Sofia Echo


Bulgarian businesses cry foul over compulsory sports facilities proposal

Author: The Sofia Echo staff Date: Tue, Mar 20 2012 2123 Views
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Most Bulgarian businesses reject a draft bill that would require employers providing more than 100 jobs to be compelled to provide at least one room for sports facilities for employees, according to a poll by the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).
The BCCI said on March 20 2012 that it had canvassed its members on proposed changes to the Spatial Planning Act and to legislation on sport that would require newly-constructed manufacturing, administrative or other business buildings with a capacity of more than 100 jobs to provide a sports room along with accompanying facilities such as showers.
Employers with existing buildings would be required to provide their employees with opportunities to use other sports facilities or equipment or should renovate their buildings to provide such facilities.
Most of those polled said that they saw no need for the changes.
"Business recognises the need to encourage citizens, whether working or not, to play sport but does not consider changes to the law are necessary," the BCCI said.
The BCCI, citing the poll results, said that at a time when Bulgarian business was facing difficulties and foreign investment was on the decline, putting additional obligations on employers would prejudice businesses, including in the implementation of future projects.
The chamber said that a separate poll in February had underlined the need felt by employers for the business climate to be predictable.
Most leaders of businesses in Bulgaria did not believe that the proposed changes would encourage more people to play sport.
"Sport is a matter of personal choice, and every employee makes their own choice about how they perk themselves up and combat fatigue," the BCCI said.
Businesses saw the proposals as "controversial" including in the vagueness of what was meant by "sports facilities" and they wanted tax breaks for companies that implemented them. They said that going ahead with the changes would mean increased costs of goods and services for consumers.
One respondent said that the definition was so vague that it could be argued that it could be met by providing a room "empty of all but flooring".
Increased costs would discourage foreign and domestic investment and 60 per cent of those polled said that the economic efficiency of newly-constructed buildings would be reduced by having to meet the requirement for sports facilities and bathrooms.  

Individual comments made by respondents to the survey included that it was a violation of free market principles, and that such an investment would mean not only spending on building the facility but also on maintaining it.

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