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28September2021

COVID-19 Measures in Workplaces

COVID-19 Measures in Workplaces

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security has sent an opinion letter numbered 38611 and dated 17.09.2021 to The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey regarding the COVID-19 measures that can be taken in workplaces.

In this opinion letter, the below points have been stated:

  1. Workplaces/employers would need to inform employees about the health and safety measures in workplaces.
  2. Employers would need to inform the employees in written form for those who have not completed their COVID-19 vaccination.
  3. Employers would need to inform the employees, who do not complete the vaccination, about the results that would be taken in the workplace based on the Labor Law and Social Security Legislation.

Based on the Labor Law, the below options can be applied for the COVID-19 measures in workplaces:

Remote Work

Employers can conduct remote work agreements with the employees and prefer to apply for remote work in workplaces.

In the opinion letter, the below statements have been included for the remote work:

Remote work is defined as below in Article 14 of Labor Law No. 4857:

"Remote work is a business relationship established in written form based on the principle that the employee fulfills their job at home or outside the workplace with technological communication tools."

Per the Remote Work Regulation published on Official Gazette numbered 31419 and dated 10.03.2021, "Employment contracts for remote work should be made in written form, or the current employment contract can be reverted to the remote work contract."

Also, in this opinion letter, the remote work due to force majeure has not been stated by the officials, and the officials stated that the remote work relationship would need to be conducted in written form.

Compensatory Work

The employer can prefer compensatory work options in workplaces.

Regarding the compensatory work, the below statements have been included in the opinion letter:

Per Article 64 of the Labor Law on Compensatory Work, 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 four months 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.

Per Article 7 of the Working Time Regulation Regarding Labor Law, in case of a pause of work performance due to the force majeure situations, the decimate of working time due to similar reasons, any leave days are given to the employees apart from the legal leave days located under the legislation, the non-working times of the employees can be completed via compensatory work regulations.

The employers would need to inform the employees about the details of compensatory work (reason, dates, periods, etc.)

The compensatory work can be done within 4 months following the force majeure situation is over.

Compensatory work shall not exceed three hours daily and must not exceed the maximum daily working time of 11 hours in any case. Compensatory work shall not be carried out on holidays.

Termination of The Contract

In the opinion letter, the authorities stated that the termination option should be the last option to prevent the unemployment situation, and employers would need to be careful on the termination option considering the Supreme Court decisions.

The officials also noted that per Article 17 of the Labor Law, the employers would need to give notice periods on terminations. Per Article 18 of Labor Law, the terminations would need to be done with a valid reason.

Accordingly, termination would need to be the last option considering the previously given Supreme Court decisions protecting the employees.

You can reach the opinion letter of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security via the link.

You can reach the details of the Remote Work Regulation via the link.

You can reach the details of the Technical Measures to Consider During Remote Working via the link.

You can reach the details of the Tips to Make Daily Routine Easy When Remote Working via the link.

You can reach the details of the compensatory work via the link.

You can reach Labor Law No. 4857 via the link (In Turkish.)

Should you have any queries or need further details, please contact your customer representative.

Written by Erdoğdu Onur Erol, Posted in Social Security Law and Legislation, Labor Law

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