The Emergency Measures Act sets forth measures concerning various areas, by introducing:
• Measures specified in the Emergency Measures Act;
• Measures through amendments of other laws.
Following is a summary of the measures set forth in the Emergency Measures Act, as well as the measures introduced through amendments of other laws.
Based on the State of Emergency declared by the Bulgarian Parliament, employers can without the consent of their employees:
1) Assign work from home or distant work subject to terms and conditions specified in an Order to that end (Article 7, para 1 of the Emergency Measures Act).
2) Order the employees to use up to 1/2 of their paid annual leave (Article 7, para 2 of the Emergency Measures Act).
3) Suspend the work of:
• the company,
• a part of the company (department, division, unit),
• individual employees.
This measure can be implemented for a part or the entire duration of the State of Emergency (Article 120c, para 1 of the Bulgarian Labour Code).
For the duration of the Suspension of Work, the employees shall be entitled to receive their gross salaries (Article 267a of the Bulgarian Labour Code).
4) Order the employees to use their Paid Annual Leave in case their work is suspended (see previous paragraph 3 and Article 173а, para 1 of the Bulgarian Labour Code).
In such cases we believe that the employer may order the use of the entire paid annual leave, as the aforesaid statutory provision does not set out restrictions as to the number of paid annual leave days that can be enforced by the employer (unlike the explicit restrictions applicable to the measure set forth in Article 7, para 2 of the Emergency Measures Act).
5) Introduce Reduced Working Time for the entire company or for certain department(s) (new paragraph 2 of Article 138a of the Bulgarian Labour Code). Reduced Working Time cannot be introduced for individual employees.
For the duration of the Emergency Measures Act, but for no more than for a period of 3 (three) months , the Bulgarian National Social Security Institute will pay to employers meeting specific criteria 60% of the social security income for January 2020 of their employees (Paragraph 6 of the Final Provisions to the Emergency Measures Act).
The respective criteria for eligibility to apply for and receive such support will be further defined by a decree of the Bulgarian Council of Ministers.
The payments will be made by bank transfers to the respective employer, meeting the respective criteria, within 5 (five) working days based on written information to be provided by the Bulgarian Employment Agency.
According to the Emergency Measures Act, the unfavourable consequences resulting from delay of payment, including delayed payment interest and penalties, as well as non-monetary consequences such as immediate maturity due to a default, cancellation/termination of agreements and seizure of assets, shall not take place for the duration of the State of Emergency (Article 6 of the Emergency Measures Act).
Starting as from 13 March 2020 and until the State of Emergency is repealed, the following terms are tolled (legally stopped/ceased):
• procedural terms under court, arbitration and forcible execution proceedings;
• Statute of Limitations set forth in the law, including the absolute statute of limitations under the Bulgarian Tax Procedure Code, save for the terms set forth in the Bulgarian Criminal Code and the Bulgarian Administrative Offences and Penalties Act.
The Emergency Measures Act suspends imposing of distraints of bank accounts of natural persons, as well as all announced public sales.
Only urgent notarizations can be made by a limited number of notaries.
The Emergency Measures Act sets forth extension of the following terms:
1) for companies – the term for submission of the annual corporate income tax return and payment of the corporate income tax due, as well as for payment of the tax on expenses is extended until 30 June 2020 (Article 92, para 2, Article 93 and Article 217, para 2 of the Bulgarian Corporate Income Tax Act);
2) for sole proprietors and persons acting as traders – the term for submission of the annual income tax return under Article 50 of the Bulgarian Personal Income Tax Act for 2019 and payment of the personal income tax due is extended until 30 June 2020.
The term for submission of the annual personal income tax return under Article 50 of the Bulgarian Personal Income Tax Act and payment of the personal income tax due by natural persons, who are not sole proprietors, remains unchanged (i.e. until 30 April 2020).
3) for companies which did not carry out business during 2019 – the term to declare absence of activity in the Bulgarian Commercial Register is extended until 30 June 2020 (the term under Article 38, para 9, item 2 of the Accountancy Act);
4) for companies the term for submission of the Annual Financial Statements for 2019 in the Bulgarian Commercial Register shall be extended until 30 September 2020 (the term under Article 38, para 1, item 1 of the Bulgarian Accountancy Act), where the latter can be signed with electronic signature.
The above summary does not exhaustively set out all measures and the complete regulation set forth in the Emergency Measures Act and is not an advice as regards to a specific scenario.
We remain at your disposal to discuss any questions that may arise in relation to the measures and steps set forth in the Emergency Measures Act.
Atanassov and Ivanov Law Firm
23 Serdica Str.
Sofia 1202, Bulgaria
tel. (+359 2) 983 67 87
fax (+359 2) 983 67 84
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