The Bulgarian Ministry of Labour and Social Politics recently adopted an ordinance for employment-related electronic documents and the requirements for their creation and storage in an employee's file. The ordinance is effective as of 19th May 2018 and is based on Art. 128b, para 3 of the Labour Code.
The new ordinance provides the possibility of an electronic file of an employee to be created and kept by the employer. Both parties are now allowed to exchange electronic documents between them.
Employers who choose to create electronic files for their employees must follow specific technical requirements.
Documents which can be kept and stored electronically in employees files include:
- Labour contracts;
- Other documents with explicit agreement from both sides, such as contracts for amending of qualification, job descriptions, orders, notifications etc.;
- Documents created by employees – applications, consents etc.;
- Documents created by third parties – medical certificates, sick leaves, validated notifications and references based on Art.62 of the Labour code, documents issued by the NRA etc.
The creation of electronic documents can be done explicitly with the use of an electronic signature.
The regulation defines strict rules for electronic signatures
that can be used by employees for exchange of documents and
ordinary, enhanced or qualified electronic signatures.
It is important to note that the employer must inform all employees that a procedure is to be implemented with regards to the creation and storage of electronic documents in their files. Additionally, any exchange of electronic statements between the parties in a labour relationship must be agreed in a written format.
Unilateral electronic documents created by the employer as well as those requiring mutual consent of both parties must contain information on their author, the employer and the grounds for authorizing said author.
The electronic statements are served through the service "electronic recommended email" and a confirmation receipt of date and hour is issued.
All electronic documents are stored in a scanned format. The consistency between the scanned electronic image and the original document is proven by the electronic signature of the person who has scanned the documents.
An employee may make a request for a transcript of documents in electronic or paper format and the employer must fulfill such a request within 14 days. Paper issuance of a scanned document should be authenticated by a handwritten signature of an authorized person.
Employers should be aware of the fact that the creation and storage of electronic documents is implemented through an information system supported by the employer. In addition to the compliance requirements, the provisions of the law include specific technical requirements such as, among others, two-factor identification, reporting the time of occurrence of the facts with the accuracy to a second through a qualified time certificate, historical reference to all operations, identification of persons and e-mail addresses from which the operations were performed, receiving and sending documents through electronic recommended mail etc.
Eurofast strongly urges employers to consider their current practices, seek specialized assistance in developing new compliant approaches and ensure the prevention of accidental or unlawful destruction of documents and data, unauthorized access, modification or dissemination of data.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.