TURKEY: Expected Labour Law Changes in 2017

Health and Safety

Legal reform on health and safety in the workplace:  Employers’ health and safety obligations are now regulated under the Law on Occupational Health and Safety 6331 (Law 6331). The rules differ depending on factors such as the number of employees and the ‘hazard classification level’ of the workplace. Some of the provisions are already in force. Those below become effective in 2017:

  • Required appointments for “hazardous” workplaces:
    From January 1, 2017, workplaces classified as “hazardous” must appoint an occupational safety expert holding an ‘A class’ certificate.
  • Required appointments for “less hazardous” workplaces:
    From July 1, 2017, workplaces classified as “less hazardous”, with less than 50 employees, must appoint two employees to act as an occupational safety expert and a workplace physician. Other employees must also be appointed to act as health personnel, unless there are less than 10 employees.
  • Financial support for “less hazardous” workplaces:
    Financial support has been introduced for “hazardous” and “very hazardous” workplaces with less than ten employees. From July 1, 2017, financial support will be available for “less hazardous” workplaces with less than 50 employees.

Action required: If relevant to your business, understand the new rules to ensure legal compliance.

Data Protection

Data protection reform:  The Law on the Personal Data Protection (“Data Protection Law”) came into force on April 7, 2016. Only some of the provisions are in force. The remainder are expected to be in effect by April 7, 2017.

The Data Protection Law will be enforced by the Institution of Personal Data Protection, which is to comprise of a Committee (the decision making body) and the Leadership (directly associated with the government). The Institute will be created in 2017.

All entities processing personal data will also need to register at the Registry of the Data Controller when it is established. This is expected to happen in 2017.

Action required:

(1) Although the Institution is not up and running, employers should ensure they understand and comply with the provisions in the Personal Data Protection Law. There are heavy fines for non-compliant companies.

(2) Keep track of how the legal situation develops, and ensure registration as a Data Controller takes place.

Employee Insurance

The upper limit of an employee’s daily earnings base, which is used to calculate employer contributions to the mandatory Unemployment Insurance Premium, will be increased from 6.5 times the daily gross minimum wage, to 7.5 times.

Effective January 1, 2017.

Action required: Amend internal payroll practices to ensure compliance with the new limit.