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»AMENDMENTS TO THE ACCOUNTANCY ACT – SUSTAINABILITY REPORT
At the beginning of March a Draft Law of Amendments and Supplements to the Accountancy Act was published on the Internet website of the Ministry of Finance and on the Portal for Public Consultations for public consultation. The Draft Law obliges the enterprises to include clearly distinguishable section in their annual activity reports concerning sustainability matters (Sustainability Report).

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»THE SUPREME COURT OF CASSATION DECIDES THAT PROVIDING LOANS BY OCCUPATION IS NOT A CRIME
On 15 March 2024 the General Assembly of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC) issued an Interpretative Decision on Interpretative Case No 1/2020, according to which provision of loans/ credits by occupation with funds not raised by public solicitation of deposits or other repayable funds does not constitute banking activity and its performance without permission does not constitute the crime of usury under Art. 252 (1) of the Criminal Code.

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»AMENDMENTS TO THE INVESTMENT PROMOTION ACT
With State Gazette No 20 of 8 March 2024 Law of amending and supplement of the Investment Promotion Act was promulgated, which introduces a national screening mechanism for foreign direct investment related to security or public order, in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2019/452 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2019 establishing a framework for screening foreign direct investment in the Union.

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»SUBMISSION OF STATISTICAL INFORMATION TO THE CPDP ON THE RECEIVED REPORTS ON BREACHES FOR 2023
One of the obligations of the entities under the Act on Protection of Persons, Reporting Information, or Publicly Disclosing Information on Breaches is to submit annually by 31 of January of the next year a statistical information about the received reports on breaches from the previous year. Read what you have to do.

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»CONSEQUENCES FOR FOREIGNERS LEGALLY RESIDING IN BULGARIA OF OUR ACCESSION TO THE SCHENGEN AREA
Pursuant to the Decision of the Council of the European Union dated 30 December 2023 on the full application of the provisions of the Schengen acquis in the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Romania, both countries will become a part of the Schengen area as from 31 March 2024. The consequences of this decision are significant, especially for foreigners legally residing on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria at that date.

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»NEW OBLIGATIONS FOR THE EMPLOYERS, EFFECTIVE AS OF 17 DECEMBER 2023
If you are an employer with 50 or more employees, as of 17 December 2023 you should have an internal whistleblowing channel for violations of Bulgarian or EU legislation that threaten or harm the public interest.

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»SOME OF THE RECENT AMENDMENTS TO THE MEASURES AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING ACT
By the Law on Amendments and Supplements to the Measures Against Money Laundering Act (MAMLA), promulgated in the State Gazette No 84 of 06.10.2023, numerous changes related to the measures against money laundering and their implementation have been made. Herein we would like to draw your attention to a small part of them, which may have important practical implications for the obliged persons.

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»AMENDMENTS TO THE ACT ON PROTECTION OF PERSONS, REPORTING INFORMATION, OR PUBLICLY DISCLOSING INFORMATION ON BREACHES
With State Gazette issue 88 from 20 October 2023 amendments and supplements to the Act on Protection of Persons, Reporting Information, or Publicly Disclosing Information on Breaches were promulgated and effective as of 24 October 2023. The Amendments aim to fully transpose Directive 2019/1937 and are in line with the findings of the European Commission on the Bulgarian Act. In the current article we will present some of the more important amendments and supplements to the Act.

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»E-LABOUR BOOK
On 26 September 2023, the National Assembly finally adopted at a second reading amendments to the Labour Code, which will lead to the removal of the paper Labour book. After long expectations, it will be replaced by an electronic labour record. The new regulation will enter into force on 1 June 2025, and the Labour and Service book in their current form will be permanently abolished one year later, namely as of 1 June 2026.

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»SUCCESSIVE AMENDMENT TO THE E-GOVERNMENT LAW
On 19 September 2023, in the State Gazette the Law on Amending and Supplementing the E-Government Act (LAS EGA) was promulgated. By the changes made the process of removing the divergence between the previous requirements of EGA and the registers, kept by the administrative authorities continuous; of improvement of the centralized system for registers management, alignment of the procedures and documents issued by administrative authorities and for facilitating the administrative procedures. The LAS EGA has entered into force on the day of its promulgation, i.e., 19 September 2023, with certain exceptions which are set out below. Some of the changes in the law that we consider as more important and interesting will be reviewed in the statement.

