All employees are entitled to an annual paid vacation, and employers should encourage the use of the leave. An employee just starting their career attains the right after four months of work experience. Employees gain the right to the next vacation in each subsequent calendar year.
The vacation can be taken at once or split. The request for vacation needs to be approved by the employer.
Vacation entitlement is as follows:
20 days – minimum applicable for all employees
Some categories of employees are entitled to longer vacation (disabled employees with permanently reduced working capacity 50% and more; employees younger than 18 years; employees working under specific conditions and life and health hazards etc.)
Part-time employees’ holiday entitlement is calculated proportionately to their working hours, which is always rounded to a full day.
Unused vacation days can be transferred to the following year at the request of the employee, which needs to be approved by the employer or in other strictly limited cases defined by law. The transferred vacation can be used in the following two years.
If work is suspended for more than 5 days or in the event of a declared state of emergency or a declared emergency epidemic situation, the employer is entitled to grant paid annual leave to the employee in case they would fail to request it by the end of the calendar year. For that to happen, all employees must be using the leave simultaneously.
There are 11 public holidays per year. All are considered paid non-working dates. Employees actively scheduled to work on these days are entitled to an additional remuneration of 100%.
Bulgaria Public Holiday Calendar 2023
New Year's Day
Ден на oсвобождението на България от Oсманско робство
International Workers' Day
Ден на труда и на международната работническа солидарност
Saint George's Day
Гергьовден, ден на храбростта и Българската армия
Saints Cyril and Methodius Day
Ден на Българската просвета и култура и на славянската писменост
Ден на съединението
Ден на независимостта на България
Types of Leave in Bulgaria
Employers cover the first three days of sick pay at 70% of the average daily gross remuneration for the month the sickness occurred.
After the first three days, the leave is paid by the National Social Security Institute at 80% for common diseases (and 90% for employment injury and occupational disease) of the average daily gross labour remuneration or the average daily income declared for social insurance.
A female employee is entitled to maternity leave for the birth of a child for 410 days, 45 days before the birth. If health authorities miscalculate the date of birth and the baby is born earlier, the balance can be used after birth.
A female employee who has adopted a child up to 5 years old is entitled to a leave for 365 days from the day the child was delivered for adoption.
Maternity pay is covered by the National Social Security Institute at a rate of 90% of the average salary or the average daily contributory income on which insurance contributions have been paid or are due for the period of 24 calendar months preceding the month in which the maternity leave starts.
After the child turns six months and with the mother’s consent, the father may use the balance for 410 days instead of her.
When the child is adopted by spouses, with the consent of the female adopter, the leave may be used instead of her by the male adopter upon expiry of 6 months as of the day when the child was delivered for adoption, but not later than child’s 5th birthday, where the male adopter works under an employment relationship.
A female employee breastfeeding a child is entitled to a paid nursing break until the child attains the age of 8 months: 1 hour twice a day or, with her consent, 2 hours in a single uninterrupted period. For a female employee who works at the working time reduced to seven hours or less, the duration of this break is one hour daily. After the child attains the age of 8 months, the duration of the break is one hour daily and will be granted to the female employee at the discretion of the health authorities, so long as it may be necessary for nursing the child.
Where the mother and father are married or share a household, the father is entitled to a 15-day leave upon the birth of a child as from the date of discharge of the child from the medical treatment facility. Leave is paid by the National Social Security Institute.
After use of the pregnancy, childbirth or adoption leave, if the child has not been placed in a child-care establishment, the female employee is entitled to an additional child-care leave until the child’s attainment of the age of 2 years.
With the mother's consent (female adopter), the leave is granted to the father (male adopter), who works in an employment relationship.
The leave is paid at an amount fixed by the Public Social Insurance Budget Act (currently BGN 650, around EUR 332). Such benefit is also paid to the adoptive mother if the child has not reached the age of 2 years. The leave is covered by the National Social Security Institute.
If the leave is not used, or the person using it terminates its use, the mother (female adopter), if working under an employment relationship, will be paid 50% of the above-mentioned fixed amount.
A female employee with two children under 18 years is entitled to 2 working days of childcare leave in a calendar year. A female employee with three or more children under 18 years is entitled to 4 working days of paid leave for each calendar year.
After using the maternity leave as described above, each of the parents (adopters), if working under an employment relationship and if the child has not been placed in a fully public-financed child-care institution, are entitled to 6 months of unpaid child-care leave until the child turns eight. Each parent (adopter) may use up to 5 months of the other parent’s (adopter’s) leave, subject to the other parent’s (adopter’s) consent.
Special event leave
Employees are entitled to 2 days off for special life events, such as getting married, the funeral of a close family member, blood donation etc.
An employee must also be given leave when summoned to appear before a court of law or by other authorities as a party, witness or expert.
Employees have the right to total remuneration during the leave.
Employees, who attend a secondary or a higher school without interruption of employment with the consent of the employer, are entitled to a paid leave of 25 working days for each year of study.
Such employees are also entitled to a one-time additional paid leave of 30 working days for preparation and sitting for a matriculation examination or a state final certification examination, including for preparation and defence of a thesis, graduation project or dissertation.
Employees enrolled in an extramural or part-time doctoral degree course are entitled to a one-time paid leave of 6 months to prepare a dissertation for the award of the academic degree of Doctor and to a one-time paid leave of 12 months to prepare a dissertation for the award of the academic degree of Doctor of Sciences. This right requires the consent of the employer.
For the time of the study leave, employees retain their right to receive remuneration.
Upon the request of the employee, the employer may grant him or her unpaid leave, regardless of the fact whether the employee has used his or her paid annual leave or not and irrespective of the duration of his or her length of employment service.
The employer is obliged to grant a one-time unpaid leave of up to 1 year to an employee with a current employment relationship with a certain international governmental organisation.
The unpaid leave of up to 30 working days within one calendar year is recognised as the length of employment service, and unpaid leave over 30 working days is recognised as the length of employment service only if this is provided for in the Labour Code, in another law, or an act of the Council of Ministers.