On 10.10.2023, the long-awaited amendments to the Labour Code (the “LC”) concerning the removal of the employment record were promulgated in the State Gazette. Even before their official publication, these amendments caused a wide public response, as the general perception of the employment record was that it was obsolete and its functions were more related to creating an additional administrative burden for employers.
Undoubtedly, the replacement of the employment record by an electronic employment record marks a major advance towards the digitalization of the employment relationship. A relatively long transition period is planned to allow both the competent public authorities and employers to prepare for the implementation of the amendment. It is expected that they should start applying as of 01.06.2025.
In this regard, it shall be noted that the amendments provide obligation for the employers to complete the employment records and return them to the employees before 01.06.2026. If the employment record has been lost or destroyed, it may be reissued by the relevant Directorate of the Labour Inspectorate on the basis of a written declaration by the employee.
Nevertheless, until the amendments enter into force, the employment record will still be considered as an official document for the circumstances recorded therein. After that date, the electronic employment record will have the same function.
Along with the above, the amendments at the LC provide another step towards the digitalization of employment relations,which includes the introduction of the Employment Register (“the Register”) at the National Revenue Agency (“NRA”), which will contain information on the electronic employment records of all employees.
The introduction of the Register will have an impact on the obligations of the employers due to the following:
- Instead of the notification under Article 62 of the LC upon conclusion, amendment and termination of employment contracts, which is currently submitted to the NRA, the employers will be obliged to make entries for the same circumstances with the Register. The deadlines for this purpose remain unchanged, namely: in case of conclusion and amendment of employment contracts, the entry should be made within 3 days and in case of termination – within 7 days.
It is expected to establish specific regulations on the procedure for registration by means of a regulation of the Council of Ministers.
- Similar to the previous requirement to provide the employee with a copy of the notification under Article 62 of the LC before commencing work, following the introduction of the Register, the employer will be required to provide the employee with a copy of the entry.
- The employer and the responsible official shall be deemed liable in the event of failure to record the termination of employment in the Register up to the gross remuneration of the employee from the date of termination until the entry.
- In the case of the establishment of employment length by a court decision, as well as the recognition of the dismissal as unlawful by the competent court, the employer should enter these circumstances in the electronic employment record of the employee, and in the case of refusal, the entry will be made by the Labour Inspectorate.
Access to the Register may be made electronically, after identification of the persons in accordance with the Electronic Government Act, which includes identification by means of a qualified electronic signature, or at the relevant territorial directorates of the NRA.
The right of access to the electronic labour records contained in the Register shall be granted to the following persons:
- Employees (in person), where they should also have access to the history of requested accesses to their personal file, with the exception of those from the pre-trial proceedings authorities and those from the State Agency for National Security
- Parents/guardians or custodians of employees under the age of 18
Employers, where their access is intended to be limited to the electronic employment records of their employees. In addition, the employers will not have the right to access information on remuneration and compensations (except for the compensations under Article 222, para. 2 and para. 3 of the LC) entered by previous employers.
The discussed amendments in the LC provide an explicit listing of the data to be entered in the electronic labour record of the Register. In addition to the identification data and those concerning the essential elements of the employment relationship, such as the amount of remuneration, the duration of working hours, the agreed amount of paid annual leave, etc., it is also provided that distraint orders under the Civil Procedure Code, as well as the used days of paid annual leave due for the year of termination, shall be entered.
The anticipated amendments are an absolute necessity both for the administration of employment relations by public authorities and for citizens and the businesses. They should be seen as a positive step towards the digitalization of the employment relationship. While the LC provides the basic legal framework for the regulation of these amendments, the envisaged secondary legislation is expected to provide further clarity on their implementation.
The present article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
For further information contact:
Mileslava Bogdanova, Senior Associate
Boryana Dzhupanova, Associate