Considering the fact that as of today there is not (yet) any mandatory governmental decision in respect of the workplaces’ working conditions, couple of options that the Employers may consider are as follows. Kindly note that all below options are subject to different legal conditions and agreement between the employees and the employer:
- In case of shortened working hours decision of the employer, informing the employees about compensatory work requirement is recommended. As per the article 64 of the Labor Code and the article 7 of the Regulation On Worked Periods Regarding The Turkish Labor Code regulating compensatory work, in cases where time worked has been lower than the normal working time or where operations are stopped entirely for reasons of suspending work or where the employee is granted off time upon his/her request apart from legal permissions issued in the Turkish Labor Code, the employer may request the employee to do compensatory work within 2 (two) months in order to compensate the time lost due to unworked periods. For any such special working arrangement, the parties should agree in written.
- Employers may request the employees to use their residual annual paid leaves (if any), meaning their annual paid leave entitlements’ arising from the past years, or, the employer may apply collective paid leave term between the term of 1 April-31 October. This may concern all or some of the employees.
- For employees working from the office, teleworking could be considered. As per the article 14 of Turkish Labor Code, remote working (or teleworking) is defined as work performed by an employee outside of the workplace, whether at home or through use of technological communication tools. Teleworking under Turkish Labor Law may be temporary or permanent, but whether permanent or temporary, teleworking’s policy must be defined in written by the employer and should be accepted in written by the subject employees.
- Unpaid leave may solely be the case, in case both parties (employee and the employer) agree on any such unpaid leave.
At this stage and before any such clear governmental decision on curfew or on mandatory closing of the workplaces, in case the employer unilaterally decides to close the workplace, the employer’s duty to pay the employees’ salaries shall continue.
Nevertheless, if ever the governmental authorities order curfew or closing of the workplaces, the suspension of the work will be mandatory. In such case for a term of one (1) week, the employer shall be obliged to pay the half of the daily salary (as per the article 40 of the Labor Code), and after one week, for both parties (employee and employer) termination of the employment agreement due to force majeure cases may be considered.
The Parties’ obligations arising from the commercial agreements (lease, supply, sale or services etc. agreements) should as well be considered in the realm of the specific articles of the agreements and by considering whether or not the current situation or any curfew order or governmental mandatory decision on closing the workplaces shall be considered as force majeure situation. Our Law Firm shall remain under your complete disposal for evaluating any contractual obligations and the specific effects of Covid-19 to contractual undertakings and whether or not these obligations may be adapted due to possible effects of Covid-19 situation.
Employers’ or the Parties’ Specific Personal Data Requests from the employees and/or suppliers or counter-parties
Due to increasing risk of Covid-19, we note that the employers or parties require some specific health information from their interlocutors and/or visitors. The parties’ obligations arising from personal data’s privacy and protection legislation should be considered in order to prevent the parties from any possible breaches arising from such legislation and also considering the related parties reasonable and just benefits.
Our Law Firm remains at your disposal for any further clarifications you may need about the subject matter.