“Presidential Decree on the Measures Taken in the Field of Labor and Social Security Under the State of Emergency” numbered 125 (“Presidential Decree No. 125”) was published in the Official Gazette dated 22 February 2023, and numbered 32112, and entered into force as of the date of its publication. With this Decree, the measures taken in the field of labor and social security in the provinces which are affected by the earthquake dated 06.02.2023 and which are included within the scope of state of emergency.
Due to the earthquake that took place on 06.02.2023, with the Presidential Decision numbered 6785, Adana, Adıyaman, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye and Şanlıurfa provinces in Turkey have been put in the scope of “state of emergency” for three (3) months. In this context, with Presidential Decree number 125 published in the Official Gazette dated 22.02.2023, measures have been taken in the field of labor and social security to provide support for employees and employers. Only provinces that are in the scope of state of emergency with Presidential Decision numbered 6785 will benefit from these measures.
The prominent measures in the Presidential Decree number 125 are as follows:
- Short-Term Employment Allowance:
During the state of emergency, the short-term employment allowance will be given in line with the application for short-term employment applications made by employers to the Turkish Employment Agency (“İŞKUR”) on the grounds of the regional crisis caused by the effects of earthquakes. At this point, employers are required to certify that their workplaces are in provinces or districts to be determined by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security and/or they are destroyed due to earthquakes, will be destroyed in an emergency, severely or moderately damaged. The completion of the eligibility determination is not required in order to benefit from the short-term employment allowance. However, overpayments due to incorrect information and documents provided by the employer will be collected from the employer with legal interest.
- Protection of Employment:
In provinces which are in the scope of state of emergency, employment or service contracts cannot be terminated by the employer during the state of emergency as of 22.02.2023, except for the cases listed below:
- Situations that do not comply with the rules of morality and goodwill in sub-paragraph II of the first paragraph of Article 25 of the Employment Law Act No 4857, and in the other laws, and similar reasons
- The expiration of the term in fixed-term employment or service contracts,
- The closure of the workplace for any reason and the termination of its activity,
- Completion of all kinds of service procurements and construction works made in accordance with the relevant legislation.
The employer or employer’s representative will be subject to administrative fines in the amount of monthly gross minimum wage for each employee who has been terminated in violation of the above-mentioned rules.
- Cash Wage Support:
In provinces which are in the scope of state of emergency, employees with employment contracts as of 06.02.2023 will be given a daily cash wage support of 133,44 Turkish Liras from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (“Fund”) if they meet the conditions listed below:
- Those who are not entitled to short-term employment allowance in respect of the application made by the employer,
- Those whose employment contract is terminated due to the closure of the workplace because of earthquakes on or after 06.02.2023, and those who are not entitled to a new unemployment allowance,
- Provided that they do not receive an retirement pension from any social security establishment and, if any, after the remaining periods of entitlements that could be initiated before are completed,
Cash wage support shall be paid during the short-term employment period or as long as unemployment duration, not to exceed the state of emergency term in any case.
No deductions will be made from the payments made, except for stamp duty.
Among the beneficiaries of cash wage support, those who are not covered by the general health insured or the dependents of the general health insured according to the relevant law will be considered as general health insured within the scope of the relevant article of the same law and their premiums regarding the general health insurance will be covered from this Fund.
Overpayments made due to the employer’s giving false information and documents will be collected from the employer with legal interest.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Security has been designated as the authorized institution to determine the payment methods and principles regarding cash wage support and to eliminate any hesitations that may arise in practice.
The periods listed below have been extended during the state of emergency as of 06.02.2023 (including this date) in the provinces which are in the scope of state of emergency:
- Granting authorization determinations within the scope of the Trade Unions and Collective Bargaining Law Act No 6356,
- Making collective bargaining agreements,
- Resolution of collective labor disputes,
- Deadlines for strikes and lockouts.
In addition, the one (1) month period for wage cuts stated in the Employment Code No 4857 has been extended until the end of the state of emergency for workplaces in affected provinces.
- Social Security:
During the state of emergency, the Social Security Institution (“Institution”) has been designated as the institution authorized to take measures and determine the procedures and principles regarding health services to be financed from the Institution’s budget. Expenditures to be made within this scope will be covered by the Institution’s budget.
Advance payments of health service providers located in and/or providing services in provinces which are in the scope of state of emergency will be exempted from Article 35 of the Public Financial Management and Control Law Act No 5018.
Invoices, documents, and their annexes, which are the basis for payment of health expenses which must be submitted to the Institution by health service providers located in and/or providing services in provinces which are in the scope of state of emergency, but cannot be provided due to the effects of earthquakes, may not be sought during the invoice audit.
The debts of health service providers located in and/or providing services in provinces which are in the scope of state of emergency due to excessive and undue payment and contractual penal clauses may be postponed by the Institution during the state of emergency.
The Presidential Decree number 125 entered into force on 22.02.2023, the date of publication.
Details of the Presidential Decree can be found through this link (only available in Turkish).