Public holidays are costing Bulgarian companies hundreds of millions of leva in losses, the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has complained, amid the two months that see about half the year’s holidays.
Bulgaria has nine days’ public holidays. This year, Easter – fixed according to the date used by Eastern Orthodox Christianity – was in April, while May began with Labour Day making a long weekend, and another holiday – St George’s Day and Army Day – on May 6.
In previous years, successive governments declared May 1 to 6 a continuous public holiday, declaring some Saturdays in the month “working days” to compensate. This year, the government has not done so, but reports suggest many Bulgarians have taken the time off anyway.
The BCCI said that although some of the holidays are compensated for by weekend work, employers complained that they could not fully recover their losses.
BCCI secretary Vassil Todorov told public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television that there were higher costs for employers because of compulsory overtime pay for working at weekends.
According to “rough estimates” by the BCCI, one public holiday means 96 million leva (about 48 million euro) less for the state treasury.
Todorov said that at weekends, work efficiency was “always low”.
The BNT report said that there were winners from the holidays, such as tourism and the retail trade.
Separately, bTV reported, quoting the Institute for Analysis of Tourism, that close to 100 000 Bulgarians had “merged” their days off from May 1 to 6.
Most were spending their holidays in Bulgaria.
In contrast, a bank card payment company said that over the four-day Easter holiday in April 2015, Bulgarians spent more than 13 million leva abroad. Most of the funds were spent in Italy and the UK.
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