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Short-Time Working Implementation within the Scope of The Law Numbered 7244

2020, Erdemir&Özmen Attorney Partnership

Short-Time Working Implementation within the Scope of The Law Numbered 7244

The Law on Mitigating the Effects of the New Corona Virus (Covid-19) Outbreak on Economic and Social Life with the Law on Making Amendments to Certain Laws, numbered 7224 (“the Law”) was published in the Official Gazette dated 17 April 2020 and numbered 31102. The Law makes quite significant legal arrangements in field of the Labor Law.

Our newsletter provides detailed information about “Short-Time Working” which is one of the legal arrangements made under the aforesaid Law.

What is short-time working?

Short-time working is an implementation which can be requested from the Turkish Employment Agency (“ISKUR”) providing income support to the insureds for the period, not exceeding three months, that they are unable to work at the workplace, in cases where the activity has been suspended in whole or in part for a period of minimum four weeks without seeking for the condition of continuity or the working hours have reduced temporarily at the rate of minimum one-third at the entire or a part of the workplace due to a general economic, sectoral, regional crisis or due to compelling reasons. If deemed necessary, this period may be extended up to 6 months by a Presidential Decree. Currently, there is no decree published in relation to the extension of the period in this regard.

With the Short-Time Working Allowance, the following facilities are provided: Payment of general health insurance premiums and payment of short-time working allowance to the employees as part of the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

Pursuant to the Regulation on Short-Time Working and Short-Time Working Allowance, epidemic diseases are characterized as a compelling reason. The employers that wish to benefit from the short-time working allowance within the scope of the current situation may apply for the ISKUR by stating their justifications that the working hours at the workplace have substantially reduced or the activity has ceased due to the corona virus outbreak. In order to qualify for the short-time working allowance; the Labor Inspectors should determine that the workplace is affected by this situation, in result of the conformity assessment they have carried out following the application.

What changes does the Law numbered 7244 contain in respect of short-time working implementation?

Pursuant to the temporary article 25 added into “the Law on Mitigating the Effects of the New Corona Virus (Covid-19) Outbreak on Economic and Social Life with the Law on Making Amendments to Certain Laws”, numbered 7224, published in the Official Gazette dated 17.04.2020 as we have referred to above: For the short-time working applications, on the ground of compelling reason, submitted by the employers due to the new corona virus (Covid-19), the short-time working allowance payment shall be made in line with the employers’ statements without waiting for the completion of the conformity assessment.

In other words, with the temporary article added into the Law, the short-time working allowance payment shall be made in accordance with the employers’ declarations without waiting for the completion of the conformity assessment, for the short-time working applications on the ground of compelling reason, submitted by the employers due to Covid-19.

Is the employee’s approval sought for short-time working decision?

Short-time working decision is an implementation which can be made alone by the employer and for which the employee’s approval is not sought. After the result of the conformity assessment carried out by the Labor Inspectors is communicated to the employer, the employer will announce the result at a workplace location visible by the employees and also communicate the result to the trade unions that are the parties to the collective labor agreement, if any. If the announcement is not possible, as a matter of fact it is possible for the employees not to be all together at the workplaces due to the current situation, the relevant written notification should be served on the employees subject to the short-time working.

In the short-time working implementation, the employer may either reduce the employees’ working hours or opt not to employ the employee at all for a temporary period. In these cases, the employment contract is suspended statutorily. However; this suspension period, occurred due to the short-time working, shall not exceed three months statutorily.

Does the employer’s obligation to pay the wage resume in the short-time working period?

Throughout the short-time working period, the employee’s obligation to perform the work and the employer’s obligation to pay the wage are considered as suspended in whole/in part. In this suspension period, the employer is obliged to pay the employee only a half wage for each day during the one-week period that the employment contract is suspended in case of compelling reasons, pursuant to the articles 24/III and 25/III of the Labor Code. The employer has to pay a half wage to his employees, even if he does not make their employees work.

In the former implementation, if the employer’s request for short-time working is accepted, the employee would start to receive the short-time working allowance payment after expiration of the one-week period prescribed. However, with the new implementation, the payments shall be made without waiting for the completion of the conformity assessment, for the short-time working applications on the ground of compelling reason, submitted by the employers.

In other words, with the temporary article added into the Law, the short-time working allowance payment shall be made in accordance with the employers’ declarations without waiting for the completion of the conformity assessment, for the short-time working applications on the ground of compelling reason, submitted by the employers due to Covid-19.

Is a sanction prescribed for the employers that have unjustly applied for short-time working allowance and/or have submitted incorrect documents in the application for short-time working allowance?

The payments, made in excess or improperly since the employer has submitted incorrect information and documents, shall be collected from the employer together with their legal interests. The mentioned legal arrangement has entered into force on the date of its publication (17.04.2020) provided that it applies as from 29.2.2020.

How will employees benefit from the short-time working allowance?

In order for the employee to benefit from the short-time working allowance; it is necessary that the employer has submitted the relevant application (With the new legal arrangement, the short-time working allowance payment shall be made in accordance with the employers’ declarations without waiting for the completion of the conformity assessment, for the short-time working applications on the ground of compelling reason, submitted by the employers due to Covid-19) and that the employee has become entitled to the unemployment allowance in terms of the number of days for the unemployment insurance premium payment and the working times on the date the short-time working has started (Among those who are subject to employment contract for the last 120 days before the date the short-time working started, those who have paid unemployment insurance premium for a period of minimum 600 days within the last three years) and that the employee’s details are contained in the list of those who will participate in the short-time working, in result of the examination to be carried out by the Labor Inspectors.

The daily short-time working allowance corresponds to 60% of the insured’s daily average gross earning calculated by taking into consideration the insured’s earnings taken as basis for his last twelve months’ premium, and shall not exceed 150% of the gross amount of the monthly minimum wage. This allowance will be paid to the employee at the outset of each month, for the times that the employee has not worked. 

In conclusion, short-time working is an implementation which can be requested from the Turkish Employment Agency providing income support to the insureds for the period, not exceeding three months, that they are unable to work at the workplace, in cases where the activity has been suspended in whole or in part for a period of minimum four weeks without seeking for the condition of continuity or the working hours have reduced temporarily at the rate of minimum one-third at the entire or a part of the workplace due to a general economic, sectoral, regional crisis or due to compelling reasons.

With the new legal arrangement, the short-time working allowance payment shall be made in accordance with the employers’ declarations without waiting for the completion of the conformity assessment, for the short-time working applications submitted by the employers on the ground of compelling reason.

On the other hand, under the temporary article added into the Law, the payments, made in excess or improperly since the employer has submitted incorrect information and documents, shall be collected from the employer together with their legal interests. The mentioned article has entered into force on the date of its publication (17.04.2020) provided that it applies as from 29.2.2020. 

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