Legalixa Law Firm is a full service Turkish Law Firm with a long record of excellence and professional leadership in Istanbul, Turkey. Our Turkish employment lawyers are prepared to handle your labor & employment law needs regarding employment contracts termination due to Covid-19 in Turkey. Legalixa Law Firm is a progressive, full-service Turkish law firm comprised of talented and effective attorneys who are dedicated to serving their client’s legal needs in Istanbul, Turkey. Based in Istanbul’s new financial district, Legalixa Law Firm is able to protect its clients’ rights throughout Turkey.
Employment Contracts Termination Due to Covid-19 in Turkey
According to the Turkish Occupational Health and Safety Code, the employer shall have a duty to ensure the safety and health of workers in every aspect related to work. In this respect; the employer shall take the measures necessary for the safety and health protection of workers, including prevention of occupational risks and provision of information and training, as well as provision of the necessary organization and means and shall ensure that these measures are adjusted taking account of changing circumstances and aim to improve existing situations.
If it is necessary for an employer to take himself/herself under quarantine due to an epidemic, if he/she is not yet sick, he/she wont be able to get temporary incapacity report or sick-leave report. In such a case, paid annual leave or unpaid leave will come to the fore.
Due to the epidemic, as the employer, you can choose to allow the employees take their annual leave. Employees who have completed a minimum of one year of service in the establishment since their recruitment, including the trial period can be allowed to take annual leave with pay. The employees might have already taken their annual leave with pay thus other option of the employer is to allow employees to take unpaid leave. According to Law, the employer should take written permission of employees to make them take their unpaid leave. In such a case, the employer shall keep paying insurance premiums of employees precisely.
Please note that according to Article 64 of Turkish Labor Code, in cases where time worked has been considerably lower than the normal working time or where operations are stopped entirely for reasons of suspending work due to force majeure or on the days before or after the national and public holidays or where the employee is granted time off upon his request, the employer may call upon compensatory work within two months in order to compensate for the time lost due to unworked periods. Such work shall not be considered overtime work or work at extra hours. Compensatory work shall not exceed three hours daily, and must not exceed the maximum daily working time in any case. Compensatory work shall not be carried out on holidays.
Another option is to keep paying the employees their salary and make them continue working out of Office, preferably from their houses through computers according to Article 14 of Turkish Labor Code. As I heard from many companies based in Turkey, employers prefer this option. I have talked with the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. They informed me that the Ministry neither have made an announcement regarding temporary close of company offices due to the epidemic nor protocols related that employers should stand on. Thus I suggest you to send an informative letter to the employees regarding the problem through e-mail and take their written statement indicating that they will keep working from their houses during the working days.
How to Terminate Employment Contracts in Turkey?
Termination With Valid Reasons: We always recommend our clients to specify valid reasons while terminating employment contracts, because an employee whose employment contract was terminated can file;
- a reinstatement claim or
- a compensation claim for bad faith damages.
According to Article 18 of Turkish Labor Act, the employer, who terminates the contract of an employee engaged for an indefinite period, who is employed in an establishment with thirty or more workers and who meets a minimum seniority of six months, must depend on a valid reason for such termination connected with the capacity or conduct of the employee or based on the operational requirements of the establishment or service.
- Reinstatement claims can only be filed against a Company that employ 30 or more than 30 employees and by employees that has at least 6 months of length of service.
- In cases where employment contracts of employees -who fall outside the scope of Article 18, (e.g. if there are less than 30 person employed in the Company)- are terminated by the employer, the employee will be able to file a lawsuit demanding compensation which amounts to three times the worker’s salary of the notice period claiming that the employer has terminated the contract with bad faith. To prevent such a lawsuit, an employer should specify a valid reason for terminating an employment contract.
Market stagnation, market share loss, raw material shortage, decrease on sales possibilities, decline in sale resources, implementation of new technologies, close down of several departments, etc. can be deemed as valid reasons for termination based on the operational requirements of the management, establishment or service.
