New “employment quota” will ensure the employment of people with permanent disabilities
16 January 2019
On January 1, 2019 the Persons with Disabilities Act (PDA) entered into force. The Act establishes new tools for assessment of people with disabilities’ needs and introduces obligations for some of the employers.
- Enhanced policy to ensure the employment of people with permanent disabilities
Firstly, the PDA introduces the so-called “employment quota” according to which all employers are obliged to allocate part of their work positions for hiring people with permanent disabilities. These are persons with permanent physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment for whom a medical expertise has established a type and degree of disability of 50 and over 50 per cent. The quotas are as follows:
- employers with 50 to 99 employees are required to allocate 1 position for a person with permanent disability;
- employers with 100 and more employees - 2% of their average number of employees.
The work positions allocated for vocational rehabilitation under the Labour Code are not included in the said quotas as they are intended for persons already employed with the employer, who due to illness or an accident at work cannot perform the work assigned to them. In this sense, jobs for vocational rehabilitation are defined independently from the “employment quota”.
- Obligation to notify the Employment Agency
According to the new regime, employers are required to notify the Employment Agency of their vacancies allocated for people with disabilities. Within 3 months from the notification, employers shall hire the corresponding number of persons meeting the requirements for the respective job positions, as well as to notify the Agency accordingly.
- Pecuniary sanctions
In case of failure to comply with the obligations for achieving the “employment quota”, each employer shall owe a monthly installment of 30% of the national minimum wage for any vacancy allocated for a person with permanent disability. The amounts shall be paid to the Labour Inspectorate budget. In the event of failure by employers to pay these monthly installments pecuniary sanctions between BGN 2,000 and BGN 5,000 may be imposed. For a repeated violation the sanction is between BGN 4,000 and BGN 10,000.
The regime provides for several exceptions. Employers shall be exempted from the above mentioned requirements in cases where specific production factors hinder hiring people with permanent disabilities, as well as in cases where the Employment Agency/employment agents have not referred any such people to the respective employer. There is still no clarity as to what criteria these factors will be assessed.
More details on the procedure, terms and conditions for the fulfillment of the quota obligations will be specified in the Implementing Rules of the Act, which are expected to be adopted by 31 March 2019.
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