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»KEEPING A REPORT REGISTER UNDER THE LAW ON PROTECTION OF PERSONS WHO REPORT BREACHES OR PUBLICLY DISCLOSE INFORMATION ON BREACHES
In the State Gazette No 67/04.08.2023 an Ordinance No 1 from 27 July 2023 for keeping of a register for reports under Art. 18 of the Law on Protection of Persons who Report Breaches or Publicly Disclose Information on Breaches and sending of internal reports to the Commission of Personal Data Protection was promulgated. The Ordinance governs the procedure of maintaining of an information system by the obligated persons, into which reports of breaches of national and/or European law are to be submitted. In this article the main points will be discussed.

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»EXPECTED AMENDMENTS IN THE LABOUR CODE
On 11 August 2023, the Council of Ministers published for public discussion a draft of Law on Amending and Supplementing of the Labour Code, which provides changes in the regulatory framework regarding the remote work, including the introduction of obligations for employers using information system for algorithmic management (artificial intelligence) in the organization of the remote work. The draft LAS LC includes proposals for changes that ensures the payment of the remunerations to the employees in subcontractor chains. In the present article, we will solely examine the proposed changes regarding the remote work regime.

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»THE FUTURE OF START-UP BUSINESSES – A VARIABLE CAPITAL COMPANY
In State Gazette issue 66/ 01.08.2023 are promulgated amendments in the Commerce Act, which introduce a new form of commercial company in the Bulgarian legal world – variable capital company. Economic trends in Bulgaria and the desire of innovative start-up businesses for accessible, adaptable and effective company form led to the regulation of the new company type. In this article, we will explain more.

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»AMENDMENTS IN THE CASH PAYMENTS RESTRICTION ACT
As of 1st September 2023, come into effect new amendments to The Cash Payments Restriction Act which widen its application field significantly. Employers and companies must pay off remunerations and dividend profits through bank transactions. The draft LAS LC includes proposals for changes that ensures the payment of the remunerations to the employees in subcontractor chains. In the present article, we will solely examine the proposed changes regarding the remote work regime.

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»NEW REGULATION ON GENERAL PRODUCT SAFETY
On 12 June 2023 came into effect Regulation (EU) 2023/988 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 May 10 2023, on general product safety,. The Regulation introduces changes in the criteria for assessing the safety of products, enhances the safety of products offered online and brick-and-mortar, establishes new rules regarding non-harmonized products, etc. For more information, see the present article.

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»AMENDMENTS TO THE MEASURES AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING ACT
In mid-July some amendments to the Measures Against Money Laundering Act were promulgated. Many of them are expected to have important practical implications. In this article we have briefly listed some of them.

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»EXPECTED AMENDMENTS IN THE MEASURES AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING ACT
On 28.04.2023 a Bill to amend and supplement the Measures Against Money Laundering Act was introduced to the National Assembly. After heated debates, the Bill was adopted at its first reading on 31.05.2023. Its final adoption is yet to come. The Bill provides for a number of amendments in the MAMLA, some of which are substantial and are expected to have important implications for the addressees of the act.

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»MANDATORY COURT MEDIATION
With the Act for Amendments and Supplements to the Mediation Act, promulgated in the State Gazette issue 11 of 02.02.2023, some changes have been made regarding the mediation procedure in case of a dispute brought to the court under the Civil Procedural Code (CPC). One of the changes is the introduction of the so-called mandatory court mediation in regard to certain types of civil and commercial cases. Therewith, the legislator aims to "reduce the workload of the courts and increase efficiency in the field of civil and commercial jurisdiction". In this material, we will briefly consider some of the issues related to mandatory court mediation.

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»CHANGES IN THE ORDINANCES, REGULATING THE BUSINESS TRIPS IN THE COUNTRY AND ABROAD
In State Gazette, No. 27 of 24.03.2023, changes were promulgated in the Ordinance on business trips in the country and the Ordinance on official business trips and specializations abroad. The adopted changes aim to guarantee an adequate amount of business trip money paid to employees, as well as to facilitate documentary the process of business trip. This material shall review the main changes introduced in the ordinances on business trips in the country and abroad.

