Government bodies have introduced progressive measures and restrictions to minimise the COVID-19 pandemic's negative impact on employment and sustain employment relationships. One of the most significant arrangements in this respect is the termination prohibition. However, mutual termination agreements have become a point of contention in light of this prohibition as they are unregulated under Turkish law.
Whether employers can review employees' corporate email accounts and rely on any findings collected during such an inspection in a potential termination is a controversial issue in terms of personal data protection and privacy. The Constitutional Court has rendered two recent decisions on the right to privacy and privacy of communication with regard to corporate email accounts. Both decisions elaborate in particular on employees' information rights.
Law 7251 on the Amendment of the Civil Procedure Code and Certain Laws (Amendment Law) recently entered into force. One of the significant amendments introduced by the Amendment Law concerns Article 281 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) 6100, which regulates parties' objections to expert reports. With this amendment, parties can now request an extension from the court to file their objections against expert reports under certain circumstances.
Pursuant to two presidential decrees recently published in the Official Gazette, the termination prohibition and unilateral unpaid leave, which were to expire by 17 November 2020, have been extended until 17 January 2021. Further, the short-time working allowance granted due to COVID-19 has been extended until 31 December 2020.
Law 7251 recently entered into force, allowing the courts to conduct remote hearings through video and audio transmission either upon the parties' request or ex officio under certain circumstances. Although remote hearings are not new to Turkish law, allowing more space for such practices is significant given the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this practice is available only in certain courts and more widespread use may create capacity problems for the existing judiciary infrastructure.
When the new Code of Civil Procedure was enacted, it enabled plaintiffs to file actions for unquantified amounts of receivables, the determination of which is left to the courts. The General Assembly of the Civil Chambers of the Court of Cassation General Assembly recently ruled that if an action for an unquantified amount of receivables is initiated despite the amount being determinable, the courts should not immediately reject the case but should instead proceed with the trial by deeming the action a partial action.
Shortly after the publication of Law 7252 in the Official Gazette, several presidential decrees were published, extending the termination prohibition, unilateral unpaid leave and the short-time working allowance. Following these developments, employers are prohibited from terminating employment contracts until 17 November 2020 and can impose unpaid leave without employee consent until 17 November 2020.
Pursuant to two presidential decrees recently published in the Official Gazette, the termination prohibition and unilateral unpaid leave, which were to expire by 17 July 2020, have been extended until 17 August 2020. Further, the short-time working allowance granted due to COVID-19 has been extended for one month.
Turkey is currently going through the so-called 'normalisation phase' of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the regular weekend curfew being lifted, the interprovincial travel restrictions being removed and the age limit of people subject to continuous curfew being lowered as of 1 June 2020. This article examines what this means for employers and how they can prepare for a return to the workplace.
The COVID-19 outbreak, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation on 11 March 2020, the date on which the first case in Turkey was discovered, has inevitably had a significant impact on economic life. The measures taken to minimise this impact eventually resulted in labour law having to be restructured according to the pandemic's circumstances. In this respect, the duration of compensatory working, which is stipulated under the Labour Act, has been increased.
Under Decision 2480 on the Extension of the Suspension of Terms for the Prevention of Losses of Judicial Rights, the suspension of terms stipulated in Law 7226, which aimed to prevent any loss of rights in regard to trials due to the measures taken to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, has been extended. However, this date will be re-evaluated if the risk of spreading the virus is eliminated before the extension expires.
The Law on Minimising the Impacts of the New Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak on Economic and Social Life and the Amendment of Certain Laws recently entered into force. The most significant amendments include the prohibition on employers terminating employment contracts for three months as of 17 April 2020 and the provision that employers can impose unpaid leave without an employee's consent during the three-month prohibition period.
The Law on the Amendment of Certain Laws 7226 recently entered into force upon publication in the Official Gazette. Pursuant to Law 7226, the procedural terms will be suspended until 30 April 2020 in order to prevent any loss of rights in regard to trials due to the measures taken during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a May 2019 decision, the Supreme Court General Assembly on the Unification of Judgments concluded that the plaintiff in a partial monetary action need not reiterate its claim for interest when increasing the value of the claim if it claimed interest for its principal receivables in the plaint petition and the claim of interest will automatically apply for the amount which is increased later on.
The coronavirus pandemic will inevitably affect Turkish labour law; as part of employers' duty to protect employees, they must take occupational health and safety measures and protect employees' health and physical and mental integrity. This article outlines employers' duties in this respect.
At the beginning of each year, the minimum wage, severance payments and administrative fines prescribed by the Labour Act are revised. On 1 January 2020 the changes for 2020 came into effect. Among other changes, the monthly minimum wage rate has increased from TL2,558.40 (gross) to TL2,943.00 (gross).
The Supreme Court recently examined the date on which an addressee had viewed an electronic notification. The court's first decision caused uncertainty as it accepted the date on which the notification had been viewed as the notification date. However, the court later revoked this decision and provided clear legal guidance that electronic notifications will be deemed to have been served by the end of the fifth day after their delivery, regardless of whether the addressee has viewed the notification.
The Constitutional Court recently found that the requirement for employers to pay interest at a rate of 5% for each day that a journalist's overtime payments remain outstanding conflicts with the Constitution. The court ruled that this requirement places an excessive burden on employers and may result in journalists' unjustified enrichment. Therefore, the court repealed the provision on the grounds that it breached the principles of proportionality and equality.
The Supreme Court General Assembly on the Unification of Judgments recently concluded that penalty clauses agreed for the unjust termination of a fixed-term employment contract before its end date are valid and enforceable even if the contract is deemed to be of an indefinite nature due to a lack of objective conditions required by law to conclude fixed-term contracts.
The justification of court decisions is regarded as a key element of the right to a fair trial. In Turkey, this right is protected by the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as the Turkish Constitution, the Code of Civil Procedure and Supreme Court precedents. However, in practice, judgments are sometimes made without providing any justification as to why the parties' claims and evidence were not taken into account.