Amidst global economic uncertainties, the European Commission offers a cautiously optimistic outlook for Bulgaria, forecasting growth in the country's economy alongside a decrease in inflation
Bold Moves: Bulgaria Targets 5% Wage Hike in 2024 Budget Plan
The Bulgarian government has unveiled its ambitious plan for the 2024 budget: a minimum 5% real wage growth, matching the projected inflation rate. This bold move was the central theme of a recent high-level meeting, which saw Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov and Finance Minister Asen Vassilev engage with trade unions to chart a course for the country's fiscal future.
Dimitar Manolov, President of the Confederation of Labor "Podkrepa", revealed key insights during a subsequent interview with the Bulgarian National Radio. Notably, the government's vision includes a differentiated wage increase across various government departments. To achieve the target of 5% real wage growth, a nominal increase of at least 10% is necessary. The specifics of these increments will vary among departments, ensuring that no two sectors receive identical raises. Manolov clarified, "Those departments where no adjustments have been made in the last two cycles to offset wage gaps are expected to witness a slightly higher increase."
Manolov also highlighted the importance of addressing income policies within the administration sector. He stated, "So far, this has only pertained to the central administration, which has been notably lacking. It's a step I've long advocated for, and I believe anyone who keeps a close eye on these matters realizes that income policies within the administration sector have been marked by chaos and favoritism."
A significant shift in approach is on the horizon, as the government plans to engage representatives of trade unions in the budget formulation process within individual departments. This inclusive approach will allow unions to present their viewpoints and demands, ensuring a more balanced and consultative budgetary landscape.
The proposed 2024 budget also outlines a welcome increase in pensions, with a projected rise of approximately 10% scheduled for July next year. Additionally, consideration is being given to equalizing the second year of maternity leave with the minimum wage. For the coming year, the maternity leave salary will increase, reaching 933 BGN starting from January.
Although these budgetary adjustments show a commitment to enhancing social welfare, no changes to other types of benefits have been outlined at this stage. The potential allocation of Christmas supplements for pensioners for the current year remains uncertain, leaving room for further financial surprises in the year ahead.
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