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Measures Taken in The Field of Labor and Social Security Within the Scope of The State of Emergency

Measures Taken in The Field of Labor and Social Security Within the Scope of The State of Emergency

Turkiye
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Following the 7.8. and 7.5. magnitude earthquakes occurred in Kahramanmaraş on 06.02.2023, the Presidential Decree on the declaration of the State of Emergency for 3 months in the cities affected by the earthquakes was adopted by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 09.02.2023 and was published in the Official Gazette No. 32100 dated 10.02.2023. A number of measures concerning work and social security field were also envisaged in the scope of the State of Emergency.

With the said Decree No.125, for earthquake victims in the regions where the State of Emergency was declared, some measures were taken regarding the provision of cash wage support and the extension of certain deadlines stipulated under the Law on Trade Unions and Collective Labor Agreements, as well as measures regarding short-time working allowance and prohibition to dismiss employees, which we remember from the pandemic period that we have recently experienced.

In addition, the Decree also discussed the functioning of certain practices in the field of social security in terms of health service providers in the cities affected by the earthquake. 

What Are The Measures Implemented by the Decree?

A Short-Time Working Allowance Will Be Ensured.

  • During the State of Emergency, a short-time working allowance will be given without waiting for the completion of the eligibility determination, upon the application of employers to the Turkish Employment Agency for workplaces located in cities/districts, to be determined by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security from the area where the State of Emergency is declared, and/or workplaces documenting that they were destroyed, to be destroyed immediately , severely or moderately damaged due to earthquake “according to the earthquake effect status”.
  • The extra payments which were made due to the incorrect information and documents provided by the employer will be collected from the employer together with legal interest.
  • Applications can be made via E-Devlet.

Cash Wage Support Will Be Provided From the Unemployment Insurance Fund

  • A Daily cash wage support of 133.44 Turkish Liras will be provided from the Unemployment Insurance Fund, during the period of short-time working or the period of unemployment, not exceeding the duration of the State of Emergency for the employees who have an employment contract as of 06.02.2023 in the cities where the state of emergency is declared and who fulfill the following conditions
  • Those who don’t have a new entitlement based on the short-time working application made by their employer on the grounds of regional crisis caused by the effects of earthquakes and
  • Those, whose employment contract was terminated after 06.02.2023 due to the shutdown or closure of the workplace due to the effects of earthquakes and who don’t have a new unemployment benefit entitlement under the same Law,
  • Applications can be made via E-Devlet.
  • In terms of providing cash wage support, the condition of not receiving an old-age pension from any social security institution will be sought and cash wage support will be provided after the remaining periods of entitlements that can be started before, if any, are completed.
  • Among those who benefit from cash wage support, those who are not covered by the general health insurance holder or the dependents of the general health insurance holder, will be considered as general health insurance holders and their premiums regarding the general health insurance will be covered by the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
  • The overpayments due to the incorrect information and documents provided by the employer will be collected from the employer together with legal interest.

Prohibition of Dismissal was Stipulated in order to Safeguard the Continuity of Employment

  • Any employment or service contract in the cities where the State of Emergency has been declared, cannot be terminated by the employer during the State of Emergency, starting from 22.02.2023, except the exceptions listed below.
  • Employment or service contracts in the cities where the State of Emergency has been declared can only be terminated for the following reasons:
  • Cases and similar reasons that don’t comply with the rules of morality and good faith figuring in the sub-paragraph of Article 25 of the Labor Law no. 4857 (“Labor Law”) titled “Cases and similar that do not comply with the rules of morality and good faith” and in the relevant provisions of other laws,
  • Termination of the term in fixed term employment or service contracts,
  • The closure of the workplace for any reason and the termination of its activity,
  • The termination of the work in all kinds of service procurements and in constructions works realised according to the relevant legislation.
  • The employer or employer’s representative who terminates the employment contract in violation of the provisions of this article, will be imposed an administrative fine by the Provincial Directorates of Labor and Employment Agency in the amount of the monthly gross minimum wage determined according to the Article 39 of the Labor Law.

Certain Deadlines Will Be Extended During the State of Emergency

The deadlines in the scope of Law No. 6356 on Trade Unions and Collective Agreements regarding; the granting of authorization determinations, the conclusion of collective labor agreements, the settlement of collective labor disputes, the resolution of collective labor disputes and strike and lockout will be extended for the duration of the State of Emergency in the cities where the State of Emergency has been declared as of 06.02.2023 (including this date).

  • Pursuant to the third paragraph of the Article 38 of the Labor Law, “the one-month period stipulated for the deposit of penalty deductions from workers’ wages to the account of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security to be used and spent for the training and social services of workers” will be extended during the State of Emergency for workplaces in cities where the State of Emergency has been declared.

Measures Will Be Taken Regarding Social Security for Health Service Providers in Cities Where the State of Emergency is Declared

  • Advance payments of health service providers located in and/or providing services in the cities where the State of Emergency has been declared will be exempt from Article 35 titled “Advance Payment” of the Public Financial Management and Control Law No. 5018 during the State of Emergency.
  • Invoices, documents and annexes on which the payment of health expenses are based on and which should be submitted to the Social Security Institution (“SGK”) by health service providers located in and/or providing services in the cities where the State of Emergency has been declared, but which cannot be obtained due to the effects of earthquakes, may not be sought in the invoice audit.
  • Overpayment and improper payment and contractual penal clause debts of health service providers, located in and/or providing services in the cities where the State of Emergency has been declared; can be postponed by SGK during the State of Emergency.

By Cigdem Soysal, Senior Associate, and Alperen Kocalan, Associate, Ece Aksel, Junior Associate, KP Law