On 14 May 2020, the Turkish Confederation of Employer Associations (TİSK), Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (TÜRK-İŞ) and HAK-İŞ Confederation signed a joint declaration recognising the Government’s effort to protect employment and support businesses through the short term work allowance and requested the following:
- An extension of the short-term work allowance (equal to 60% the minimum wage) until the end of 2020;
- The possibility for workers to benefit the allowance without additional legal requirements, such as the health insurance premium payment;
- The provision of incentives to employers who autonomously pay the difference between wages and the short-time working allowance;
- The provision of income tax exemption to these wage difference payment;
- The provision of additional incentives to companies that maintain collective agreement in force and that keep and improve their employment levels.
The social partners’ requests refer to the “Economic Stability Shield” package adopted by the Government on 18 March 2020. The package allowed applications for the short-term work allowance for a period of three months until 30 June 2020. However, the Presidency of the Turkish Republic is authorized to extend the application for the allowance until 31 December 2020.
The package introduced also the possibility to delay three months the social security and health insurance premium payments from March, April, and May, which provided great relief for employers in sectors such as manufacturing, retail, health services, mining, building and others.
Legal arrangements to extend the short-term work allowance until the end of 2020, as requested by social partners are expected to be approved at the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey (TBMM) and concluded by Presidential Decree. Accordingly, it is also expected that the premiums of workers benefiting from short-term allowance or non-paid leave are to be paid by government provided that these workers return to normal work. The premiums of workers that were dismissed are to paid by government also provided that these workers are re-employed by their former employers. Another requests from the social partners will also be met: incentives equal to 40 % of employment costs will be provided to employers for any new recruitment.
Moreover, the government has now included in its agenda the promotion of flexible working arrangements, in line with what has been advocated by TİSK long before the Covid-19 crisis. This measure aims at encouraging workers over 50 to be engaged as part-time employees, in exchange for income tax exemptions and “easier” retirement schemes.