‘Short time’ applications reach 420,000: Ministry
Test tube with fake blood labelled with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is placed on dollar banknotes in this illustration taken March 27, 2020. (REUTERS File Photo)
Some 19,000 Turkish businesses affected by the coronavirus economic fallout have made applications to the government for short time working payments to their 420,000 employees since March 30.
When the Turkish Employment Agency (İŞKUR) approves the applications made by businesses which have suspended or decreased operations due to the pandemic, 60 percent of the monthly gross salaries of their employees will be paid from the unemployment insurance fund for up to six months.
Since 2005, when the scheme was put into place, nearly 350,000 workers benefited from short time payments that totaled 423.5 million Turkish Liras (nearly $63 million), according to İŞKUR data.
Last month, the Turkish Parliament eased the criteria for the short time working applications. Thus, employers can apply for their employees who were on the payroll for at least 60 days - down from 120 days - uninterruptedly before the short time working and have at least 450 days - down from 600 days - of paid unemployment insurance premium within the last three years.
In addition, it is determined that employees who do not meet these criteria may also benefit from this option to the extent of their remaining unemployment allowance.
The process for evaluation of the short time working applications due to COVID-19 are being facilitated online and the applications by businesses which had to halt operations because of the measures taken against the pandemic are prioritized, İŞKUR announced last month.
A worker earning minimum monthly wage ($345) will be entitled to get about 1,580 liras ($235) as a short time salary.
The Family, Labor and Social Services Ministry expects the applications to grow in the upcoming weeks as the government takes new strict measures to counter the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
The ministry is also paying 1,000 liras to over 2 million citizens who are already taking monthly social welfare benefits.
On March 18, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Economic Stability Shield measures to counter the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the communities.
The relief package of 100 billion liras ($15.4 billion), including debt payment delays and tax cuts across various sectors, aims to limit the economic fallout from coronavirus pandemic.
The Turkish Treasury and Finance Ministry has postponed tax payments and statements for 1.9 million businesses.
Meanwhile, Turkish banks led by three state-owned lenders have offered customers deferment of repayments and cheap loans with grace period of six months.