Treatment and remuneration of overtime according to Bulgarian labour law

Overtime is legally defined in the Articles 143 to 150 of the Labour Code. For the employee to work overtime means to exceed the contractually agreed working time. The work is performed following an instruction of the employer or with the employer’s knowledge but without direct objection (Article 143 (1) of the Labour Code).

In Bulgaria, the employee is not obligated to work overtime (unless otherwise agreed). Overtime must be performed outside the regular working time (e.g. before the beginning/after the end of the working day, during the lunch break).

The instruction to work overtime is made by the employer’s declaration of will. It may be issued in writing. If necessary for operational reasons, the instruction may be issued after the performance of the overtime work. Overtime work may be performed as well without the employer’s declaration of will if he is aware that the employee is doing overtime work and did not disagree with it. If the employer wants to oppose this practice, he must prevent the performance of overtime work by issuing a written instruction.

If the employee performs his work without knowing that he is doing overtime work and in the lack of an instruction of the employer, the time that he worked does not count as overtime.

Overtime is only permitted in the cases provided by law (Article 144 of the Labour Code):

  1. If there is a public interest to protect:
  • Work related to the protection of the state
  • Work related to crisis prevention, crisis management or mitigation of the negative effects of
  • Work that cannot be delayed and serves the community’s interest resp. the public welfare.
  1. Work concerning employer and employee:
  • Regarding restoration works due to the need of emergency repairs on the working premises
  • Regarding work that may not be finished during the regular working time but has to be finished completely due to emerging dangers
  • Regarding the performance of necessary seasonal work.


Within one calendar year, overtime may not exceed 150 hours (Article 146 (1) of the Labour Code); within one working week it may not exceed 6 hours of day work and 4 hours of night work; within one working month it may not exceed 30 hours day work and 20 hours night work.

It is forbidden to compensate overtime with breaks. According to Article 150 in relation to Article 262 of the Labour Code, the performed overtime work is remunerated with respectively higher supplements agreed between the parties of the employment contract. The minimum supplements are as follows:

  • 50 % for work on work days;
  • 75 % for work on holidays;
  • 100 % for work o public holidays;
  • 50 % for work at working time calculated on a weekly or longer basis.

If not agreed otherwise, the supplements are to be calculated according to the contractually defined remuneration.