Within the scope of governmental measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the President of the Turkish Republic delivered a speech on June 29, 2020 announcing the extension of the short-term working allowance, as well as the termination prohibition for employment agreements and unpaid leave, for an additional month.
Accordingly, the Presidential Decisions No. 2706 and No. 2707 were published in the Official Gazette dated June 30, 2020, and numbered 31171.
What Do the Presidential Decisions Say?
Prohibition of Termination and Unpaid Leave
According to the Law on Reducing the Effects of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on Economic and Social Life and the Law on the Amendment of Certain Laws No. 7244, from April 17, 2020 until July 17, 2020, employers were prohibited from terminating any kinds of employment or service agreements (i.e. labor service), regardless of whether or not the agreement is covered by the Labor Law, except for terminations arising from the employee’s behavior contrary to the rules of ethics and goodwill and similar cases in section (II) of the first paragraph of Article 25 of the Labor Law and the respective provisions of other laws. The same laws regulated that the employer can completely or partially send an employee on unpaid leave during the termination prohibition.
The Presidential Decision No. 2707 extended the termination prohibition and the employers’ option to send their employees on unpaid leave during such period, until August 17, 2020.
Short-term Working Allowance
The Presidential Decision No. 2706 extended for an additional month the short-time working allowance for workplaces that applied for such allowance due to compelling reasons arising from the COVID-19 pandemic until June 30, 2020 (inclusive), without the need for a new application and a compliance review, for the same employees who have been benefiting from the short-term working allowance and based on the same terms. The beginning of the one-month extension period is determined as explained below:
- For the workplaces where the short-term working system ended before June 30, 2020, the one-month period will start on July 1, 2020.
- For the workplaces where the short-term working system is still continuing as of June 30, 2020, the one-month period will start on the date when the short-term working system ends for the respective workplace.
In addition, the short-term working allowance payments made due to compelling reasons arising from the COVID-19 pandemic will not be deducted from the initially determined unemployment insurance benefit periods of the employees.
The COVID-19 pandemic substantially affected Turkey and the Turkish employment practice. The government continues to take certain steps to provide assistance to employers and to protect employees. We recommend employers monitor all developments as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.
Please stay up to date with further developments through the Esin Attorney Partnership Coronavirus Helpdesk.