The issues related to short-time working in Turkey are regulated within the framework of the additional Article 2 of the Unemployment Insurance Law No. 4447 and the provisions of the “Regulation on Short-Time Working and Short-Time Working Allowance in Turkey” issued in accordance with this article and published in the Official Gazette dated 30.04.2011 and numbered 27920.
Accordingly, in cases where the weekly working hours in the workplace are significantly reduced or the activities in the workplace are temporarily suspended in whole or in part due to economic crisis, sectoral or regional crisis and compelling reasons, short-time working in Turkey may be carried out in the workplace for a period not exceeding three months.
Based on this expression of the law, it is seen that short-time working in Turkey can be in two cases. These situations are the reduction of working time and the complete or partial cessation of work.
Article 3 of the Regulation defines short-time working in Turkey and also clarifies the concepts of reduction of working time and partial or complete suspension of work.
Accordingly, reduction of working time means temporarily reducing the working time applied in the workplace by at least one third in the whole or part of the workplace. In this case, for example, in a workplace where the working time is seven hours and thirty minutes a day, six working days a week, determining and implementing the working time as five hours or less per day means short-time working.
On the other hand, partial or complete cessation of work includes the complete or partial cessation of activity for at least four weeks without the condition of continuity. For example, if work is suspended for four consecutive weeks in the entire workplace or for two weeks each month in a two-month period, or for four consecutive weeks in any part of the workplace, or for one week in the first month, one week in the second month and two weeks in the third month, it means short-time working in Turkey.
However, the reduction of working time or partial or complete cessation of work must arise due to crisis or compelling reasons.
According to Article 3 of the Regulation, force majeure refers to periodic situations that cause the reduction of working time or complete or partial cessation of activity, or earthquake, fire, flood, epidemic disease, mobilisation and similar reasons that are not caused by the employer itself, cannot be predicted in advance, cannot be eliminated, arising from external influences.
The concept of crisis, on the other hand, is addressed in three types as general economic crisis, sectoral crisis and regional crisis in both the legal provision and the regulation. General economic crisis refers to the situations in which the events occurring in the national or international economy seriously affect and shake the national economy and thus the workplace, regional crisis refers to the situations in which the workplaces operating in a certain province or region are seriously affected and shaken economically due to national or international events, and sectoral crisis refers to the situations in which the workplaces in the sectors directly affected by the events occurring in the national or international economy and other sectors related to them are seriously shaken.
According to the clear wording of the provisions of the law and regulations on short-time working, short-time working is to be considered for a maximum of three months. However, the practices of 2009 and 2010, especially during the economic crisis, have shown that this period can be increased by adding temporary provisions.
If short-time working is necessary under the determination of the reasons mentioned above, it can only be realized after the short-time working situation in Turkey is examined and evaluated by the Turkish Employment Agency. For this purpose, the employer must first apply to the institution in writing and, if there is a notification in the same direction, give it to the trade union which is a party to the collective labour agreement.
According to Article 4 of the Regulation, in the written notification to be made by the employer to the institution, the effects of the general economic, sectoral or regional crisis and compelling reasons on the workplace and what the compelling reason is, the title and address of the workplace, the trade union that is a party to the collective bargaining agreement, if any, the workplace ISKUR number and social security workplace registration number must be specified and the lists containing the information of the workers to be made short-time work prepared in the format determined in the General Directorate of Turkish Employment Agency in magnetic and written media must be delivered to the institution unit.
Following the notification, the request is evaluated. According to Article 5 of the Regulation, the request is evaluated by the institution in terms of reason and form. Additionally, the existence of a general economic, sectoral or regional crisis will be decided by the board of directors of the institution if the confederations of workers’ and employers’ unions claim or there is a strong indication in this direction. Applications made without the aforementioned decision will be rejected.
Afterwards, short-time working requests will be sent urgently to the relevant unit of the Guidance and Inspection Presidency by the labour inspectors for compliance determination and the result will be forwarded to the institution after the examination. The institution will then inform the employer. The employer shall announce the situation in the workplace in a place where the workers can see it and notify the labour union, if any, which is a party to the collective bargaining agreement. In cases where the announcement is not made through an advertisement, the workers who will work short-time will be notified in writing.
After the eligibility determination is completed, employer requests to change the list of workers to be subject to short-time working and/or to extend the short-time working period applied in the workplace will be considered as a new application. Therefore, the above-mentioned process will be followed.
According to Article 10 of the Regulation, short-time working employers are required to keep records of the working hours of the workers and submit them when requested.
Article 11 of the Regulation is related to the early termination of short-time working in Turkey. If employers decide to start their normal activities before the announced period, they are obliged to notify the institution, if any, the trade union that is a party to the collective labour agreement and the workers in writing six days in advance. In case of late notification, any unwarranted payments will be collected from the employer.