Working time according to Bulgarian labour law

I. According to their duration, the following types of working time are to be distinguished in Bulgaria:

  1. Normal working time – working time where the duration is defined according to the normal and usual working conditions
  • Fixed working day: 8 hours;
  • Fixed working week: 40 hours (Article 136 (1) – (3) of the Labour Code)

* Maximum permitted working time according to current law. An exception is provided by Article 136a of the Labour Code.

  1. Extended working time – working time where the duration exceeds the legally defined duration (136a of the Labour Code).
  • It is mostly applied for operational reasons and company matters;
  • The employer must agree with the employee organisation upon the implementation of extended working time.
  • The implementation of extended working time is made by a written instruction dealing with the following information: time period, employee, duration and details regarding the completion and the compensation of the extended working time.

* The extended working period is compensated by a respective reduction of working time in another period.

  1. Reduced working time (Articles 137, 305, 309, 317 of the Labour Code) – the duration of the working time is shorter than the normal working time. Conditions:
  • Special working conditions or working conditions dangerous to the employee`s health;
  • Causes inherent in the person of the employee: age, state of health, reduced physical or psychical capacity.

* The employee is entitled to the same rights as an employee under normal working time.

  1. Part-time work – Article 138 of the Labour Code – the working time covers a fraction of the legally defined working time.

II. Methods for determining of reduced working time

  1. by a contractual agreement – written form required; Art. 138 of the Labour Code;
  2. unilaterally by the employer – Article 138a of the Labour Code, if:
  • the reason for the reduction is a reduction of the amount of work;
  • this instruction may concern all or only several employees, e.g. only the employees of a certain department;
  • the maximum time period of reduced working time is 3 months within a calendar year;
  • the new working time may not be shorter than half of the legally defined working time for the respective period (Article 138a (2) of the Labour Code).

III. Manner of the determination of reduced working time

  1. Regular working time – the duration is fixed by an agreement between the parties. The duration may be normal, reduced or proportional.
  2. Overtime – exceed of the contractually agreed work time. According to Article 262 of the Labour Code, overtime is remunerated as agreed between the parties. The remuneration may not be lower than:
  • 50 % for work on workdays;
  • 75 % for work on holidays;
  • 100 % for work on official holidays;
  • 50 % for work at working time calculated on a weekly or longer bases.

If not agreed otherwise, the raise is calculated according to the remuneration defined in the employment contract. The raise may be higher than provided by law.

IV. Night work

Night work in Bulgaria describes work performed between 10.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m., regarding minors the time between 8.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m. The remuneration is calculated according to Article 261 of the code of labour law.

V. Other types of working time

  1. Actual working time: the time, where the employee actually has to perform his employment obligations;
  2. Time at disposal: the remuneration of this working time is reduced. In case of the employee’s convocation by the employer, the working time is remunerated as overtime.


*On-call service – this term describes the period of time where the employee must be available for professional purposes and provide his workforce if needed.