COVID-19 and Livelihood

UNHCR TURKEY COVID-19 Preparedness and Response of Government of Turkey – Support for the Private Sector

The Government of Turkey has announced support packages for the private sector in order to prevent further unemployment and shrinkage of the private sector. These packages will have direct positive effect on refugee livelihoods.

The first support is being provided by ISKUR-the Turkish Employment Agency in order to subsidize salaries and the programme is referred to as Temporary Work Payment.

TEMPORARY WORK PAYMENT

What is Temporary Work Payment?

Income support for the employees when they cannot work for a period of not more than three months due to general economic, sectoral, or regional crisis or challenging reasons is currently being provided by ISKUR.

In order to provide Temporary Work Payment, one or more of the following situations should occur;

  • General Economic Crisis: In a situation where specific national or international events seriously effects the country’s economy and thus the workplace.
  • Regional Crisis: When businesses in a specific province or region are affected adversely economically due to a national or international situation .
  • Sectoral Crisis: When specific sectors and the sectors that they supported affected due to a national or international situation.
  • Force Majeure: Situations such as earthquake, fire, flood, landslide, epidemic/pandemic diseases caused by the external effects.

What Services are provided under Temporary Work Payment and for how long?

  • A short term work payment,
  • General Health insurance payments

The duration of the Temporary Work Payment is 3 months, unless otherwise stated.

When and How to Apply for Temporary Work Payment?

The employer must apply to İŞKUR indicating that the work period in his/her workplace has decreased due to the conditions stated above. Employer can apply by sending an e-mail in the “Temporary Work Payment” tab in İŞKUR’s website (www.iskur.gov.tr).

Following the application, Labour Inspectors will determine whether the application is accurate and workplace has been affected by these situations.

Note: If the application is due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all inspections will be carried out in the Department of Guidance and Inspection without visiting the workplace physically, but instead evaluating application documents and attachments. 

How much payment will the employees receive?

If the application is accepted, Temporary Work Payment can be between 1.752,40 TRY and 4.380,99 TRY.

Payments will be made to the employees directly, rather than the employer.

Will the employer reimburse the payment?

No. Temporary Work Payment aims to foster employment and beneficiaries will not pay any amount to İŞKUR or any other state institution.

TAX SUPPORT FOR THE EMPLOYERS

The Revenue Administration published a General Communiqué on 24.03.2020 for taxpayers who are affected by the measures taken against coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic upon the instructions of the Ministry of Treasury and Finance.

With this Communiqué, below sectors were identified as the most affected sectors:

  1. Retail and Shopping Centers
  2. Iron Steel and Metal Industry
  3. Automotive Industry
  4. Logistics-Transportation
  5. Cinema and Theater Activities
  6. Accommodation
  7. Food and Beverage Services
  8. Textile and Apparel
  9. Event and Organization
  10. Health Services
  11. Furniture Manufacturing
  12. Mining and Quarrying
  13. Construction
  14. Industrial Kitchen Equipment
  15. Car Rental
  16. Printed Publishing and Printing
  17. All the Income Taxpayers

Moreover, taxpayers operating in sectors such as swimming pools, Turkish baths, spas, sports, games and wedding halls, barbershops and hairdressers, whose activities were temporarily stopped within the scope of the measures taken by the Ministry of Interior, can also benefit from force majeure provisions during this period.

Additionally, approximately 1.9 million citizens working as farmers, tailors, greengrocers, lawyers, financial advisors, architects, engineers, pharmacists, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, physiotherapists, software developers are also included to the context of the force majeure.

In the General Communiqué, the tax declaration of income and value added taxes due in April, May and June are also extended until July 27, 2020.

Payment deadlines of these taxes were also extended for six months and payments can be initiated within the last week of October, November, and December by taxpayers.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Interior declared a curfew for the citizens aged 65 and over and who have a chronic illness. In line with this curfew, the Ministry of Treasury and Finance facilitated  taxpayers above the age of 65 to benefit from these provisions within the curfew period. The deadline for the required tax declarations and tax payments for this period was extended until the 15th day after the curfew has been removed.

FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE PRIVATE SECTOR

The number of established and closed down companies is an important indicator related to the status quo of the private sector having a direct impact on the livelihoods of both citizens and refugees. A shrinking private sector will lead to further unemployment exacerbating social cohesion. The comparison between established and closed down companies is stated below.

The data indicates that the number of start-ups in the country has increased with 24% for joint stock and limited liability companies and 15% for sole – proprietorship companies when compared to 2019 for the same period. On the other hand the number of companies that closed down are also higher indicating the negative trend with 13% and 14% for limited liability or joint stock companies and sole-proprietorship companies respectively. The impact of the COVID-19 can be observed once the month of March is over and the relative data becomes available.

 The Source


NOVEL CORONAVIRUS MEASURES TO BE PUT INTO PLACE BY OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY PROFESSIONALS IN WORKPLACES

 

Protect yourself first!

Practise social distancing at work, pay strict attention to personal hygiene and remember to use your personal protetive equipment!

 

Use of shuttle vehicles

Occupational health and safety professional shall make recommendations to the respective employer and/or the employer’s representative to put the following measures into practice:

  • Implementation of frequent cleaning and hygiene practices on shuttle vehicles, and particularly the frequently contacted surfaces,
  • Ensure all staff who are using shuttle vehicles have minimal contact with vehicle surfaces,
  • Planning of carrying capacity of shuttle vehicles in compliance with social distancing requirements,
  • Placement of hand disinfectants at vehicle doors,
  • Use of surgical masks by the drivers and all passengers on their commute to and from work.

