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Employers and Political Parties Make Proposals for Post-Emergency Measures

Employers propose that the State cover 60 per cent or more of the salary and social and health insurance contributions of employees who would otherwise have lost their jobs, and employers should pay nothing. This proposal was submitted to Parliament by the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) on the last day before the legislature takes a final vote on amendments to the Health Act which will regulate the post-emergency measures.

According to BICA, equal remuneration for working and non-working employees would be unfair for those who work, and in most cases will not be feasible. They also point out that three days before the end of the state of emergency, only 1.22 per cent of the 1 billion leva allocated for the 60/40 job retention scheme have been used. In this scheme the government pays 60 per cent of the labour cost of pandemic-hit businesses and employees 40 per cent.

BICA support a proposal that unpaid leave of up to 60 working days, used in 2020, be added to the length of service.

They believe it is not right to empower a single minister - in this case the Minister of Health - to impose temporary anti-epidemic measures across the country or in some regions, as according to the Constitution and the current legislation, this is within the powers of Parliament or the government.

The power-sharing VMRO party propose that the power of the Health Minister to declare a state of epidemic emergency should last 30 days and cease to be valid once the WHO declares the end of the pandemic. The VMRO proposal was made public by the party's press office. They also propose extending the protection of debtors from banks and collection agencies to two months after the end of the state of emergency, and to ban distraints on municipal accounts until the end of 2020.

According to VMRO, the royalties paid for concession agreements on tourist resorts must be deducted from next year's dues in case the 2020 tourism season is ruined, and the State should grant subidies of 6,000 euro for charter flights by Bulgarian licensed carriers (or failing that, by foreign carriers).

In its own proposals for legislative revisions, the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) argues that the entire government rather than just the Health Minister be responsible for future emergency measures. They insist that the government should
pay one wage and the retirement and health insurance contributions for each month with a state of emergency to workers who have been forced to take a long unpaid leave. Support should also be ensured for self-employed people, parents, people with bank loans, vegetable and fruit growers and farmers in animal husbandry, as well as workers who have lost their job during the pandemic. The Socialists propose that the minimum daily compensation for unemployment be increased to 17 leva from 9 leva.


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