Pregnancy, maternity, and leave related to work-life balance for workers (Directive 92/85, relevant provisions of Directives 2006/54, 2010/18 and 2019/1158)

AuthorGenoveva Tisheva
5 Pregnancy, maternity, and leave related to work-life balance for workers
(Directive 92/85, relevant p rovisions of Directives 2006/54 , 2010/18 and
5.1 General (legal) context
5.1.1 Surveys and reports on the practical difficulties linked to work -life balance
There are no important surveys on practical difficulties linked to work-life balance and the
author will mention some data and considerations from the most recent governmental
reports. In the Draft report on the implementation of Gender Equality policy for 2018,55 it
is recognised that female employment is lower when they have to care for dependent
members of their families.
The coefficient of employment of women between 15 and 64 who care for at least one child
under th e age of 7, is 55.8 % for 2018, which is 8.1 percentage points lower than the
average employment coefficient of women from t he same age group. In the report after
May 2019 which the author also consulted, the numbers are even more startling. The
comparator is the average coefficient of employment for women in this age group
According to the State report, the Bulgarian State policy for work-life balance is linked with
services for childcare or care for other dependent family members, with promotional
measures for hiring unemployed women or women with small children, by including women
in continuous training, and providing for flexible forms of emp loyment. Legislative
measures were tak en in recent yea rs as incentives for fathers to ta ke leave for childcare
and for women to return to work. Women are also encouraged to choose ‘male’ professions
in ICT, for exampl e. The equal ising of the pensionable age of men and women is in
progress, which will l ead, gradually, to mo re equality in income and to the economic
empowerment of women.
5.1.2 Other issues
The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy also mentions important policy measures to tackle
the challenges:
For exampleз the MLSP Operation ‘Parents and Employment’з financed by the ESFз is aimed
at the work-life balance of parents with small children, combined with job opportunities for
unemployed pe ople. By the end of 2018, 2977 a pplications were received from parents
with small children and 653 were from parents whose applications were eligible under th e
programme. 1 060 applications were from unemployed persons willing to take care of
children up to 5 years old. The number of tri-partite contacts concluded (including with the
MLSP) were 1 431, and 1 423 persons who were unemployed started caring for small
The other programme was the MLSP’s Operation ‘Active inclusion’. It is aimed at improving
the quality of life of persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, an d their
relatives, and aims to open job opportunities both for persons with disabilities and for
those caring for them. By the end of 2018, about 300 persons who w ere carers started
searching for jobs or started working; 338 persons with disabilities started a new job; and
54 See Masselot, A. (2018), Family leave: enforcement of the protection against dismissal and unfavourable
treatment, European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination, available at:
dismissal-and-unfavourable-treatment-pdf-962-kb and McColgan, A. (2015), Measures to address the
challenges of work-life balance in the EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, European
network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination, available at:
55 Unofficial Draft in process of preparation and approval.
1620 persons with disabilities received care and support through the programme .56 There
is no data disaggregated by sex concerning beneficiaries.
Although just based on programmes of the MLSP, these measures are of benefit to women
who are the main carers for children and persons with disabilities, and have to be continued
and broadened. Among their objectives, gender equality should be emph asised explicitly
and result indicators should be disaggregated by sex.
5.1.3 Overview of national acts on work-life balance issues
The major national acts in this sphere are:
- The National Strategy on Gender Equality 2016-2020;57
- The National Plan on Equality between Women and Men 2019-2020.58
Both documents contain as a priority area 1 Increasing the participation of women in the
labour market and equal level of economic independence where work-life balance for both
sexes is one of the most important elements.
- The Law on Protection from Discrimination;
- Labour Code;
- Code of Social Insurance.
5.1.4 Political and societal debate and pending legislative proposals
There is no political and societal debate or pending legislative proposals concerning work -
life balance in Bulgaria.
5.2 Pregnancy and maternity protection
5.2.1 Definition in national law
Explicit definitions of main notions related to pregnancy and giving birth have been
provided in joint Ordinance No. RD-07-4 of 15 J une 2015 from the Minister of Labour and
Social Policy and the Minister of Health: Ordinance for impr oving working conditions fo r
pregnant women, women who have given birth or breastfe eding women.59 This ordinance
was meant to ensure full compliance with Directive 92/85. Paragraph 1 p. 1 of the
Additional Provisions defines the notion of a pregnant worker as follows:
‘м. "Pregnant worker" is a worker or employee with a confirmed status of pregnancy
as well as one in an advanced stage of in-vitro treatment within the meaning of
paragraph 1, point 13 of the Additional Provisions of th e LC and who has duly
informed her employer about her status with a docum ent issued by the competent
health authorities.’
In this ordinance, the notions of a woman worker who has given birth and a breastfeeding
worker are defined, as well.
56 Unofficial draft of the Report on Gender Equality for 2018 May 2019, MLSP
57 National Strategy on Gender Equality 2016-2020,      
 з
58 National Plan on Equality between Women and Men 2019-2020,     
   2019-2020,
59 Ordinance No. RD-07-4 of 15 June 2015 from the Minister of Labour and Social Policy and the Minister of
Health: Ordinance for improving working conditions for pregnant women, women who have given birth or
breastfeeding women,  –-07-п         
     , Promulgated in S.G. 46/2015, Bulgarian text available at:

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