Unfortunately, it is a fact that the world is facing a large-scale pandemic. It's an unknown virus, the SARS-CoV-2, also known as the Corona virus, which spreads very quickly from human to human and even from matter to human. Besides the treatment and control of this virus, every country is working to stop or delay the spreading of the virus. The Turkish government also imposed the necessary measures and advised everyone as far as possible to stay at home. Some companies such as restaurants, hairdressing salons, sports and entertainment places were obliged to close the doors. But what about the companies that are not obliged? Of course, human health comes first. But what does this mean for the workplace in long term? What measures can the employer take? Is the employer obliged to continue to pay the salary? Can the employer expect support from the government? What does the governments financial support involve?
Adjusted working hours, working remotely or on an ad-hoc base
In cases of force-majeure, such as the current epidemic, the employer has the right to change the working conditions unilaterally. For example, one can apply adjusted working hours or even adjusted functions. The employer may require the employee to work remotely or on an ad-hoc base.
It is also possible for the employee to receive paid leave, on condition that the relevant leave days are compensated within two months after the force-majeure situation no longer exist. The government has increased the legal limitation from 2 months to 4 months. The compensation working hours are limited with a maximum of 3 hours per day.
Taking Annual Leave
One of the most common methods is to use the build up annual leave days or the annual leave days to be build up. According to the Employment law, the employer has the right to determine the period for the statutory leave days. The only limitation that the employer must take into account, is that the days of leave must be consecutively granted. Other constructions are possible by mutual consent.
Unpaid leave has no legal basis in the Turkish Labor Law. Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, an employer cannot require an employee or vice versa to use unpaid leave. If an employee is obliged to use unpaid leave for longer than one week, the employee has the right to terminate the employment contract with legitimate reasons.
The Turkish Labor Law does not provide for global force-majeure as it currently prevails. The only provision that the Labor Law prescribes in this situation, is that if the work is stopped for compelling reasons, the hourly wages of the employee can be halved for a maximum of one week.
State aid on wages and income tax
These are unknown times. The Corona virus not only threatens human health, but also the wallets. Assuming that most people will survive this epidemic in good health, of course after everything is over they will want to return to a revolving workplace. But how does the employer keep the business in a healthy balance if there is no production or sales market? To ensure that no massive job losses occur, the Turkish government announced that companies and self-employed employers can count on financial support for their staff.
What does this financial support mean?
It concerns a financial contribution in wages and payroll tax payment for a period of 3 months. However, there must be a reduction in working hours at the workplace. The employer must submit the application for the financial support digitally via the government agency; İŞKUR.
The amount of the allowance is determined on the basis of 60% of the average daily gross salary, calculated on the basis of the employee's contribution for the last twelve months. The total payment of working time reduction may not exceed 150% of the gross amount of the monthly minimum wage.
If you have any questions or comments about your working conditions or if you would like to have assistance with applying for short-term financial support, please contact us.