Nina Boteva Law Office

Monthly bulletin - March 2021

The Law on Measures and Actions during the State of Emergency (announced by a decision of the National Assembly on 13 March 2020) was amended in mid-February 2021. First of all, the legislative changes concern the municipalities that have not repaid in time the interest-free loans provided to them by the central budget. In this case, for a period from 1 January 2021 to two months after the repeal of the emergency epidemic situation, no offsetting of the new loans to the municipalities with the non-repaid interest-free loans will be carried out. In case such an offset is allowed, the mayor of the respective municipality must submit a written request to the Ministry of Finance. In addition, during the above-mentioned period (from 1 January 2021 to two months after the repeal of the emergency epidemic situation) no interest is charged on the value of non-performing interest-free loans under the Tax Interest Act. The purpose of the measure guarantees that the municipalities which are in a difficult financial situation to be able to receive a regularly approved state transfer and to be able to have more resources. Закона за мерките и действията по време на извънредното положение, обявено с решение на Народното събрание от 13 март 2020 г., и за преодоляване на последиците. Промените касаят на първо място общините, които не са възстановили в срок, предоставените им от централния бюджет безлихвени заеми. В този случай се предвижда, че за период от 1 януари 2021 г. до два месеца след отмяната на извънредната епидемична обстановка не се извършва прихващане на подлежащите на отпускане нови заеми към общините с невъзстановените в срок безлихвени заеми. В случай, че е допуснато такова прихващане, кметът на съответната община трябва да подаде писмено искане до Министерство на финансите. Освен това в посочения по-горе период (от 1 януари 2021 г. до два месеца след отмяната на извънредната епидемична обстановка) не се начисляват лихви върху стойността на невърнатите безлихвени заеми, съгласно Закона за лихви върху данъците. Целта на мярката е общините, които са в затруднено финансово състояние да могат да получат регулярно одобрен държавен трансфер и да могат да разполагат с по-голям ресурс.

The legislative amendments stipulate that restraining measures are not envisaged and enforcement actions are not carried out within two months after the repeal of the emergency epidemic situation in regard to the funds paid to employees as compensation in connection with overcoming the consequences of COVID-19. Notices of restraint on these receivables, as well as on receivables paid on their bank or other payment accounts of the employees, are not subject to execution.

The changes also affect the activities of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. In the event that they ceased business activity after 1 November 2020, grants shall be awarded. The time for which the financial aid is provided covers the moment of suspension of the business activity until the elimination of the respective grounds for the cease of such activity. The amount of financial aid is a percentage of the turnover of the enterprises (excluding VAT) taking into account the turnover in the period from 1 March 2019 to 29 February 2020.

The amendments introduce the possibility for the Ministry of Health to pay additional remuneration for the results achieved by employees in the system of the Ministry of Health working in unfavorable working conditions during the announced state of emergency, respectively of the emergency epidemic situation, including for activities related to vaccination against COVID-19.

Other significant legislative changes are envisaged, such as the fact that in 2021 vaccines against COVID-19 can also be administered to:

1. persons who have obtained long-term residence in the Republic of Bulgaria;

2. members of diplomatic and consular missions and missions of international organizations accredited in the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as members of their administrative, technical and service staff;

3. family members of the persons under item 2 who live with them in one household in the Republic of Bulgaria.

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