In April 2020 the termination ban and unilateral unpaid leave came into force, prohibiting employers from terminating any employment contract – regardless of whether it fell within the scope of the Labour Act – for three months as of the effective date of the law. The termination ban and unilateral unpaid leave have since been extended several times, most recently until 30 June 2021.
The Constitution protects private life and in 2016 the Data Protection Law was enacted, furthering the protection of personal data. In disputes relating to the monitoring of employees' personal data in the workplace, the courts and the Data Protection Authority (DPA) have mostly based their decisions on the constitutional provisions. This article outlines the legal grounds for data processing in the employment context and highlights recent court and DPA decisions in this respect.
The Constitutional Court has once again considered the rights of personal data protection and the freedom of communication in an employment context following an employer's inspection of an employee's corporate email account and the termination of the employee based on the outcome of such inspection. The decision draws attention to the importance of the explicit information requirement in inspections conducted by employers and sheds light on the application of the principle of proportionality.
Pursuant to three presidential decrees recently published in the Official Gazette, the termination ban and unilateral unpaid leave, which were due to expire by 17 January 2021, have been extended until 17 March 2021. Further, the short-time working allowance granted to workplaces which had applied until 31 December 2020 has been extended until 28 February 2021. Similarly, the application deadline for the short-time working allowance has been extended until 31 January 2021.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
Applying for mediation was recently made a prerequisite when filing a lawsuit concerning monetary claims by employees or employers arising out of employment contracts, collective labour agreements or reinstatement claims. Mandatory mediation was introduced to accelerate legal proceedings and lower the costs in employment disputes.
The Supreme Court recently found that the failure of employees to use appropriate language in their written workplace correspondence with superiors or colleagues constitutes a valid reason for termination. The court held that although the actions of the employee in question had not been serious enough to constitute just cause for termination and deprive him of his termination benefits, the employer could not be expected to continue the employment relationship.
Minimum wage, severance payments and administrative fines prescribed by the Labour Act are revised at the beginning of each calendar year. The minimum wage rate was recently increased to TL2,558.40 (gross) and the maximum severance payment was increased to TL6,017.60 (gross). In addition, the rate of administrative fines was increased by 23.73% compared with 2018.