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Amendments in the Labour Code governing Telework

In the Official Gazette dated 21st October 2011 amendments in the Labour Code were published, and more specifically new Section VIIIb regarding the telework was introduced.

Telework is as a form of organising and/or performing work under employment relations, using information technology, where work, which has been performed or could be performed at the Employer's premises, is carried out away from those premises of the Employer. Telework has a voluntary nature and it can be performed either upon proposal of the Employer or the Employee.

Section VIIIb of the LC focuses on several key areas in which the specific nature of telework shall be taken into account:
  • Employment conditions - in the collective or individual employment agreement shall be negotiated the conditions and the order for performance of telework, including the possibilities for mixed types of work and for transfer from telework to work at the premises of the Employer.
  • Obligations of the Employer – the Employer shall ensure: the necessary equipment and supplies; software; technical maintenance and support; devices for communication with the Employees, performing telework, including Internet connection; data protection; information and requirements for work with the equipment and its maintenance in good condition; monitoring system, if necessary to be installed at the workplace; other technical and documentary materials according to the individual and/ or collective agreement. 
  • Health and Safety – the Employer is responsible for health and safety at work of the Employees performing telework in accordance with the national legislation, collective agreements, internal rules of the enterprise. The control for proper application and observance of the requirements regarding health and safety at work is performed as follows:

    • the respective Employees have the right to request a visit to their workplace via submission of an application to the relevant directorate of the Labour Inspectorate;
    • the Employer and/or his representative, the representatives of the union organizations, the control authorities of the Labour Inspectorate have the right of access to the workplace after prior notification to the respective Employee and with the consent of the latter.
  • Organisation of work- The Employees performing telework benefit from the same rights related with the organization of work as the Employees at the Employer’s premises. These rights are guaranteed by Bulgarian legislation and the applicable in the enterprise collective agreements.
  • Collective rights – the Employees performing telework have the same collective rights as Employees at the Employers’ premises. The Employer shall provide for opportunities to prevent the isolation of these Employees, creates conditions for periodically conduction of business and social meetings at the premises of the Employer, may create a virtual space – forum, chat or other means by which the Employees performing telework and the Employees at the Employer’s premises to communicate freely.
It is expressly stipulated that for all matters not governed in Section VIIIb the general provisions of the LC shall apply.
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