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Acceptable Conditions of Work
The national monthly minimum wage of approximately $68.75 (110 leva) did not provide a decent standard of living for workers and their family. The Constitution stipulates the right to social security and welfare aid assistance for the temporarily unemployed, although in practice such assistance often was late.
The Labor Code provides for a standard workweek of 40 hours with at least one 24-hour rest period per week. The MLSP was responsible for enforcing both the minimum wage and the standard workweek. Premium pay for hours worked over 40 per week were supposed to be negotiated between employers and employees. The Labor Code stipulates that premium pay for overtime could not be less than 150 percent during workdays, 175 percent during weekends, and 200 percent during official holidays. Enforcement generally was effective in the state sector (aside from dealing with wage arrears) but was weaker in the private sector.
There was a national labor safety program, with standards established by the Labor Code. The Constitution states that employees are entitled to healthy and non-hazardous working conditions, and the MLSP was responsible for enforcing these provisions. However, conditions in many cases continued to worsen due to budget constraints and the growth of a private sector that labor inspectors did not supervise effectively. Protective clothing often was absent from hazardous areas. The law requires joint employer and labor health and safety committees to monitor workplace conditions; however, implementation was slow and these committees remained in developmental stages at year's end.
Under the Labor Code, employees have the right to remove themselves from work situations that present a serious or immediate danger to life or health without jeopardy to their continued employment. However, in practice, refusal to work in situations with relatively high accident rates or associated chronic health problems could result in the loss of employment for workers.
« Human Rights Report Introduction
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