Short work allowance has been the most important government support to eliminate the negative effects of the pandemic. Workplaces that reduce their working hours or stop their activities altogether apply for short work allowance provided that they meet the necessary conditions. The short work allowance ensures that workers receive an allowance to compensate economically for the times they cannot work. The workplace benefiting from this allowance cannot dismiss workers during the short work period. If the termination prohibition is not followed while benefiting from short work, the employer will be penalized.
As stated in the Provisional Article 23 of Law No. 4447, “In order to benefit from the short-term working practice within the scope of this article, no employee shall be dismissed by the employer in the period in which short work is applied, except for the reasons stated in sub-clause (II) of the first paragraph of Article No.” In other words, it is clearly stated that the employer cannot lay off workers during this period.
What Dismissal Codes are Prohibited?
The termination ban applies to all workplaces during the pandemic. An administrative fine of one minimum wage per person dismissed is imposed on the businesses that do not comply with this prohibition. Workplaces that violate the prohibition while benefiting from short work are both penalized in the amount of the minimum wage per worker they dismissed, and the total of the short work allowances paid are collected from the employer with interest.
If the employee wishes, (s)he may terminate the employment contract for any reason. However, the employer’s reasons to terminate work contracts are limited. Regardless of whether they do short work or not, from April 16, 2020 ( the effective date of Provisional Article 10 added to the Labor Law No.4857) to the end of June 30, 2021 (the deadline for the extension of the application by the last President’s decision), workplaces are NOT allowed to dismiss employees with the following SSI exit reasons:
01 – Termination of probationary employment contract by the employer,
04 – Termination of indefinite term employment contract by the employer without giving a just cause,
15 – Collective dismissal,
22 – Other reasons,
26 – Termination by the decision of the Disciplinary Board,
27 – Termination by the employer for mandatory reasons and due to detention,
28 – Termination by the employer for health reasons,
31 – Termination outside of his own request and fault within the scope of the Code of Obligations, Union Law, Strike and Lockout Law
32 – Termination due to privatization according to Article 21 of Law No. 32 – 4046
34 – Termination due to transfer of the workplace, change in the nature of the job or workplace
The employer can only dismiss the employee based on the behavior of the worker that does not comply with the moral and good intentions, stated in the clauses of Article 25 of the 4857 no. labor law, as one of the justifiable reasons.
What should be done when leaving work inadvertently?
Upon inspections, İŞKUR lists the employers who have laid off their employees with the banned codes. If it is determined that the employer did not comply with the prohibition, the short-time work allowances paid will be collected from the employer.
If the employer reports the exit code incorrectly, they must appeal and submit the necessary evidentiary documents to İŞKUR. With the appeal submitted to İŞKUR, the reason for dismissal must be updated both in the withdrawal statement and in the withholding premium service statement of the relevant period.
Cancellation of Short Work
The cancellation will be valid for the period in which the dismissal ban is violated. For example, suppose that the workplace that has benefited from short work since May 2020 violated the termination ban in November 2021. Short-time work allowances paid to workers from November 2021 will be canceled. There will be no cancellation for short-time work allowances related to the period before November 2021.
In the Circular of İŞKUR on Short Work Allowance and Cash Wage Support Applications dated February 11, 2021, explanations are included on the abandonment of unduly paid short work allowances from the employer. In this circular, it is stated that the collection and follow-up procedures should be initiated for the employers who have dismissed workers during the short term work. However, if there is any doubt as to whether the transaction is “wrongfully executed by the employers”, the issue will be examined and concluded by a commission established by İŞKUR. This commission will be formed under the chairmanship of İŞKUR provincial director, and will consist of at least 3 people, one of whom is the provincial deputy director or branch manager responsible for the unemployment insurance service.