The Economic and Social Council /ESC/ adopted an analysis “The Problems of Performing and Receiving Payment for Night Work in Bulgaria”. The purpose of the act is to draw attention of the institutions to the specifics of the night work in our country related to the nature of this type of work, as well as to some consequences and risks to the health of workers. Night work payment is also a major focus of the analysis.

The ESC identifies some major challenges arising from the discrepancy between the natural biological needs of the human body and the widely established economic relations which require the performance of night work. The ESC points out that there are sectors such as energy, hotels and catering, healthcare, defense and many others, in which the normal day-night rhythm of work and rest is disrupted. Also, the ESC indicates malignant diseases, weakened immune system, reproductive or psychological problems as medically proven risks due to the night work. From an economic point of view, as a result of the disturbed rest-activity rhythm, there are increased occupational injuries and morbidity, absence from work and labour turnover. Negative social consequences are also found in families of those who regularly work at night such as reduced contacts at home, gaps in the upbringing of children as well as signs of alcoholism and social alienation.

The ESC finds that the Bulgarian legislation foresees the provision of employees on a night shift with hot food and refreshing drinks, conducting periodic medical examinations, relocation of appropriate daily work in case of health contraindications. However, these legal measures are not applied effectively enough or some of them are applied formally.

Following the European practices in payment of night work, the analysis shows that the prevailing practice is that the additional remuneration for night work is a percentage of the basic salary. At the same time, the ESC warns that the group of night workers in our country usually does not receive sufficient payment, which creates conditions for deepening inequalities and social isolation. In this regard, the ESC supports the intention of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy to change the current payment from BGN 0.25 per hour worked at night to not less than BGN 1.00 , as of January 2021.

The analysis also recommends supplementing the current legislation, which affects the civil servants, because there is currently no adequate legislation for the performance of night work by them.

In conclusion, the ESC emphasizes that Bulgaria needs to update its legislation and bring national standards in line with European and world standards for night work.

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