Collective dismissal, also known as mass layoff or redundancy, occurs when an employer terminates a significant number of employees within a specific timeframe.
In Turkey, collective dismissal is governed by the Turkish Labor Law, which provides guidelines and protections to ensure fair treatment and minimize the adverse impact on employees. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of collective dismissal in Turkey, including the legal framework, criteria, employee rights, and employer obligations.
Legal Framework for Collective Dismissal
Collective dismissal in Turkey is regulated by Law No. 4857, commonly known as the Turkish Labor Law. According to Article 29 of the law, collective dismissal is defined as the termination of employment contracts by an employer due to economic, technological, or structural reasons that affect the workforce.
Criteria for Collective Dismissal
To carry out a collective dismissal in Turkey, employers must meet certain criteria outlined in the Turkish Labor Law. These criteria include:
- Number of Employees: The law defines collective dismissal as the termination of employment contracts for at least 30 employees within a 30-day period in workplaces employing at least 30 employees.
- Reason for Termination: Collective dismissal can occur due to economic reasons, technological changes, or structural reasons affecting the workforce. Economic reasons may include financial difficulties, loss of profitability, or the need to reorganize operations. Technological changes refer to the adoption of new technologies that render certain job positions obsolete. Structural reasons relate to significant changes in the organization’s structure, such as mergers, acquisitions, or downsizing.
Employee Rights in Collective Dismissal
Employees affected by collective dismissal in Turkey are entitled to certain rights and protections to mitigate the negative impact of job loss. These rights include:
- Notice Period: Employers are required to provide written notice to employees at least 30 days prior to the termination of their employment. The notice should state the reasons for the dismissal, the number of affected employees, and the proposed date of termination.
- Severance Pay: In case of collective dismissal in Turkey, employees are entitled to severance pay based on their length of service and the last gross salary, as outlined in the Turkish Labor Law. Severance pay provides financial compensation to support employees during the transition period.
- Job Security Benefit: Employers must pay a job security benefit equal to the severance pay amount to the Turkish Employment Agency. This benefit is used to support employees in finding new job opportunities, retraining, or entrepreneurship.
- Priority in Reemployment: In the event of collective dismissal, employees have priority in reemployment for a period of one year. If the employer intends to hire new employees within one year from the dismissal, they must offer the vacant positions to the dismissed employees first.
Employers undertaking collective dismissal in Turkey have several obligations to ensure compliance with the law and protect employee rights. These obligations include:
- Notification to the Labor Authorities: Employers must inform the relevant labor authorities at least 30 days before initiating the collective dismissal process. The notification should include detailed information about the reasons for dismissal, the number of affected employees, and the proposed termination date.
- Consultation with Employee Representatives: Employers are required to consult with employee representatives, such as trade unions or employee councils, before implementing collective dismissal. The purpose of the consultation is to explore alternatives, minimize the impact on employees, and seek agreement on the terms of the dismissal.
- Fair Selection Criteria: Employers must use objective and fair criteria when selecting employees for dismissal. Arbitrary or discriminatory practices are strictly prohibited.
- Severance and Job Security Benefit: Employers must calculate and pay the appropriate severance pay and job security benefit to the affected employees in a timely manner, as stipulated by the Turkish Labor Law.
Collective dismissal in Turkey is subject to strict regulations and requirements to ensure fairness and protect employee rights. The Turkish Labor Law provides a legal framework that outlines the criteria, employee rights, and employer obligations in cases of mass layoff. By adhering to these regulations, employers can minimize the negative impact on employees and foster a supportive work environment, while employees can assert their rights and access necessary compensation during the transition period.