a possibility for employees to request in writing to switch from a fixed-term employment contract to an employment contract of an indefinite duration, and upon employers’ refusal for the requested change it should be motivated in writing. The same new approach is also provided for when an employee requests to move from part-time to full-time employment.
The second group of changes limits certain powers that previously existed for employers. The maximum duration of the probationary period is reduced to one month if the employment contract is concluded for a period of up to one year. The six-month probationary period is maintained in all other cases.
It is excluded the possibility of introducing a prohibition in principle in the employment contract for the employee to work for other employers during the period of employment. Such a restriction on the exercise of the right to work will now be permissible for the purpose of limiting only activities, competing to that of the employer – for reasons of protecting trade secrets and/or preventing conflicts of interest.
The third group of changes aims to achieve a work-life balance for employees. For example, it is envisaged that trainings which are compulsory for the employee should be counted as part of the working hours and should, if possible, take place during the working day. The use of paid child-care leave by a father (male adopter) to raise a child up to the age of 8 is provided for under certain conditions. The possibility for parents returning from parental leave to propose to the employer a modification of the employment relationship in order to adapt it to the needs of the family – such as the length of working time, its distribution within the working day, working remotely, etc. – has been further developed.
For further information contact:
Mileslava Bogdanova – Misheva, Senior Associate