As is customary, the new year is a time for change in different spheres. As of today, the minimum monthly wage will go up to 510 Leva. Maternity benefits during the second year will go up to 380 Leva, as will disability allowances.
Pension contributions will go up by 1 percent – for people born before 1 January, 1960 they will be 19.8 percent, and for people born after that date - 14.8 percent. Unemployment benefits are also going up – from 7.20 to 9 Leva per day, with a ceiling of 74.20 Leva per day. Changes are also introduced in pensioning eligibility conditions – in 2018 the retirement age for women will be 61 years and 2 months, with an occupational record of 35 years and 6 months, for men – the retirement age will be 64 years and 1 month with an occupational record of 38 years and 6 months.
Salaries of teachers in smaller schools and in schools in remote municipalities of the country will also go up. All teachers will have their transport expenses reimbursed and there will be additional financing for professional schools in spheres in which labour shortages are most severe.
As of today, salaries of army servicemen are also going up, the increase being higher for military personnel on deployment. 100 million Leva from the national budget has been earmarked for salaries – 77 million of that sum will be for salaries, the rest – for social security contributions. This means the increase will constitute 10-11 percent, or around 70-80 Leva per month.
In the private sector, salaries are expected mark a 10 percent increase.
After the economic growth last year, this year will be a year in which household incomes will go up, analysts say.
“The rise in salaries will be highest for highly qualified experts in leading sectors of the economy,” says Olga Chugunska from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “In some sectors connected with automotive parts, optics, computers and IT.”
The economy will be able to afford such expenses and increase earnings because the growth forecasts are more optimistic, says Deputy Minister of Economy Aleksander Manolev:
“One third of all investments next year will be in enhancing the production capacity of plants, 20 percent – in technical renovation and innovations.”
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