On 20 September, the penultimate meeting of the Working Group with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, negotiating the minimum insurable income by economic activities for 2012, was held. According to the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry the agreements from 2010 should be observed for the minimum social insurance thresholds for 2011.
The Chamber insists that an automatic increase of the minimum insurable income is not allowed, and in the cases where no agreement has been reached, the existing levels should be preserved or even decreased, if the experts of the Social Ministry have estimated a drop in the results of the respective economic sector. In this way the sustainable development of Bulgarian economy will be guaranteed.
Employers and trade unions have signed agreements for 32 out of 80 economic activities (following the changes in the National Classification of Economic Activities, the total number of economic activities is 80). For 48 activities no agreement has been signed, i.e. the social security thresholds from 2011 should be preserved.
Agreements have not been signed for 2 reasons – either there is no trade union, or employers and trade unions have totally opposite opinions, but in both cases a change in the thresholds, especially an automatic increase such as the one made last year, will cause more companies to enter the grey sector of economy, and more employees to lose their jobs.
The highest increase of the minimum insurance thresholds was negotiated with the National Bee-keeper Branch Association – 20.3%. An increase of 14.4% was agreed for hoteliers, 11.4% for agriculture, stock-breeding and hunting, 10.0% for trade in automobiles.
During the meeting, representatives of the employers (CEIBG, BIA, the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association) raised the question whether the Bee-keeper Branch Association was authorized to negotiate such increase for the entire economic activity and for anyone involved in bee-keeping. The agreement was signed between Mr. Plamen Ivanov from the National Bee-keeper Branch Association and the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (KNSB/CITUB).
On 27 September, the last meeting of the Working Group will take place, during which a final attempt to convince the Minister not to impose administrative increase of the social insurance thresholds with 7.2% will be made. This increase will stimulate the growth of the grey sector or unemployment. For over half of all economic activities no agreement has been signed or no agreement is possible.