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Termination, short-time work and health and safety: what’s new in Turkey?

Written by
Bener Law Office, full-service Turkish law firm with strong international focus.
A bill introducing changes to the prohibition on termination of employment during the pandemic, to the short-time working allowance and to occupational safety rules in Turkey has recently been accepted and become law. This article provides details.  

The Bill of Law on the Amendments to Law of Unemployment Insurance and Certain Laws contains the changes set out below.

Changes to the prohibition on termination

The term of the prohibition on termination of employment is extended until 30 June 2021, for a maximum of three months each time. The following are excluded from the prohibition on terminating employment:

  • expiration of fixed-term employment or service contracts;
  • closure of the workplace and termination of a workplace’s activities for any reason;
  • any service procurement realised in accordance with the relevant legislation; and
  • termination of construction works.


(Amendments to Labour Law No.4857)

Changes to the short-time working allowance

1. An amendment allows the President to extend the application date for short-time working applications made due to compelling reasons arising from Covid-19 and / or the duration of the short-time working allowance either at a sectoral level or as a whole until 31 December 2020.

2. For insured employees benefiting from the short-time working allowance in private sector workplaces that applied before 1 July 2020; in the event that the short-time work ends and the employees return to their normal weekly working hours at the same workplace; for three months from the month following the end of the short-term working and not beyond 31 December 2020 the employer will be entitled to a sum amounting to the whole amount of insured employees’ and employer’s share premiums (calculated based on the lower contribution limit which is the basis of the premium determined according to the Article 82 of the Law No. 5510).

If an insured employee who applied before 1 July 2020 and received cash wage support returns to the weekly normal working period, the employer will also benefit from the support described above for the relevant insured employee.

The duration of support to be provided to the employer for each month cannot exceed the average monthly number of days in which the insured employee receives short-term working allowance for those who receive short-time working allowance ( temporary article 23) and cannot exceed the average number of days in which they receive cash wage support for those who benefit from the cash wage support (under temporary article 24).

There are some exceptions to this provision: details can be found here.

If these benefits were improperly or fraudulently obtained the sums received must be repaid along with a default penalty and default increase.

Employers that benefit from the incentives provided with this article cannot benefit from other insurance premium discounts, incentives and supports for the same insured employees during the month in question.

The amounts covered by the the provisions above will not be taken into account as income, expense or costs for income and corporate tax purposes.

The President is authorised to extend the three-month period specified above for up to six months either at a sectoral level or as a whole.

(Amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Law No. 4447)

Changes to occupational health and safety rules

From 1 July 2020, the obligation to employ an occupational physician and occupational safety specialist in workplaces with fewer than 50 employees and in a less hazardous class, which was supposed to enter into force on 1 July 2020 has been postponed until 31 December 2023.

(Amendments to the Law on Occupational Health and Safety No. 6331)

For more detailed information on all these changes, see here.

Batuhan Sahmay
Batuhan Sahmay
Partner - Turkiye
Bener Law Office