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Hours of work in Bulgaria

Standard Hours in Bulgaria

Working hours are usually from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, with up to 1 hour of an unpaid break for lunch. This will, however, vary depending on the business and company agreements.
The average working week is 40 hours (8 hours a day - 5 days a week).

Maximum Working Hours & Overtime Laws in Bulgaria

In certain cases, employers may require employees to work extended hours on certain days. In such cases, the working hours cannot exceed 10 hours per day and 48 hours in a five-day working week. Employees with reduced working hours can only work for one extra hour a day or 40 hours a week in total. The employer must compensate for the extension of the working time by a respective reduction of working hours within four months.

Summarised calculation of working time

The employer can establish a summarised calculation of working time (SCWT) under conditions determined by law. The employer determines the period for which SCWT is established, which can be between one and four months. That can be extended to up to 12 months through a collective employment agreement. SCWT allows flexible structuring of employee working hours and provides options for shift work, which extends the limits of the regular working day (i.e. 8 hours). The working day cannot exceed 12 hours, and the working week - is 56 hours. Shifts of employees with reduced working hours can only be extended by an hour maximum.
Under SCWT, employees must get at least 36 hours of uninterrupted weekly rest. Overtime is paid at an increased rate of +50%.

Overtime compensation

Overtime is prohibited except in certain limited cases, such as completing work that could not be completed within normal working hours.
Overtime is paid with increased rates of:
  • +50% for overtime during the working week
  • +75% for overtime during the weekend
  • +100% for overtime during official holidays (the work on a public holiday is paid no less than double the amount of the labour remuneration, so when this also represents overtime work, the employee ultimately receives 400% of their rate).
The following limitations to overtime hours apply:
  • 150 hours per calendar year. Through a collective agreement, employers and trade unions may negotiate a longer annual overtime allowance, but no more than 300 hours in a calendar year. This means that the permitted overtime work could double, however, only in the cases when there is a collective employment agreement
  • 30 hours of day work/20 hours of night work per calendar month
  • 6 hours day work/4 hours night work per calendar week
  • 3 hours day work/2 hours night work in two consecutive working days

Break rights

The following obligatory rest periods apply in standard cases:
  • Daily rest (rest between working days) – 12 hours
  • Weekly rest (rest between working weeks) – uninterrupted break of at least 48 hours on 2 consecutive days, one of which is Sunday
  • Meal break – 30 minutes minimum that is not included in the working hours
  • Recreational/physiological breaks – as determined by the health and safety agency and included in the working time. Usually, there are two such breaks, each of 10-15 minutes.

Rest days’ work

Weekends are typically days free of work. Working during rest days is allowed as an exception in certain limited cases that are stipulated in the Labour Code (e.g. for completion of work which started but could not be completed within normal working hours, etc.). Employees are entitled to a premium of 75% on top of the regular pay rate for working overtime on the day of rest. In addition, in the case of daily calculation of working hours, employees are also entitled to at least 24 hours of uninterrupted rest during the following working week.

Night work

Night work is work performed between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. The working time duration for night work is 7 hours per day, 35 hours per week. Night work is compensated by additional remuneration of no less than 15% of the minimum salary established in the country but no less than BGN 1 (around EUR 0.51) per hour.
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