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Labor Law in Turkey

Labor Law in Turkey

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The Law on Labor Courts Number 7036 was published and announced in the Official Gazette on October 25, 2017. One of the most important amendments stipulated in this law (the “Law”) is the introduction of a “mandatory mediation” procedure. Mediation is based on a “win-win” philosophy; this is a process where no one loses. 

According to Article 3 of the Law, which will become effective on January 1, 2018, parties in compensation claims raised by employees or employers based on individual or collective labor agreements and reinstatement lawsuits are required to submit their cases to a mediator before filing a lawsuit. With the enactment of the Law, for cases initiated after January 1, 2018, courts are required to dismiss lawsuits initiated before  application for a mediation procedure was made on the basis of lack of cause of action. Therefore, an employee believing that his or her dismissal is unlawful has one month from the notification date of the termination notice to apply to the mediator. If the parties cannot reach a mutual agreement with the involvement of a registered mediator, the employee may then initiate a lawsuit within two weeks from receipt of the mediator’s report. In order to initiate the mediation process, the claimant party must apply to the mediation office located in the residency of the responding party. If the dispute arises in a place where there are no mediation offices, then the registry office of the Civil Court of Peace located at the relevant place will be authorized to process the mandatory mediation application. The mediator who will review the dispute will be selected by the relevant mediation office, unless the parties agree on a mediator whose name is included in the list of mediators published by the Mediation Department of the Ministry of Justice. According to the Law, the mediator shall conclude the negotiations within three weeks, although this period may be extended for one week by the mediator in certain cases and particular circumstances.

It is also important to note that mandatory mediation does not cover or apply to the pecuniary and non- pecuniary damages that may arise from occupational illnesses and work-related accidents. According to Law Number 7036, parties involved in disputes relating to the General Health Insurance Law and other social security legislation must apply to the Social Security Institution before initiating any legal case. In the event the Institution does not respond to the relevant application within 60 days, the request is deemed rejected. Only once requests are rejected or deemed rejected may cases be brought. 

Another major change introduced by the Law concerns the statute of limitations concerning annual leave payment claims and indemnification claims involving severance payments or due to: (a) failure to comply with the notice requirement in terminating an employment agreement; (b) bad faith; or (c) failure to comply with the equal treatment principle in terminating an employment agreements. 

The former term of ten years statute of limitations for such claims has now been reduced to five.

By Feyza Gerger Erdal, Founding Partner, Erdal Law 

This Article was originally published in Issue 4.12 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, you can subscribe here.

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