Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Bulgaria - Sickness benefits (sick pay)

In what situation can I claim?

Cash benefits for temporary incapacity to work, otherwise known as sick pay, compensate for lost income from your salary when you have to take sick leave. To be entitled to this benefit, you need to have been insured for general illness and maternity for at least 6 months. Insurance for this risk is mandatory if you are employed on the basis of a regular employment or fixed-term contract. Your right to benefits does not depend on whether your contributions have actually been paid or are due but have not been paid, but you have to be insured at the minimum wage at least. If you are self-employed, the contributions have to be paid.

You are exempt from the 6 months insurance obligation if you are aged below 18 years.

The length of paid insurance contributions may be interrupted or uninterrupted and may be with different employers.

In order to receive these benefits, you have to have a sick note issued by your general practitioner or a medical consultation committee.

If you are a self-insured person, you need to have chosen to be insured for general illness and maternity in order to be entitled to this benefit.

The length of your paid insurance contributions and your period of social insurance cover under the legislation of another state outside the EU with which Bulgaria has an international treaty are taken into account.

What conditions do I need to meet?

You are entitled to general sickness benefits if you are insured for general illness and maternity. In particular this means:

  • workers and employees;
  • judges, prosecutors, investigators, court bailiffs, registry judges, court employees, members of the Supreme Judicial Council and Inspectors at the Supreme Judicial Council Inspectorate;
  • candidates for junior judge, junior prosecutor and junior investigator;
  • armed forces personnel;
  • members of cooperatives;
  • managers and proxies of commercial companies and of sole traders and their branches;
  • elected representatives;
  • religious clerics in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and other registered religious faiths;
  • doctors undergoing training for specialisation who receive remuneration under a training contract;
  • self-insured persons who have chosen to be insured for general illness and maternity;
  • spouses who are self-insured persons voluntarily insured at their own expense for general illness and maternity;
  • seafarers.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

The first 3 days of the sick pay are covered by the employer for up to 70% of your daily gross remuneration or the gross daily insurable income on which social security contributions have been paid for the last 18 months before the incapacity to work occurs. For the following days, the daily general sickness benefits in cash for temporary inability to work amount to 80%, or 90% of your average daily gross labour remuneration or average daily insurable income for temporary incapacity to work due to an accident at work or an occupational diseases.

For example, if your doctor has prescribed 5 days home treatment and your gross salary is BGN 1 000, your daily salary for a month with 21 working days is BGN 47.60. For the first 3 days of sick leave you will receive BGN 33.30 per day from the employer, or BGN 99.90. For the following 2 days, the benefits are paid by the National Social Security Institute which will pay you BGN 76.20.

If you have fallen ill within 30 days of termination of legal relations with your employer, you are entitled to benefits from general state social insurance only.

Daily cash remuneration for temporary incapacity to work due to general illness may not exceed your average net daily remuneration for the period for which the benefits are calculated.

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

Jargon busters

  • Social insurance period: 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 for the remuneration received have been paid or are payable. It includes periods of paid or unpaid leave for illness, maternity birth or adoption of a child aged up to 2 years as well as 30 days for unpaid leave in 1 calendar year. It takes self-employment into account. A minimum insurable income has been set 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 the working hours set out in law. Under normal working conditions this is 8 hours per day.

Forms you may need to fill in

  • Sick note issued by your general practitioner or a medical consultation committee

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 Social Security Institute

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