Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Bulgaria - Maternity and paternity

Here you will find information on the benefits to which you are entitled when you get pregnant and become parents.

They are summarised as:

  • pregnancy and childbirth benefits (обезщетение за бременност и раждане);
  • benefits for raising a small child (обезщетение за отглеждане на малко дете);
  • benefits for adoption of a child up to 5 years of age (обезщетение при осиновяване на дете до 5-годишна възраст);
  • benefits in the event of death or serious illness of the mother/adoptive mother безщетение при смърт или при заболяване на майката).

In what situation can I claim?

Cash benefits for maternity or paternity are payable to insured parents.

Maternity contributions accumulate in the same fund as contributions for general illness (in the case of sick leave). The 'Sickness benefit' chapter on the National Social Security Institute website shows who is entitled to benefit. Social insurance under this fund is obligatory under most regular employment. Your right to benefits does not depend on whether your contributions have actually been paid or are due but have not been paid (except for the self-employed for whom the social security contributions have to be paid).

These benefits replace employment income while you are on maternity leave and cover 410 days beginning 45 days before the due date of child birth. If the birth occurs during those 45 days, the remainder of the 45 days can be used after the birth. The father is entitled to 15 days of paid leave from the date of childbirth. When the child reaches the age of 6 months, the father may assume care of the child and hence the cash benefits from the mother for the remainder of the 410 days.

Adoptive parents are entitled to 365 days leave upon adoption of a child up to 5 years of age starting from the date of the adoption.

What conditions do I need to meet?

In order to receive pregnancy, childbirth and child care benefits, above all you need to have been insured for general illness and maternity for at least 12 months at the beginning of your period of leave. These 12 months may have been continuous or non-continuous and you do not need to have been employed by one and the same employer.

Leave for pregnancy and childbirth must be certified with medical documents presented to the employer.

If you comply with the above conditions, benefits are paid if:

  • the child is alive;
  • the child has not been handed over for adoption;
  • the child has not been taken into a children's institution fully maintained by the State;
  • you have not been deprived of parental rights and they have not been restricted;
  • the child has not been in a foster family;
  • the mother has not agreed for the leave to be used by the father, grandmother or grandfather of the child.

In the case of adoption, benefits for pregnancy and childbirth are payable under the same conditions, but on the following two additional conditions:

  • the adoption has not been terminated by a court;
  • you have not been included in a maternity support programme while caring for the child;
  • the child is younger than 5 years of age.

Fathers (adoptive fathers) are also entitled to leave for childbirth amounting to 15 days. In addition, after the child reaches the age of 6 months, fathers may also take on the care for the child for the remainder of the 410 calendar days. Adoptive fathers can also take care of the child from the 6th month after the adoption until the end of the leave (365 days). The conditions for payment of benefits are the same, but with some additions:

  • You must be married to the mother of the child or live with her in a single household. In the latter case, the father must have recognised the child;
  • The social insurance of the mother or adoptive mother has not been terminated.

Grandmothers and grandfathers may take on child care after the child has reached the age of 6 months.

In the event of death or serious illness of the mother or adoptive mother which prevents her from caring for the child, the persons entitled to benefits in her place must be insured for general illness and maternity. Item 29 on the National Social Security Institute website shows how serious illness of the mother is established. The persons entitled to benefits in her place can be:

  • the father of the child;
  • one of the parents of the mother or the father, with the agreement of the child's father;
  • in the event of death of the mother and father, the guardian acquires the entitlement;
  • he/she may transfer the benefit entitlement to one of the parents of the mother or the father.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Social insurance for general illness and maternity is obligatory for all employed people and for self-employed people who have chosen to be insured for those risks.

Cash benefits are calculated on the basis of your average daily remuneration for the last 24 months. If you have paid insurance in another EU Member State within these 24 months, only the monthly insurance contributions paid in Bulgaria are taken into account.

For example, if you have lived in another Member State for two months of the required 24-months period, then only the 22 months of insurance contributions paid in Bulgaria are taken into account.

