Spotlight on Bulgaria – A guide to implementing employee benefits technology
Famed for the Balkan Mountains and its Black Sea coastline, Bulgaria is rapidly becoming one of our most requested locations for implementing employee benefits technology, and this trend is likely to continue.
A highly skilled, multilingual workforce makes Bulgaria a hub for tech and online services. And in the war for talent, it’s the companies with comprehensive renumeration, benefits and intuitive benefits technology that come out on top.
So how can benefits help you attract and retain talent in Bulgaria?
The workforce is overwhelmingly young, and this younger generation demands flexible, relevant benefits, preferring options such as a leisure allowance over core private medical insurance and pension. They are also tech savvy, expecting a benefits platform that enables them to select their benefits seamlessly and quickly. Companies looking to catch their attention and retain talent need to bolster their offering, whilst heeding the cost-of-living limitations and other restrictions.
Here’s what you need to know about benefits in Bulgaria
Employers typically provide pension, private medical insurance, life, accident, and disability insurance as core…
- State-mandated benefit
- Supplementary pension contributions are growing in popularity, typically funded by the employee
- Employers above the market median might fund supplementary pension contributions themselves
Private medical insurance
- This is a highly valued benefit
- Most employers opt to fund employee-only cover
- Mixed funding plans are common, meaning employees can choose the level of cover that suits them or extend their policy to include family
- Offers access to more than 900 sports facilities across Bulgaria and over 500 different activities
- Activities include gym classes, swimming, dancing, yoga as well as climbing, water sports and spa facilities
- Employees can purchase additional membership cards for family members
- Companies don’t typically offer a wellbeing allowance due to the variety available through the MultiSport card
Health assessment and commuter allowance
- Health assessment is an annual requirement
- Many organisations offer a commuter allowance – this is not compulsory but is sometimes offered to help with season tickets
- Funded by the employer up to a tax free limit of BGN 200 a month
- Allocated based on days worked
- Can be redeemed at cafés, restaurants, and supermarkets
Two considerations for a benefits rollout in Bulgaria
- Local language
Many of our global customers prefer the platform in English, their business language; however in Bulgaria there is a preference for local language. In fact, most providers need reports in Bulgarian which uses the Cyrillic alphabet.
2. Administration needs
Enabling benefits changes through a platform can save local teams a lot of time as well as creating a better experience for employees. For example, allowing employees to select who to add to their medical cover online and see the impact on their salary.
Our benefit forecast
Bulgaria’s young, tech savvy workforce is influencing how benefits are changing in Bulgaria. Some of our customers, especially those in the tech sector, are already looking at how they can attract a younger workforce with competitive leisure and wellbeing support as well as expanding their offering overall.
Voluntary benefits are becoming increasingly popular with Bulgarian organisations due to the flexibility that comes with them and zero employer funding. Holiday purchase is a great example of this. It is now offered by most of our customers in Bulgaria, and uptake is only expected to grow over the coming years. Holiday purchase is popular with the younger generation and employers competing for attention in the tech and professional service industries.
To complement activities already on offer with the MultiSport card, many employers are introducing flex funds that let employees choose from a range of voluntary benefits, buy additional MultiSport cards or adapt their core offering. A discount portal can also support employees financially and create a personalised benefits experience.
Over the coming years we expect more flexibility and choice in Bulgaria, driven by local demand. Allowances and voluntary benefits will be important, as well as locally valued benefits such as MultiSport cards and meal vouchers. Intuitive benefits technology will help employers keep pace with the changing landscape, reduce unnecessary admin, and appeal to the emerging workforce.
Going global with benefits
Wherever your people are located, an exceptional employee benefits experience is foundational to your ability to attract and motivate the very best people. We recently created an overview of the benefits landscape in 12 popular countries, including Bulgaria. In our Going global with benefits guide, we share learnings to help you navigate local benefits, reduce benefits administration, and deliver benefits flexibility. Download your copy here.