TAX PREFERENCES FOR CONSIDERATE EMPLOYERS
Tax breaks for employers who are considerate towards their personnel have been stipulated in the draft amendments to the Healthy and Safe Working Conditions Act. Currently, however, they are still being discussed by a working panel of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, but according to experts they will be moved to the Council of Ministers. The Executive Director of the Chief Labour Inspectorate Totyu Mladenov specified that the tax relief for the above-mentioned employers could reach 50% of the due tax. That preference should be included also in the Corporate Income Taxation Act, amendments to which were considered on second reading by the parliamentary Budget and Finance Commission. The other changes to the social law regard the introduction of a more strict control over labour medicine services which in the majority of cases function only formally. They are registered at the Ministry of Healthcare and their present number is 494. It is their responsibility to watch after employees' health and analyse the influence of their activities on health. It has been proposed that if grave violations are established, the Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and the Chief Labour Inspectorate would be entitled to delete those services from the register. Moreover, Life Insurance is to become obligatory for all people, working in risky conditions. Presently, employers are obliged to insure at their own expense these workers only against professional ailment and working accident. Meanwhile, the Chief Labour Inspectorate launched inspections in order to find out if the enterprises are observing the requirements of the Healthy and Safe Working Conditions Act, enforced on January 1, 2004. The campaign began on June 7 and will continue till June 25. Inspectors will visit 270 companies for the production of plastics and 72 rubber manufacturers. The inspection has been initiated as 40% of the traumas in chemical industry are in the above-mentioned enterprises. The workers in the branch are subject to the influence of harmful noise (42%), excessive temperatures (29%), and toxic substances (22 per cent). The first national campaign of the kind was held from January 26 to February 27, in the chemical industry again, and the results from it were not very promising. It was found out that regardless of the requirements of art. 16 of the Healthy and Safe Working Conditions Act, in just about half of the inspected enterprises the professional risk had been assessed and a programme to avoid it had been prepared. Still, violations regarding the providing of personal safety means and special working clothes were reduced from 42% in 2003 to 23% in 2004. The inspectors were forced to decommission ten machines and to give 610 obligatory recommendations. Ten employers, two officials, and two workers were held responsible for administrative and criminal violations. It was established that the renovation of equipment and technologies in the branch, aged 25-30 years on the average, that do not quite meet the labour safety requirements, will cost about BGN3BN to BGN4BN. Among those who meet to the greatest extent the requirements of the law are some of the chemical plants, such as Prista Oil, Solvay-Sody, and Neochim. However, serious violations have been established in Agropolychim AD, Kaltzik AD-Assenovgrad, and Polymers AD-Devnya.344 milk processing enterprises and dairy producers employing 7,683 people were inspected in April 13 - 27, 2004. 3,222 violations were found in them, of which 86% related to providing safe and healthy labour conditions, and 14% concerning the labour contracts. In the course of its inspection the Chief Labour Inspectorate decommissioned 44 machines and issued 3,116 obligatory recommendations. A hundred and seventy employers and officials were held responsible for criminal violations. Good practice of observing labour legislation was established in 37 enterprises. There are also small companies among them, e.g. Madant EOOD, Shabanov ET, Matev-Mlekoproduct, etc. And that is an indication that problems depend on good will apart from financial resources.