In 2016 working mothers are offered new choices to work half time and/or part time up to some periods of time after birth in addition to existing post-natal leave entitlements, namely 8 weeks maternity leave and 6 months unpaid leave.
This newly introduced arrangement caused some confusion about the sequencing of the post-natal rights, i.e. which one should be used first.
After-birth rights of working women
After the Law No.6663 entered into force, working mothers has the following rights:
- After the maternity leave (After the maternity leave period stated in the first paragraph of Article 74 of Labor Law,) working women (or the male or female adopter of a child under three years of age) may work half time up to sixty days on first childbirth, one hundred and twenty days on second and one hundred and sixty days for the third child. Insurance premiums and wages corresponding to hours worked will be paid by employer, and insurance premiums and wages for off-hours will be covered by the state through Unemployment Insurance Fund.
- If the female employee so wishes, she shall be granted an unpaid leave of up to six months after the expiry of the sixteen weeks, or in the case multiple pregnancy after the expiry of the eighteen weeks (After the maternity leave period). This leave shall be granted to one of the married couple or the adopter who adopted a child under three years of age.
- After the leave periods set forth in Article 74 of Labor Law, mother or any of the parents may choose to work part time until the first day of the month following the date child’s compulsory schooling begins. If one of the parents is not working, this provision cannot be applied. Same right will be granted to adopters who, solely or together with the partner, adopted a child under three years of age, starting from the date the child is handed over to them.
- Which one should be used first?
As it is seen above, just after the 16 weeks statutory maternal leave mother may work half time up to above stated periods and/or may take 6 months unpaid leave. However it is not clear both in the law and in the related implementation regulation; and this ambiguity causes different interpretation from the point of employer and employee.
- Employers are tend to permit employees to choose either half time work after maternity leave period or just 6 months unpaid leave. But there is no restrictive provision to prevent using both of the rights one after another. Also no descriptive provision exists concerning which of them should be used first.
- Under this conditions; women who are not allowed to use one of these rights will have the right of terminating employment contract with just cause, and employer will be liable to administrative fine.
- As there is no explanatory provision in the arrangement, the sequencing of using post-natal rights should be at mother’s discretion. In other words, she may choose to use half time work first and then the 6 months unpaid leave, or other way round. Because according to letter of the Law both rights are available “after the maternity leave period.”
- When it comes to “right of part time work until the child begins to school,” the situation is quite clear. Letter of the Law set forth that this right may be used “after the leave periods set forth in Article 74 of Labor Law,” meaning it cannot be used before the half time work and 6 months unpaid leave if mother decided to use all of them. However it is possible for the mother to start working half time until the schooling date of the child without using the other rights.
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