Turkey has extended a short-term employment allowance benefit, a system that provides additional wages to employees whose hours are cut short, by two months until the end of October in a measure aimed at responding to the impact of the coronavirus.
The presidential decision was announced in the country’s Official Gazette Monday, thereby entering into force.
In July, Parliament approved a law giving President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the authority to decide for each sector whether to extend the short labor pay benefit.
Under the allowance, the government has paid 60% of staff salaries across the country. The allowance was previously extended to the end of August.
Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk on Monday said around 3.58 million people have benefited from the allowance since the application started. Nearly 1.6 million continued to benefit in July, Selçuk said in a statement.
The law also allowed Erdoğan to extend a layoff ban imposed to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic until July 2021. The layoff ban was first imposed in April for three months.
The previously passed bill aimed at creating a legal basis for banning layoffs to protect those lacking job security while mitigating the outbreak’s effects on the economy.
Unemployment in Turkey edged up slightly to 12.9% in May, according to official data. The figure was up 0.1 percentage points from the same month last year.
Under its economic program, the Turkish government targets an unemployment rate for this year of 11.8%. The program projects a gradual unemployment drop to 9.8% in 2022.
The government in mid-March, immediately after the country reported its first COVID-19 case, announced a relief package – the Economic Stability Shield – that slashed taxes for hard-hit sectors and unlocked funding for workers.
As part of measures to support businesses, the country has postponed debt payments and reduced the tax burden on various sectors.