Employers in Turkey have specific duties in relation to employees who work remotely and there are rules governing whether accidents that occur during remote working are considered occupational accidents.
Regulations on remote working
Remote working in Turkey is regulated by the Labour Law and Remote Working Regulation.
Under these regulations, employers must execute a written agreement with employees who will work remotely partially or completely. The agreement may be executed by drafting an employment agreement containing the relevant provisions for new employees, or an additional protocol for existing employees. The agreement must cover the elements set out below.
1. The definition of the work, method for performance of the work, duration and location of the work, provisions on salary and payment of salary, work equipment and tools provided by the employer and liabilities regarding protection thereof, communication with the employee by the employer, and provisions related to general and special working conditions.
2. The fact that the materials and work equipment required for the production of goods and services will be provided by the employer (however, employer and employee may agree otherwise.
3. If the work equipment will be provided by the employer, the agreement should include a list of the work equipment stating prices at the date of delivery to the employee (a copy signed by the employee must be kept in the employee's personnel file).
4. The time period for remote working and the relevant time intervals. Overtime during remote working is allowed in accordance with working time legislation.
5. The agreement should specify the method for communication in remote working and the relevant time intervals.
6. If necessary, the agreement should cover arrangements regarding the location where the remote work will be performed and whether employee or employer will cover the expenses in relation to this.
7. Principles on the use, maintenance and repair conditions for materials and work equipment necessary for the production of goods/services.
8. Provisions related to determining and covering obligatory expenses that arise directly from performance of work and expenses that are related to production of services/goods.
9. The fact that the confidentiality provisions regulated under the employment agreement will also apply during the remote working period (and additional confidentiality obligations specific to remote work, if any).
10. Information on occupational health and safety and information on other matters that must be considered in remote working. In relation to occupational health and safety measures relating to the fact the employee that is working remotely, the employer must inform the employee, provide the employee with necessary training, provide health and safety supervision and take any necessary measures in relation to the equipment provided to the employee.
Occupational accidents during remote work
Legally, an occupational accident is defined as an event that:
- happens during the time the employee is at the workplace;
- happens as a result of the work being conducted by the employer (or by the employee);
- happens during times when the employee is not conducting his/her work because s/he has been sent to another place and cannot conduct his or her main work;
- happens during the employee's journey to or from the workplace with a vehicle provided by the employer;
- disables the employee physically or mentally, immediately or in the future.
Within the scope of this definition, since the employee's workplace will be his or her home, or the location where s/he is working remotely, there is a high possibility that an accident that occurs during remote working will be considered as an occupational accident. Even if employer and employee agree that these accidents will not be considered as occupational accidents or that the employer will not be liable for accidents that occur during remote working, any such provision will not be deemed valid in the event of a potential dispute.
If the accident is not related to the employee's work or duties (e.g. if the employee fell at home while cleaning and broke his or her leg), then the accident will not be deemed an occupational accident.
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.