practice area articles
By Batuhan Şahmay and Özlem Özdemir Yılmaz
Back to International Employment Law
KEY DEVELOPMENTS FOR 2020
Termination Ban and Unpaid Leave without consent
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Turkish Government has implemented a termination ban prohibiting employers from dismissing employees, except in cases of violations of the rules of ethics and goodwill. The termination ban was set to expire on 17 November 2020, but has recently been extended until 17 January 2021.
Employers are subject to an administrative penalty of the national minimum wage per employee if they fail to comply with this prohibition. In addition, employers may ask their employees to take unpaid leave (fully or partially) during the term of the termination ban without the need to obtain employees' consent. These employees will receive salary support amounting to TRY 39.24 per day from the Government while they are on unpaid leave or are unemployed for the periods of the termination ban. This salary support is also available to employees whose employment agreements have been terminated after 15 March 2020, and who cannot benefit from unemployment insurance benefits.
Short-Time Work Allowance
The Turkish Employment Agency has implemented short-time working, giving employers the right to apply for a short-time work allowance to fight the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The short-time work allowance is a means to provide employees with income support to be paid from the unemployment fund if and when their working hours are decreased by one third of their ordinary working hours, or the operations of a work place have been wholly or partially suspended due to a force majeure event.
Employers wanting to implement short-time working on the grounds of compelling reasons arising out of COVID-19 must inform the Turkish Employment Agency (and the trade union at the workplace, if any) in writing. In normal circumstances, the Turkish Employment Agency would then make a determination of suitability once the application has been received. However, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Turkish Employment Agency has stated that the payment for the short-time work allowance will be made without the need for a determination of suitability (although the employer will be liable to make a reimbursement if wrongful information and/or documents are provided).
The term of the short-time working allowance was set to expire on 30 June 2020, but this has recently been extended until 31 December 2020.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS FOR 2019
New law on the protection of personal data
The Law on Protection of Personal Data came into force on April 2018. It imposes various obligations on data controllers (e.g. employers) to inform data subjects, obtain consent where necessary, impose necessary precautions, implement data protection related policies and register with the data controller registry. Most of the data controllers will need to be registered at the data controller registry by 30 September 2019. Non-compliance with the law could result in an administrative fine between TRY 5.000 – 1.000.000. There could also be criminal liability as per Turkish Criminal Code.