RESTART OF ACTIVITIES
PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN AT THE WORKPLACES DUE TO COVID-19
We note that, following the positive developments about the decreasing case numbers, many employers have gradually started to re-operate their workplaces and that following Turkish President’s declarations in this respect, as of 11 May 2020, certain shopping centers are re-opening and some companies are starting to re-operate their stores/business places.
For the employers who continue or re-start their activities, as mentioned in our Newsletter of 14 April 2020, the Turkish Labor Ministry’s General Directorate of Occupational Health and Safety published the following Guide About the Precautions that should be taken in the workplaces against the Covid-19 https://www.ailevecalisma.gov.tr/media/41159/isyerlerinde_koronavirus_covid- 19_karsi_alinan_onlemler.pdf and a specific website in this respect has been prepared as well detailing the specific precautions for various sectors.
The Ministry also declared that in case the Employer shall not take the necessary precautions at the workplace, for the protection of the employees’ health against the Covid-19 disease, the Employer may be subject to administrative fines.
Besides, considering the serious risks and infectiousness of Covid-19 epidemic, if an employee’s gets sick due to Covid-19 virus, the employer’s liability under “work
accident” may be the case. Consequently, it is worthy that the employer, within the scope of its duties, takes the
necessary precautions at the workplaces in the fight against the virus once the employees shall be back to their workplaces.
While deciding on the re-start of the activities, we advise the employers:
- To contact their occupational health and safety specialist to decide about the necessary precautions that should be taken at the workplaces,
- To follow strictly the Labor and Health Ministries’ Guides and Advices in this respect,
- To inform in written the employees about specific measures,
- To determine the new working schedule of the employees considering (i) the necessities of the workplace, (ii) the effects of the advised precautions, (iii) the main principles of Labor Code and (iv) some employees’ specific health conditions (if any),
- In order to eliminate and share as much as possible legal liability that may be the case for the employer due to a Covid-19 case in the workplace among the employees, to adopt a managerial decision (Managers’ resolution as for the limited liability companies and Board of directors’ resolution as for the joint stock companies) pertaining to such precautions.
In case the employer also decides to health screenings for their employees (which is among one advices provided by the Ministries) and third parties (such as customers and visitors), there are specific approvals that should be taken from the employees and related parties, in line with the Turkish Personal Data Protection legislation.
Our Law Firm remains at your disposal for any further clarifications or assistance you may need about the subject matter.