As the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the world, the virus has become a primary concern for employers in Turkey. We recently provided a Quick Guide for Employers where we addressed ten of the most pressing issues employers are facing in light of the Coronavirus outbreak. This second part of the Quick Guide for Employers Series touches upon five of the most pressing issues in work life.
You can use this guide to stay informed, but note that as this situation evolves, so too will the guidance and laws affecting employers. The information in this guide is presented as of March 18, 2020; the high-level guidance in this document is not intended to be comprehensive legal advice.
1. If the governmental authorities halt workplace activities, can the employer stop paying employees' salaries?
If the governmental authorities halt workplace activities, the employer is not obliged to pay salaries to employees who are unable to work from home or elsewhere, depending on the nature of the work except that the employer must pay half of employee's salary for each day up to one week during this period.
2. If the governmental authorities halt workplace activities, can the employer terminate employees' employment agreement?
No, halting workplace activities is not a reason for the employer to terminate its employees.
If there is a compelling reason preventing the employee from working for more than one week in the workplace (e.g. quarantine), the employer may terminate the relevant employee's employment agreement for just cause. For example, if the workplace continues its activities, but the employee is unable to work for more than a week due to being in a quarantine zone, the employer may terminate on just cause.
3. If the governmental authorities halt workplace activities, can employees terminate their employment agreement?
Yes, if the governmental authorities halt workplace activities for more than a week, and therefore work activities in the workplace end, the employee can terminate the employment agreement based on just cause.
4. Is the employee entitled to the statutory seniority compensation and/or notice compensation, in case of termination of the employment agreement?
If the employee terminates their employment agreement based on just cause due to compelling reasons, the employee is entitled to statutory seniority compensation, but cannot be entitled to the notice compensation. If the employer terminates the employment agreement based on just cause due to compelling reasons attributable to the employee, the employee is entitled to the statutory seniority compensation, but cannot be entitled to the notice compensation.
5. If workplace activities are temporarily halted, does this need to be notified to the Social Security Institution?
No, if the workplace activities are temporarily halted and no employment agreements of any employees are terminated during this period, there is no requirement to notify the Social Security Institution.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.