At the beginning of each year, the minimum wage, severance payments and administrative fines prescribed by the Labour Act are revised. On 1 January 2021 the changes for 2021 came into effect. Among other changes, the monthly minimum wage rate has increased from TL2,943 (gross) to TL3,577.50 (gross).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.