Businesses that have not yet applied for the short-term employment allowance may be able to file an application if the coronavirus pandemic drags on.

Dear readers of the Fortune magazine, in this article, I would like to give you an update on the short-term employment allowance created after the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.

As you know, the main purpose of the short-term employment allowance scheme is to provide an income to workers during periods without work, thus protecting jobs and preventing the dismissal of well-experienced staff.

The Law on Unemployment was revised to initiate this facility, in order to fight against force majeures arising from the coronavirus pandemic. As such, it has become possible for businesses to apply for the short-term employment allowance for a maximum of three months, in cases where the weekly work times at the workplace are sharply reduced due to the pandemic on a temporary basis, or operations at the workplace come to a full or partial halt.

As per the said legal amendment, in order for a business to be eligible for the short-term employment allowance, the weekly work time at the workplace must have been temporarily reduced by at least one third, or the operations at the workplace must have come to a full or partial halt for at least four weeks, although not necessarily in a continuous manner. I would also like to underline that to be eligible for the scheme there is no requirement of a minimum number of staff. Nonetheless, once the short-term employment scheme is in place, the employer must not dismiss any workers, even though there are few exceptions to this rule. Moreover, in order for an employee to be eligible for the short-term employment allowance, they must have worked under a service contract during the last 60 days before the onset of the short-term employment scheme, and must have paid the unemployment insurance premium for 450 days in the last three years. The amount of the daily short-term employment allowance paid to employees under this scope is 60% of their daily average gross pay in the last twelve months which served as the base of insurance premium payments; however, it cannot exceed 150% of the gross monthly minimum wage. The resulting amount is directly deposited to the employee's account. Although the short-term employment allowance is supposed to be paid after a conformity check, in practice, the amendment has allowed for payments based on the declaration of the employer, without necessarily awaiting the completion of the said check -owing to the pandemic. Nevertheless, any excessive or undeserved payment arising from the submission of incorrect information or documents by the employer shall be collected from the employer, complete with its statutory interest.

In the first bout of the pandemic, June 30th, 2020 was the deadline for applications to the short-term employment allowance scheme; and later on, companies which had already applied were allowed to benefit from the scheme until December 31st, 2020. Afterwards, as the pandemic dragged on, businesses that had not before applied for short-term employment allowance were also given the chance to apply, until end-December.

In my opinion, if the pandemic persists, the short-term employment allowance might be extended once again.

Leon Aslan Coskun