On 23.03.2020 the Bulgarian Parliament approved a Bill on the Measures during the State of Emergency introducing a variety of measures in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.
The Bill was published in the Official Gazette on 24.03.2020 and has retroactive effect from 13.03.2020, with the exception of certain provisions which enter into force on the date of publication.
The measures, which will apply for the duration of the state of emergency, include:
► SUSPENSION OF TERMS AND OTHER MEASURES RELATED TO THE JUDICIARY
- suspension of all procedural terms on litigation, arbitration and enforcement proceedings. Only terms related to criminal proceedings continue to run.
- suspension of statutes of limitations and other statutory terms, the expiry of which results in termination of rights or new obligations, except for the limitation periods in the Criminal Code and the Law on Administrative Offenses and Penalties
- suspension of all procedural terms related to the work of the Commission for Forfeiture of Illegally Acquired Assets, irrespective of whether the proceedings are related to conflict of interest or confiscation claims.
- Extensions with 1 month of: (i) the terms provided in law, other than procedural terms and limitation terms, that expire during the state of emergency and relate to exercising of rights or fulfilment of obligations; and (ii) administrative acts expiring during the state of emergency
- all public auctions by private and public enforcement officers should be cancelled and the initiation of enforcement actions against individuals such as freezing bank accounts, salary or pensions should be temporary suspended.
- The imposition of distrains on bank accounts of individuals, salaries and pensions, as well as the inventories of the movable and real estate of individuals are suspended;
- Notary certifications are limited to urgent ones, whereas the Notary Chamber will ensure at least one notary public for each region.
- Employer may unilaterally introduce work from home or remote work, where possible
- Employer may force the employees to take up to ½ of the paid annual leave without their consent
- There are various amendments to the Labour Code regulating remote working, including during state of emergency, the right of the employer to suspend the work of the entire enterprise or part of it or to certain employees until the termination of the state of emergency; to request use of the paid leave, to introduce part time work, etc.
- Extension of the terms for submission if the FS by 30.06.2020 and publications with the Commercial Registry by 30.09.2020
- Extension until 30.06.2020 of: (i) the deadline for the submission of the annual tax returns under 2019 declarations under the CITA (Corporate Income Tax Act) and the Personal Income Tax Act and payment of the VAT, including the tax on costs; (ii) the deadline for using a 5% discount on prepayment for the entire year of property tax and/or vehicle tax.
► SOCIAL SECURITY
- Amendments to the Social Security Code are envisaged, related to the suspension and extension of statutory time limits and the filing of complaints, applications and documents.
- 6 months extension of the validity of ID cards and driving licenses, expiring in the period from the 13.03.2020 until 31.10.2020
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