 

Travels

Occupational health and safety professional shall make recommendations to the respective employer and/or the employer’s representative to put the following measures into practice:

  • Taking necessary steps for the cancellation or minimization of all non-essential travels,
  • Ensure all staff who have returned from abroad avoid going to work and follow the 14-day rule of thumb established by the Ministry of Health and are referred to the Coronavirus Hotline (184) for information if and when required,
  • Prevent staff who have returned from a domestic travel from going back to work without undergoing health screening and continuously monitor their health conditions during working hours.

Entry and exit to the workplace

Occupational health and safety professional shall make recommendations to the respective employer and/or the employer’s representative to put the following measures into practice:

  • Make necessary arrangements for placement of hygiene products for use by the staff,
  • Use of contact-free access control systems in workplaces having access control systems that require contact or non-use of such contact-based systems for a temporary period of time reduce the risk of infection,
  • Install social distancing markings to ensure social distancing is followed and overcrowding is prevented,
  • Use of contact-free thermometers to check the temperature of staff before they enter the building,

Referral of staff with fever, cough, difficulty breathing or similar conditions to the healthcare provider at work, or, if not available, to health institutions.

 

Working environment (I)

Occupational health and safety professional shall make recommendations to the respective employer and/or the employer’s representative to put the following measures into practice:

  • Perform a risk assessment and update emergency plans by taking the novel coronavirus outbreak into consideration,
  • Review the working methods and practices in view of the social distancing guidelines and ensure the working environment is organized in line with this principle to the greatest extent possible,
  • Schedule the working hours, including breaks and lunch breaks, in a way to ensure minimum interaction between staff members,
  • Make plans to keep minimum staff at a work area at the same time, and implement remote working and similar practices where possible,
  • Ensure the proper and sufficient ventilation of the workplace.

Working environment (II)

Occupational health and safety professional shall make recommendations to the respective employer and/or the employer’s representative to put the following measures into practice:

  • Frequent disinfection of all equipment, including screen terminals and peripherals (keyboard, mouse, shared phone, intercom, microphone, etc.), after use by different users to ensure hygiene in the working environment,
  • Select and use personal protective equipment to reduce the risk of infection in a way that does not impede the operations,
  • Avoid use of elevators to the greatest extent possible, if essential, limit the number of passengers according to social distancing rules and ensure regular disinfection of frequently contacted surfaces,
  • Avoid handshakes, hugging and other close contact in line with social distancing rules and avoid touching the face.

Working environment (III)

Occupational health and safety professional shall make recommendations to the respective employer and/or the employer’s representative to put the following measures into practice:

  • Place a sufficient number of contact-free waste bins in the workplace,
  • Keep a sufficient supply of personal hygiene products at toilets and bathrooms, ensure observance of personal hygiene rules before and after the use of toilets and bathrooms and ensure regular disinfection,
  • If available, referral of staff with fever, cough, difficulty breathing or similar conditions to the healthcare provider at work for health screening before they start working, if not available, referral of staff with these conditions to health institutions.

Working environment (IV)

Occupational health and safety professional shall make recommendations to the respective employer and/or the employer’s representative to put the following measures into practice:

  • Take necessary measures to ensure work clothes do not contact other clothes and are kept separately,
  • Ensure the staff in charge of cleaning and waste disposal pay strict attention to their personal hygiene and use suitable PPEs,
  • Avoid use of waster dispensers and tea machines in common areas to the greatest extent possible, supply bottled water to staff,
  • Identify staff who have come into contact with suspected COVID-19 cases, keep a record of the contact details of individuals who have come into contact with the suspected case, follow the course of action advised by the Provincial/District Directorate of Health.

Meetings and training sessions

Occupational health and safety professional shall make recommendations to the respective employer and/or the employer’s representative to put the following measures into practice:

  • Postpone meetings and training sessions until the outbreak is over,
  • Conduct meetings and training sessions which cannot be postponed due to legal obligations through the use of remote learning, teleconferencing and similar methods,
  • In cases where it is not possible to switch to remote learning, ensure minimum attendance in compliance with social distancing and hygiene rules,
  • Engage in awareness-raising activities with staff to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, share digital messages, media or use remote learning tools to this end.

Cafeterias and rest areas

Occupational health and safety professional shall make recommendations to the respective employer and/or the employer’s representative to put the following measures into practice:

  • Ensure queue and table setting is properly organized in cafeterias and rest areas according to the social distancing and hygiene rules,
  • If possible, provide a one-time ration of food and drinks,
  • Frequent disinfection to ensure hygiene in cafeterias and rest areas,
  • Take necessary steps to allow staff to follow personal hygiene practices, including cleaning hands before and after meals for at least 20 seconds with plenty of water and soap and use of disposable towels,
  • Provide single-use materials, including spices, toothpicks, salt, spoons, forks, knives, glasses, etc.
  • Ensure cafeteria personnel observe personal hygiene rules and use suitable personal protective equipment.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE

Measures listed in this document show the minimum requirements for efforts to be undertaken in workplaces in combatting the novel coronavirus outbreak. Depending on the area of activity, the number of staff, the working environment, shift working and methods of operation of the workplace, additional measures should be taken and announcements by competent authorities should be closely followed.