As the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the world, the virus has become a primary concern for employers in Turkey.
The President of the Turkish Republic delivered a speech on March 18, 2020 where he stated that the government will furnish short-term working allowance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the application process for short-term working allowance will be facilitated and shortened.
You can use this legal alert to receive cursory information about the short-term working allowance, but as the COVID-19 situation evolves, so too will the laws affecting employers. The information in this legal alert is presented as of March 24 2020; the high-level guidance in this document is not intended to be comprehensive legal advice.
1.When can the short-term working allowance be provided to employees?
The Turkish Employment Institution provides short-term working allowance for employees working in workplaces whose activities are wholly or partly ceased for at least four weeks (regardless of whether this stoppage is continuous or not), or where the weekly working time is reduced temporarily by at least 1/3 due to a general financial, sector-based or regional crisis or compelling reasons.
If the workplace activities are ceased or the working time is reduced due to compelling reasons, the short-term working allowance will be provided one week after the occurrence of the compelling reasons. During this one week period, on the other hand, the employer must pay the employee half of their salary.
2.Does the employer have to apply for the short-term working allowance?
Yes, the employer must apply to the Turkish Employment Institution for its employees to benefit from the short-term working allowance. The respective labor inspectors will evaluate the application and approve or reject the application.
With respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, as of March 23, 2020, employers can file applications for the short-term working allowance with the Turkish Employment Institution via e-mail.
3.What is the short-term working allowance amount?
The daily amount of the short-term working allowance is 60% of the average daily gross income of the employee, calculated based on the employee’s earnings subject to social security premiums in the last 12 months. The monthly amount of the short period working allowance cannot exceed 150% of the monthly minimum gross salary, which is currently TRY 2,943.
The short-term working allowance is provided on a monthly basis to compensate the employee for the hours that the employee does not work during the short-term working period.
The Presidency of the Turkish Republic is authorized to determine whether the short-term working allowance will be deducted from the employees’ unemployment insurance pay entitlements.
4.How long will the short-term working allowance be provided to employees?
The short-term working allowance is provided to employees during the short-term working period. In any case, the allowance is provided for a term of maximum three months, and the Presidency of the Turkish Republic is authorized to extend this term to six months.