Personal Data Protection and Covid-19

The Personal Data Protection Act, aka KVKK in Turkey, was approved in 2016 and in the few years to follow, personal data processes were to be implemented based on this new legislation. Initially the end of this transition period was supposed to be over by November 2019, later postponed to early 2020 then again to June 2020. In the midst of Covid-19 pandemic, no one knows when the legislation will be fully implemented and how it will impact personal health data.  

KVKK is a comprehensive law that will radically change the way we deal with personal data. In the pandemic era, there are various components of personal data protection to take into account.

What If An Employee is Infected with Covid-19 at Work?

Some employees have the option to work from home, some don’t during this period. Those who are frontline workers, for example, have to be present at work. What if there is a Covid-19 case at your workplace? If there is an employee infected with the virus, the employer is required to inform all the workers, there is a Covid-19 case without disclosing the particulars of the employee. All the necessary precautions should have be taken for the co-workers who worked closely, with the worker who has Covid-19, within the past 14 days.

What If the Worker’s Relative is Tested Covid-19 Positive?

We know by now that Covid-19 can be highly contagious and sneaky in nature. For this reason, employers  need to be aware of the risks associated with employees’ family members with whom they are in close contact. In the case of a family member contracting COVID-19, the employee has to inform the employer as soon as possible. According to General Sanitary Law no.61, “Hospitals, schools, factories, workshops, charitable institutions, commercial offices, shops, hotels, prison officers, caretakers, elderly delegations that have patients in their neighborhoods, dentists, and employees of the gas station are obliged to notify the relevant authority if they encounter this case. ”

Employers whose employees are ill at home or in the hospital need to maintain their health reports in the best way and take additional safety measures.

If there are Covid-19 symptoms that manifest in an employee or an employee relative or if these people travel abroad within the last 14 days, this should be reported to the employer. The employer needs to announce the situation to the workplace, without sharing personal information, and take the necessary measures for the safety of the entire workforce.

And the Field Workers?

Field workers such as courier, postman, driver, sales representative who work outside of the office space have a high risk of transmission from the field. If the worker encounters someone who has a positive Covid-19 test on the field, he must report it to his employer immediately.

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