More information can be found in the chapter entitled 'Summing up social insurance periods from the EU and EEA.

Benefits are only payable by bank transfer. In accordance with European legislation, the amount may not be reduced due to administrative or bank charges.

Pregnancy and childbirth benefits

Cash benefits for pregnancy and childbirth are calculated per day and amount to 90% of the average gross daily income for which you have been insured over the last 24 months before the beginning of the leave for pregnancy and childbirth or adoption. For self-insured people, the contributions for general illness and maternity are considered.

Daily cash benefits cannot exceed the person's average net daily remuneration, i.e. you may not receive more maternity benefits than your net daily salary.

These benefits cannot be less than the minimum monthly wage, which is BGN 560 for 2019. This rule applies if you are employed with more than one employer: the sum of the different benefits cannot be less than the minimum working wage.

Benefits for the fathers are calculated in the same way as for mothers.

Benefits for adoption of a child  up to 5 years of age

The adoptive parents are entitled to a benefit for a period of 365 days. The benefit is calculated in the same way as the benefit for pregnancy and childbirth.

Benefits for raising a small child

After completion of the 410 days of leave for pregnancy and birth, if you decide to take paid leave to care for a small child, you are entitled to benefits until the child reaches 2 years of age. The amount is established each year in the State Social Insurance Budget Act. For 2019 the amount is BGN 380. The mother, father or guardian of the child is entitled to this benefit, depending on who cares for the child. If you are self-employed and you are insured for general illness and maternity, you are also entitled to these benefits.

Benefits for the death or serious illness of the mother/adoptive mother

These benefits are paid to the person who cares for the child if the mother/adoptive mother has died or has a serious illness which prevents her from caring for the child.

The amount of benefit is calculated in the same way as for pregnancy and childbirth: 90% of the average daily income for the last 24 months.

If the father, grandmother or guardian cares for the child, he/she is also entitled to benefits for raising a small child. These are equivalent to the amount defined in the State Social Insurance Budget Act. For 2019, it amounts to BGN 380.

Duration is the same as for other benefits:

  • 410 days for pregnancy and childbirth, of which 45 days are before the birth;
  • 365 days for the adoptive parent from the day the child is handed over for adoption;
  • 15 calendar days for fathers (adoptive fathers);
  • the remainder of the 410 days (with the mother’s consent) after the child reaches 6 months of age;
  • the remainder of 365 days (with the mother’s consent) after the first 6 months from the adoption;
  • until the child reaches 2 years of age: the amount of benefit for raising a small child (BGN 380 for 2019).

Jargon busters

  • Period of social insurance cover: calculated in hours, months and years. This takes into account the time during which you have worked as a full-time employed person if the insurance contributions on the remuneration received have been paid or are payable. This includes the duration of paid or unpaid leave for illness, maternity, birth or adoption of a child up to the age of 2 years, along with 30 days for unpaid leave in 1 calendar year. This takes into account self-employment. A minimum social insurance income is defined for each profession and the period covered by social insurance does not include contributions made below this income except in special circumstances. If you have worked part time, the length of employment is calculated proportionally on the basis of working hours set out by law. Under normal working conditions this is 8 hours per day. A detailed description of what is included in the length of employment for social insurance can be found in the chapter entitled 'Sickness Benefit' or on the National Social Security Institute.
  • Average daily income: the average daily income for the 24-month period on the basis of which the daily cash benefit is calculated is defined as the total of the gross labour remuneration and/or insurable income and/or the income on the basis of which the cash benefit for temporary incapacity and/or pregnancy and childbirth and/or adoption of a child up to 5 years of age is calculated, divided by the total number of working calendar days for the same period.

Forms you may need to fill in

Know your rights

The laws and web pages of the institutions which determine your rights can be found by following the links below. These are not European Commission pages and do not represent the opinion of the Commission:

European Commission publications:

Who do you need to contact

National Revenue Agency

National Social Security Institute

National Health Insurance Fund

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