Notice Period and Notice Pay
Before terminating a continual employment contract made for an indefinite period, a notice to the other party must be served by the terminating party. The contract shall then terminate:
- in the case of an employee whose employment has lasted less than six months, at the end of the second week following the serving of notice to the other party;
- in the case of an employee whose employment has lasted for six months or more but for less than one-and-a-half years, at the end of the fourth week following the serving of notice to the other party;
- in the case of an employee whose employment has lasted for one-and-a-half years or more but for less than three years, at the end of the sixth week following the serving of notice to the other party;
- in the case of an employee whose employment has lasted for more than three years, at the end of the eighth week following the serving of notice to the other party.
These are minimum periods and may be increased by contracts between the parties. You can choose to ignore the notice period. The party who does not abide by the rule to serve notice shall pay compensation covering the wages which correspond to the term of notice. Please note that, while calculating the notice pay, gross salary with material benefits that are provided to the employee regularly shall be taken into account.
Upon termination of the employment contract on the grounds other than stated in Article 25 (termination of the contract by the employer with rightful reasons) of the 4857 numbered Labor Act, the employee becomes entitled to severance pay. In case any labor contract is terminated for a reason that qualifies for severance pay, severance pay amounting to gross wages of 30 days for every full year of employment will be granted. For periods of more than one year, this will be proportioned and included in the calculation. Along with wages paid to the employee, severance pay calculations take into account the gross amounts of all money and material benefits that are provided regularly (travel allowance, food allowance, condition of regularity, bonus payments, etc.). The amount of severance pay paid for each full year of employment is limited by a severance pay upper limit in effect on the date of termination. (For 2020, 6.730.15 TL.)
While terminating an employment contract annual leave and overtime work of an employee (first 270 hours of overtime work are included to the salary) shall also be paid by the employer.
We’re Turkish Employment Lawyers
Legalixa Law Firm’s labor and employment lawyers represent employers in connection with virtually every aspect of the employment relationship. Legalixa Law Firm attorneys regularly represent both public and private-sector employers, both unionized and union-free, in administrative proceedings, arbitration, and in litigation before Turkish Employment Courts.
Legalixa Law Firm lawyers have experience in all aspects of Turkish labour laws including obtaining work permits. We represent employers in dealing with unions in collective bargaining and arbitration, and in defense of unfair labor practice charges. Legalixa Law Firm solicitors also have experience representing employers in union organizing campaigns, elections, and representation proceedings. Our immigration lawyers also assist our corporate clients to obtain work permits and resident permits for their expats from other countries.
Legalixa Law Firm solicitors are also experienced in all aspects of Turkish Labour & Employment law. We draft policies and employee handbooks and conduct training for management and for entire work forces in the areas of discrimination and sexual harassment. Legalixa Law Firm attorneys have successfully represented employers in proceedings before agencies having jurisdiction over discrimination cases in Turkey.
Most importantly, Legalixa Law Firm solicitors provide their clients with day-to-day counseling. In so doing, we assist employers in maintaining compliance with applicable laws and avoiding litigation by dealing with employees effectively and fairly within the bounds of the law.
We Draft Employment Contracts
Legalixa Law Firm lawyers have assisted clients with voluntary separation packages. Legalixa Law Firm also has experience in negotiating and drafting individual employment agreements, separation agreements, and non-compete agreements.
We Lecture HR Professionals
Legalixa Law Firm attorneys frequently provide lectures to human resource professionals and attorneys on a wide range of subjects related to the employment relationship.
Reach us for Employment Contracts Termination Due to Covid-19
Since its foundation, Legalixa Law Firm has been the choice of numerous clients in Turkey. We’ve always worked differently than other law firms. We are committed to remaining forward-thinking and preparing for the dynamically changing world of employment law. You may reach our law firm for Turkish employment contracts termination by sending an email or through Contact page.