Statutory leaves and holidays according to the Bulgarian labour law

The holiday/leave is a period of time within which the employee may stay away from the work place with the employer’s consent. Primarily, it serves the employee’s recreation. The vacation is measured in working days and working hours. It is a legally recognized subjective right of the employee of which he may dispose freely if the legal conditions are met. The employer may define the exact starting point of the vacation.

Legal regulations:

  • Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR);
  • Convention N° 52 from 1936;
  • Article 48 (5) of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria from the 12th of July 1991;
  • Chapter VIII and Article 305 (4) of the Labour Code;
  • Regulation N° 3 on the order and the requirements for the determination of the right on additionally paid vacation regarding work under harmful/dangerous or special conditions;
  • Regulation on working time, periods of rest and vacation.

Types of vacations:

I. The main criteria to distinguish the types of vacation is whether the vacation is paid or not:

  • Paid vacation: it is a subjective right of the employee and is counted towards the time lapsed as employment.
  • Unpaid vacation: according to Article 160 of the Labour Code, the explicit consent of the employer is required. The unpaid vacation is added to the seniority only in the cases explicitly provided by law.

According to Article 160 (2) of the Labour Code, 30 days are recognized as seniority. A further addition is made only in the cases provided by law. The unpaid vacation does not serve specific purposes. Furthermore, no specific period of employment service is required to demand unpaid vacation.

II. Another criteria is the purpose of the vacation:

1. Regular paid annual vacation (Articles 155 to 156a of the Labour Code) – condition for claiming an annual vacation is an employment service of at least 8 months. The amount of basic paid annual leave cannot be less than 20 working days. Types:

  • Basic vacation: each employee is entitled to this vacation. It may not be shorter than 20 working days.

Regarding minors and employees that are partly unable to work (from a degree of 50 %) the minimum vacation amounts to 26 days according to the special provisions of Article 305 (4) and Article 319 of the Labour Code.

  • Extended annual vacation: specific categories of employees and officials are entitled to extended annual vacations. To take an extended annual vacation, the employment must be of a special type and the employee’s employment service acquired must be of at least 8 months. This vacation may amount from 30 to 48 days.
  • Additional vacation according to Article 156 of the Labour Code: this vacation is added to the basic vacation. Regulations regarding the additional vacation may be found in the Regulation on types of employments permitting additional vacations.

2. Vacation for performance of civic and other duties – no specific seniority is required.

  • Vacation for the fulfillment of civil and other obligations – Article 157 of the Labour Code;
  • Vacation during military drills or mobilization;
  • Vacation for professional purposes and creative leave – Article 161 of the Labour Code;
  • Vacation for social reasons/social security vacation:

       - Temporary disability leave – Article 162 of the Labour Code, Article 40 to 45 of the Social security code;

        - Maternity leave – Article 163 of the Labour Code;

      - Raising a child younger than 8 years – Article 167a of the Labour Code (unpaid);

       - Raising two or more children – Article 168 of the Labour Code (paid);

  • Educational leave: it may be paid or unpaid;
  • Vacation for the application/admission to an educational institution – Article 170 of the Labour Code;
  • Paid and unpaid study leave – Article 169 and 171 of the Labour Code.