Special Deductions from Wages

The cost of wages and additional earnings of the workers to the employers is not the same as the actual wages and earnings that the workers make. The worker’s insurance and “citizenship” require insurance and tax payments from wage earnings. These are deducted from the worker’s wages by the employer and paid to the relevant institutions. Apart from these cuts regulated by law, deductions due to special circumstances may also occur. These may be wage confiscation due to the worker’s debt, as well as damage and loss due to the normal flow of his/her work. These deductions can be different depending on the job or occupation. This article will focus on special deductions without legal basis. 

The worker’s wage for his labor is sacred. The employer cannot reduce the wage by his own decision. Worker’s consent is required for any reduction in wages. In addition, one of the issues of the Code of Obligations related to this issue is that the worker’s debt to the employer cannot be exchanged for the wage that the employer is obliged to pay to the worker. Making these deductions from the wage without the worker’s consent means the underpayment of the wage. Under some conditions, the employee may be entitled to severance pay by terminating his employment contract for just cause due to his underpaid wages. The general predominant opinion is that no debt/damage can be collected from the wage of the worker without a court decision. 

Employers who want to make deductions from the wage of the worker in matters not specified in the law should pay attention to these issues. Instead of these cuts, the penalty to cut wages can be implemented. This right is regulated in the 38th article of the Labor Law 4857. If the employer wants to provide discipline in the workplace, he may impose a “wage cut penalty”, provided that he informs the workers in advance about the conditions under which this penalty will be imposed. Up to 2 days of the monthly wage of the worker can be deducted. The deducted amounts are deposited into the account notified by the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Security. 

Debt/Bankruptcy Deductions and Alimony

The salary confiscation process is initiated by directing the debts that the worker has not paid to his employer by the Enforcement Directorate. The debtor is the worker, but the employer is responsible for collecting the debt from the wage.

Alimony payments and debts sent through the enforcement office are legal deductions from the worker’s wage. The alimony amount is determined by the court decision. It is not left to the worker or employer to determine the amount to be deducted from wages in this regard. However, the confiscation of salary for other debts can be made by preserving 3-fourths of the original wage of the worker. In monthly payments against the worker’s debts, at most ¼ of the net original wage can be seized.

Private Insurances

One of the applications that we encounter frequently is the double-sided private insurance payments of the worker and the employer. The employer may pay private health insurance or private pension contributions to insurance companies on behalf of their workers. On the payroll, it is indicated in the worker’s total earnings. When such insurance payments are made bilaterally, that is, a share that the worker must pay together with the employer’s share is determined. These amounts can be deducted from the net wage and sent to the insurance company, with the consent of the worker. It is possible to deduct the private health insurance and IPS to be paid by the insured for his/her personal or spouse-children from his/her pay with his/her approval and request.

Cash Indemnity and Missing Product

Cash indemnity is usually paid to those who are responsible for the cash desk, the treasury, and the money exchange at workplaces. The purpose of this compensation is to support workers at risk. However, most of the employers think that when they pay the cash compensation, it is okay to collect the indemnity from the employee’s wages. However, this is a wrong assumption.

Of course, the cash indemnity that may arise from the worker’s fault can be collected from the worker. This applies to situations where the defect can be pinpointed and the worker acknowledges it. However, at the point of collection, instead of directly deducting the deficit from the worker’s wage, it is the best practice to “demand that the employee pay the amount to the workplace”.

Events that lead to situations such as cash deficit and missing products can be based on many reasons. If the disputes in these matters cannot be agreed by the worker and the employer, they are resolved in courts. Even in matters where the worker is seen at fault, precise determination is required. When the Supreme Court decisions are examined; the fact that the safe is broken, the counting is done in the absence of the responsible worker, technical problems, and the fact that the worker is open to error due to working without permission/break, can lead to different results.

When there is a cash deficit, a report should be taken, counting operations should be carried out at the time of the incident and under the supervision of the person responsible for the safe. Then, the responsible people’s plea must be taken.

Traffic Penalty

It is common for the worker to be punished with traffic tickets by violating the traffic rules while driving the company vehicle.

In common practices, when signing the employment contract or making a debit contract, the employee who will use the vehicle needs to understand the procedures in these matters. However, some disputes may arise when it comes to punishment. It would be wrong to deduct the traffic penalty from the wage without taking the plea of the worker, specified in the contract and without the approval of the worker.

The statements of the worker about the subject that caused the penalty may in some cases change the penalty. For example, the employee’s driving almost all day, uninterrupted shifts and work pace that exceeds human power. These are the elements that can eliminate the responsibility of the worker regarding traffic fines. Technical problems such as the fact that the vehicle maintenance is not carried out regularly by the company and the malfunctions are not corrected may also be caused by technical problems. It is appropriate to demand the penalty amount from the worker as a result of the detailed investigation of the events and the acceptance of the error by the worker. Even if the employee has approved the deductions related to traffic fines in the employment contract, every time a traffic ticket occurs, it is necessary to get approval from the employee within the scope of that issue.

Limit Exceeding (Telephone, Internet, Gas etc.)

Employers who provide workers with some opportunities and work materials can set limits on services such as telephone, internet, and gasoline. For example, for a job using a telephone, a minute limit may be set for the worker when providing this, or a mileage limit that is sufficient for the worker to use in his work. When these limits are exceeded, the employer may assume that the workplace has been damaged and may want to request the excess from the worker.

Just like traffic fines, the worker’s approval is essential in this matter. This approval must be carried out in any case, with the defense of the worker. Even if he gives consent, when the deductions from his wages are the subject of a lawsuit, it is possible to encounter issues where the employer, not the employee, will be deemed unfair. The correct way is to demand the amount from the worker if the worker has obvious negligence, and the situations that the worker does not accept is to be clarified in the judiciary.

Material Damages Caused

In the Code of Obligations; 

In article 407 under the heading “Protection of Wages”, it is stated that “receivables arising from a fixed loss by a judicial decision deliberately caused by the worker can be exchanged as much as the seizable part of the wage”. In other words, it is stated that employer receivables arising from damages deliberately caused by the worker can be deducted from the wage. However, it is ruled that the deduction amount can be as much as 1 in 4 of the wage as in the attachment of the salary. However, it is stipulated that the most important condition for this is “a judicial decision”. As a result, it is illegal to recover the damage caused by the worker without a court order.

Major damages caused by the worker may also result in the termination of the employment contract by the employer for just cause. For this to happen, the damage must have been caused by the worker’s negligence or deliberate behavior.

In Article 25 of Labor Law numbered 4857:

(I) The situation that the worker endangers the safety of the work because of his own will or his negligence, damages and loses the machines, installations or other goods and materials that are owned or not owned by the workplace but cannot pay the amount of the thirty-day wage and the situation is justified for termination by the employer. 

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