The recent outbreak in Bulgaria has prompted the Bulgarian authorities to adopt immediate measures to counteract and limit the spread of the virus in the country. Some of these measures are directed towards employers and have a major impact on the organization of the work in their respective enterprises and the relations with the employees working therein.
Below is an overview of the recent measures of Bulgarian authorities and the actions which employers may consider to respond to the challenges of the outbreak.
Counteractive measures of the Bulgarian authorities and their impact on employers
On 13 March 2020 the Parliament adopted a resolution declaring a state of emergency in the territory of Bulgaria with effect until 13 April 2020.
On the same day the Minister of Healthcare issued an order suspending all visits in certain commercial establishments such as restaurants, shopping centers, entertainment and gaming halls, etc. All other commercial establishments are allowed to carry out their activity while strictly observing the requirements in terms of sanitation and hygiene.
Additionally, as per the order all employers are obligated to introduce remote work in their respective enterprises. Where the latter is not possible due to the nature and specifics of the work performed, employers are obliged to implement all anti-epidemic measures mentioned in the order.
In view of the outbreak and in order to fully comply with the above counteractive measures, employers are faced with new challenges such as decrease of the workload leading to partial of full suspension of their business activity. Such challenges in turn result in complications in terms of the relations between the employers and their respective employees.
Employer's rights and best practices
In line with Bulgarian labor legislation there are several actions related to organization of the work which employers may consider, namely:
The above measures may be implemented separately or together after a thorough consideration of the specifics of each case and by complying with the requirements and procedures established in the effective Bulgarian labor legislation.
Employees' rights and obligations
All employees must also comply with the counteractive measures and with the instructions of the authorities and their employers. The employees should refrain from activities which could endanger both themselves and their colleagues, family and other people.
In a recent statement Bulgarian authorities announced that they are considering adopting legislative amendments in order to mitigate the negative effect of the outbreak and the implemented counteractive measures on employers and their activity.
The amendments will be aimed at encouraging the employers to keep their employees at work instead of dismissing them due to reduction of the workload. As to date meetings are being held between members of the government and, employers' unions and trade unions to discuss the potential amendments in legislation.
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