Short-term work allowance, cash wage support, unpaid leave and termination ban are among the measures that were introduced by the Turkish government to fight against the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. With the acceleration of the vaccination process and the decline in hospitalized cases, pandemic support is ending one by one within the normalization journey.
Prior to the pandemic, short-term work was a government support provided to those working in workplaces that had suspended their activities or reduced their working time due to a crisis or compelling reason. After the pandemic was included in the scope of “compelling reason”, the companies adversely affected by the pandemic and applied for short term work by March 2020 started to receive short-work allowance. Firms provided their workers with wage payments as short-term work allowance for the periods they could not work. While the short-term work allowance paid 60% of the worker’s wage, the maximum amount paid was 1.5 times the minimum wage.
Short-term work applications were submitted from companies in March to June 2020. Then, the right to benefit from short-term work was automatically extended for those workplaces. The application deadline was between December 2020 and January 2021. With the President’s decree, the short-term work allowance continued to be paid until 30 June 2021. Finally, as of June 30, 2021, it will not be possible to benefit from the short-term work allowance due to the pandemic. However, workplaces can apply for a short-term work allowance if they fulfill the short-work requirements without being associated with the pandemic.
Temporary Article 10, the ban on termination of employment, was added to the Labor Law No. 4857 on April 16, 2020 in order to prevent unemployment. According to the article, employers could not terminate the contracts of their workers, except for the reasons for dismissal, which were excluded from this date (conditions that do not comply with 4857-25 / II moral and goodwill rules and similar reasons, termination of a fixed-term employment contract, closure of the workplace and termination of activity).
As of June 30, 2021, the termination ban expires, thus, employers are able to terminate the employment contract.
With the Temporary Article 10, employers were given the right to one-sided unpaid leave authorization. Unpaid leave, which could only be applied with the proposal of the worker and the consent of the employer under normal conditions, became under the employer’s jurisdiction. In other words, employers could not terminate the employment contract, but could send the worker on unpaid leave. This practice ended with the expiration of the ban on termination.
It is not possible for workers on indefinite unpaid leave to continue their unpaid leave after 30 June without their own approval. The worker can return to work as of 1 July. The employer cannot force the worker to take unpaid leave again. Unpaid leave can only be applied with the consent of the worker.
Cash Wage Support
Along with the employer’s ban on termination of employment contract and the employer’s unilateral unpaid leave decision, the cash wage support ended as of June 30, 2021.
The “Return to Employment Incentive” introduced by law number 17256 during the pandemic, and other employment incentives (law number 27256) come to an end with the expiration of the termination ban. The Return to Employment Incentive was granted to employers who re-employ their employees who had left their work between January 1, 2019 and April 17, 2020, and the informal workers.
The additional employment incentive with law number 27256 was given government support for each additional employee employed in the January 2019-April 2020 period, taking into account the total number of employees in whichever month the employer employed the lowest number of insured.
These pandemic incentives also end on June 30th.