A new Persons with Disabilities Act (the “Act”) was promulgated in the State Gazette, issue No 105 dated 18 December 2018. The Act entered into force on 1 January 2019 and repealed the Integration of Persons with Disabilities Act, which was effective at that time.
The Act imposes new obligations on employers aimed to promote employment among persons with disabilities. These obligations will become enforceable upon the adoption of the regulation for implementation of the Act.
Below is a summary of some of the more significant new provisions of the new Act.
Obligation for employment of persons with permanent disabilities
Pursuant to the Act, all employers who have 50 or more employees are obligated to provide job positions and subsequently to employ a certain number of persons with permanent disabilities. This number will be determined as per a specific quota as follows:
Employers will be obligated to notify the respective regional offices of the Bulgarian Employment Agency about the number and the specific type of vacant job positions made available for persons with permanent disabilities, the employees needed, their qualification and professional skills as well as about the performance of the abovementioned obligation for employment.
Employers will be exempt from their obligation for employment of persons with permanent disabilities provided that certain conditions are met. The existence of some of these conditions will have to be certified by the competent authorities of the General Labor Inspectorate Executive Agency. The specifics of the procedure for exemption of the obligation for employment of persons with permanent disabilities will be provided for in the regulation for implementation of the Act.
In case of non-performance of the obligation for employment of the respective number of persons with permanent disabilities and lack of any of the conditions for exemption, employers will be obligated to pay a monthly compensation installment of 30 percent of the minimum work salary for each vacant job position which, pursuant to the Act, is to be occupied by a person with permanent disabilities.
In case of non-payment of the abovementioned monthly compensation installment, the Act provides for sanctions to employers as follows: a fine from BGN 1,000 to BGN 2,000 for all employers who are natural persons and a pecuniary sanction from BGN 2,000 to BGN 5,000 for employers who are either legal entities or sole traders. In case of a repeated violation, the fine and respective pecuniary sanction will amount from BGN 4,000 to BGN 10,000.
Future development and supplementation of the legislation
The specifics of the procedure for performance of the employers’ obligation for employment of persons with permanent disabilities, for notifying the authorities of the Employment Agency, for application of alternative measures of employment as well as the conditions for receipt of funding will be provided for in full in the regulation for implementation of the Act. This regulation needs to be adopted by the Council of Ministers not later than 31 March 2019.
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