Turkey adopts new amendments on prohibition of dismissal

Turkey

The Law on the Establishment of Digital Platforms Commission and Amendment of Certain Laws (“Law”) (Dijital Mecralar Komisyonu Kurulması ile Bazı Kanunlarda Değişiklik Yapılması Hakkında Kanun) entered into force on 28 July 2020 and includes important changes to the current ban on dismissal and unpaid leave.

The new Law extends the exceptions to the prohibition of dismissal. As a result, a dismissal will not fall within the scope of this prohibition in following circumstances:

  • ending of the term of employment or service agreements with a definite term;
  • closure of the employer's workplace for any reason and ending its business activities;
  • ending of on-going construction works or the ending of certain works for which the relevant workforce was procured according to the applicable legislation.

Lastly, the Law gives the President the power to extend the period for the prohibition of dismissal and the right to send employees on unpaid leave until 30 June 2021, with any extension being limited to a maximum three (3) months. 

The President already exercised these powers on 31 July by Presidential Decision No. 2811, which extended until 17 September 2020 the period for prohibiting dismissal and the employer's right to send employees on unpaid leave.

Background

As indicated in this previous Law-Now article, a ban on terminating employment contracts was implemented and had been in force since 17 April 2020 under the Law Relating to the Reduction of the Effects of New Coronavirus on Economic and Social Life and Amendments to Certain Laws (Yeni Koronavirüs Covid-19 Salgınının Ekonomik Ve Sosyal Hayata Etkilerinin Azaltılması Hakkında Kanun ile Bazı Kanunlarda Değişiklik Yapılmasına Dair Kanun). This prohibition applied in all circumstances except in cases of non-compliance with moral and goodwill principles (e.g. grave breaches of company policies, harassment).

At the same time, under this same law, employers were granted the right to unilaterally send employees on unpaid leave for a maximum of three (3) months. During this unpaid leave, employees were not entitled to terminate their employment contracts for due cause or to assert their receivables (e.g. severance and notice pay) against the employer.

The Law indicated at the beginning of this article has brought further changes to these regulations as explained above. 

For further information on the prohibition of termination and unpaid leave under the new Law, contact your regular CMS consultant or local CMS experts: Dr. Döne Yalçın or Sinan Abra.