The Law on Minimizing the Impacts of New Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak on Economic and Social Life and Amendment of Certain Laws numbered 7244 (the “Amendment Law”) has been published in the Official Gazette dated 17.04.2020 and numbered 31102, and entered into force.
The most significant amendments introduced to the (i) Turkish Labour Act, (ii) Act on Trade Unions and Collective Bargaining Agreements (iii) Unemployment Insurance Act, are as follows;
- Termination of employment contracts by employers is prohibited for three months as of 17.04.2020.
- The employers can impose unpaid leave without the employee’s consent during the prohibition period of three months.
- The terms regarding the authorization of the unions; conclusion of collective bargaining agreements; resolutions of disputes regarding collective bargaining; strikes and lock-outs are extended for three months.
- Short-time working allowance will be paid based on the employer’s statement, without waiting for the finalization of the eligibility check.
- Termination of employment contracts, including those being subject to the Code of Obligations and other employment-related acts such as Press Labour Act, Maritime Labour Act, by the employers will be prohibited for three months as of the effective date of the Amendment Law. The only exception to this is the termination of employment based on just cause due to cases which are incompatible with moral, good will and similar circumstances.
- The President is entitled to extend the term of three months’ termination prohibition up to six months.
- In case of any termination of employment in breach of the above mentioned provision, the employer/employer representative will be subject to an administrative fine at the amount of monthly gross minimum wage for each employee terminated.
- Employers will be entitled to impose unpaid leave, partially or in full, on the employees during termination prohibition period. The employee cannot terminate the employment contract based on just cause due to the implementation of unpaid leave.
- Up until the end of the termination prohibition period at the latest, a monetary support of TRY 39,24 will be provided from the Unemployment Insurance Fund, for each of the unemployed days or days that are spent on unpaid leave, provided that the employees are:
- on unpaid leave in scope of the termination prohibition and unable to benefit from the short-time working allowance; or
- dismissed after 15 March 2020 on grounds that are set forth under Article 51 of the Unemployment Insurance Act and unable to benefit from unemployment allowance; and
- Not benefitting from old age pension.
- If the employers continue to actively employ the employees who are put on unpaid leave and therefore, benefit from the monetary support, they will be subject to an administrative fine at the amount of monthly gross minimum wage, separately per employee who has been employed in that way and per month they have been employed. In such case, the monetary support will be collected back from the employer with the legal interest to be accrued as of the payment date.
- The terms regarding the authorization of the unions; conclusion of collective bargaining agreements; resolutions of disputes regarding collective bargaining; strikes and lock-outs are extended for three months as of the effective date of the Amendment Law. The President is entitled to extend this term of three months up to six months.
- For applications filed on grounds of compelling reasons caused by COVID-19, short-time working allowance will be paid based on the employer’s statement, without waiting for completion of the eligibility check. If the allowance is granted based on the false information or documents provided by the employer, the amount paid to the employees will be collected back from the employer with the legal interest to be accrued as of the payment date.
For further information on this topic please contact Beril Yayla Sapan or Asena Aytuğ Keser at Gün + Partners by telephone (+90 212 354 00 00) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Gün + Partners website can be accessed at www.gun.av.tr.
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