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  • Av. Elif Kurşun

The Considerations for Mass Layoffs in Turkey

With the lifting of the termination ban, especially during the COVID-19 period in our country, and the subsequent decrease in demand for services such as online shopping and home delivery, which were highly demanded during the pandemic, the issue of mass layoffs has come back to the agenda in some sectors. On this occasion, in order to prevent both employees and employers from experiencing loss of rights during the mass layoff process, we have compiled the key points to be considered in our article.

Mass layoffs are regulated under Article 29 of the Turkish Labor Law No. 4857. According to the relevant article, for terminations to be considered mass layoffs:

The number of employees working at the relevant workplace must be as follows:

a) If between 20 and 100 employees, at least 10 employees,

b) If between 101 and 300 employees, at least ten percent of the employees,

c) If 301 or more, at least 30 employees,

Terminations must be made under Article 17 of the law and must occur on the same date or different dates within a one-month period.

The crucial point to note here is that the termination of employment contracts under Article 17, meaning not for just cause but due to economic, technological, or similar reasons stemming from the workplace or job requirements, is what qualifies as a mass layoff. Terminations made by the employer based on just cause under Article 25 of the Labor Law are not considered within the scope of mass layoffs.

When the employer intends to carry out mass layoffs under this article, they must notify the workplace union representatives, the relevant regional directorate, and the Turkish Employment Agency at least thirty days in advance in writing. In this notification, the employer must specify the number of affected employees and groups, as well as the timeframe for the termination of employment.

Termination notices become effective thirty days after the employer informs the regional directorate.

Failure to comply with the obligations that the employer must fulfill during the mass layoff process results in administrative fines to be paid for each terminated employee, as stipulated under Article 100 of the Labor Law. Employers who violate the provisions of mass layoffs are subject to administrative fines of 3,475 Turkish Liras per employee in 2023.

However, mass layoffs do not prevent employees from receiving their rightful entitlements when leaving their jobs. Regardless of the reason for the mass layoff, employees must be paid their severance pay, notice periods, or notice pay, and any overtime wages due under their employment contracts, if applicable, as well as National Holiday General Holiday Pay, and other rights.

Therefore, in the event of a mass layoff, employees still have the right to initiate legal proceedings within the statutory limitation period regarding their rights arising from their employment contracts.

If the employer wishes to hire employees for the same position within six months after the mass layoff becomes final, they must first invite the employees they previously terminated, who have the appropriate qualifications.

When mass layoffs are involved, it is crucial for both employees and employers to be accurately represented before the judiciary and to be aware of their legal rights. Therefore, it is advisable for the process to be conducted with legal assistance to ensure proper legal proceedings and prevent any loss of rights.

The information provided on our website is for informational purposes only and has been prepared by Kurşun Law & Consultancy in accordance with the 1136 Law on Lawyers and the professional rules of the Turkish Bar Association. All articles and content on our website are copyrighted by Attorney Elif Kurşun.

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