Wages for the Idle Time in the Turkish Labour Law

The employment relationship between employee and employer may involve in disputes occationally. For solving these disputes the provisions of the Turkish Labour Law are being used.

As regulated in the Turkish Labour Code No. 4817, the employer who terminates the indefinite-term employment contract of a worker with at least six months of seniority in workplaces employing thirty or more workers must rely on a valid reason arising from the competence or behaviour of the worker or the requirements of the enterprise, workplace or job. There is no seniority requirement for workers working in underground works. This obligation “to rely on a valid reason” is called “job security” in the Turkish Labour Law.

One of the payments that must be paid to the employee as a result of the termination of the employment contract of the employee covered by job security without a valid reasion, at the compulsory mediation stage regarding reinstatement or as a result of the reinstatement lawsuit, is the “wages for the idle time”.

Regardless of whether the employee is reinstated or not by the employer, if the reinstatement decision is being given by the mediator or by the judge, it is mandatory for the employer to pay the employee wages for the idle time.

Idle time pay refers to wages and other rights incurred for a maximum of 4 months. In other words, the worker is considered to have continued to work at the workplace during the 4-month period in question.

The 4-month idle period to be decided during the mediation phase or as a result of the reinstatement case must be added to the employee’s existing seniority period. The biggest impact of idle time on seniority comes to the fore at this point.

For example, when 4 months of idle time is added to the seniority period of an employee who has 1 year and 6 months of seniority at the date of termination, a seniority period of 1 year and 10 months is obtained. As can be seen in the example, even though the worker has not worked in the relevant 4 months, he is considered as having worked in that workplace.

Idle time pay is usually calculated by the court as a result of a reinstatement case. At the same time, since it is a payment in the nature of a “wage”, it is subject to all legal deductions and taxation. Therefore, social security premium, income tax and stamp duty must be deducted from the gross idle time wage.

Interest on idle time wages comes into question from the end of the one-month period in which the employer is obliged to employ the employee or from the date on which the employer’s intention not to employ the employee emerges. The interest rate to be applied to the idle time fee is the highest interest rate applied to deposits in banks established in Republic of Turkey.

In summary, the idle time fee that comes to the agenda during reinstatement processes covers a maximum of 4 months’ salary and other rights. If 4 months of idle time pay is imposed, it will be added to the employee’s seniority period as if he had worked for 4 months. It is also possible that new rights will come to the fore due to the increase in seniority.

Bünyamin Esen

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