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»CHANGES IN THE REGIME FOR ISSUANCE OF EU BLUE CARD
On 25 January 2023, in issue 8 of the State Gazette, the Law on Amendments and Supplements to the Labour Migration and Labour Mobility Act was promulgated, which introduced a number of changes to the procedure for issuance of the European Union Blue Card to foreigners who are third-country nationals (i.e. citizen of non-EU countries). The changes aim at adapting the Bulgarian legislation to the increasingly dynamically developing labor market and the need to facilitate labor mobility given the increasingly noticeable shortage of qualified personnel in the country. The adopted amendments transpose, although not in full, Directive (EU) 2021/1883 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2021 on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purpose of highly qualified employment, and repealing Council Directive 2009/50/EC. In the present article we will look at the most significant changes to the regime for issuance of European Union Blue Card.

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»NEW RULES FOR DETERMINATION OF THE MINIMUM WAGE IN BULGARIA
In the State Gazette, No. 14 of 10 February 2023, a Law amending and supplementing the Labor Code was promulgated, which introduced new rules for determination of the minimum wage in Bulgaria. The present article will provide a brief overview of the new procedure for determining the minimum wage in the country.

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»NEW OBLIGATIONS FOR THE COMPANIES UNDER LAW ON PROTECTION OF PERSONS WHO REPORT BREACHES OR PUBLICLY DISCLOSE INFORMATION ON BREACHES
On 2 February 2023, the Law on the Protection of Persons who report breaches or publicly disclose information on breaches was promulgated in issue 11 of the State Gazette. The Law enters into force on 4 May 2023 and implements the requirements of Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law. Provisions regarding the obligation for employers in the private sector with 50 to 249 workers to establish an internal reporting channel and for follow-up come into force on 17 December 2023. This material presents the main issues of the law.

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»NEW DRAFT LAW ON THE LAW FOR AMENDMENT AND SUPPLEMENT ON THE LAW FOR BULGARIAN PERSONAL DOCUMENTS
On 6 January 2023, a draft Law on the Law for amendment and supplement on the Law for Bulgarian personal documents was submitted in the National Assembly. The proposed changes will make it easier for the Bulgarian citizen with the issuance of personal documents. This material presents the main provisions of the draft law.

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»NEW DRAFT LAW ON THE PROTECTION OF PERSONS REPORTING OR PUBLICLY DISCLOSING INFORMATION ON BREACHES
On 12 January 2023, a draft Law on the Protection of Persons Reporting or Publicly Disclosing Information on Breaches was submitted in the National Assembly. We remind that this is the third Bill related to the matter of whistleblowing submitted for adoption in the Parliament, as the previous Bills have not been adopted. The Bill transposes Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law, more commonly known as the Whistleblowing Directive. In this article, we focus on the differences in the proposed legislation compared to previous bills.

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»EU-U.S. DATA PRIVACY FRAMEWORK. DRAFT ADEQUACY DECISION
On 13.12.2022, the European Commission launched a process to adopt an adequacy decision for the safe transfer of personal data from the EU to the US. As a result of the adequacy decision, personal data will be freely and safely transferred without being subject to any further conditions or authorisations. The transfers can be handled in the same way as intra-EU transmissions of data. In the present publication you will be acquainted with the most significant aspects of the EU-USA transfer of personal data.

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»BULGARIA NOW ISSUES START-UP VISA FOR FOREIGN ENTREPRENEURS
By Decree No. 318 of 7 October 2022 the Council of Ministers adopted the Ordinance on the Conditions and Procedures for Issuing, Extending and Revoking a Certificate for a High Technology and/or Innovative Project called the “Start-up Visa”. A Start-up Visa is a certificate for a high-tech and or innovative project issued by the Ministry of Innovation and Growth, on the basis of which foreign entrepreneurs in the field of high-tech and innovation can obtain residence permit in Bulgaria. The possibility of obtaining a residence permit in Bulgaria on the basis of Start-up Visa was introduced as early as 2021, but until now the rules under which this new type of visa would be issued were not established and this possibility could not be used in practice. You can read more about the rules for issuing a Start-up Visa here.

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