The Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s New Announcement about Unvaccinated Employees

News September 2021

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security, with its announcement dated September 3, 2021, paved the way for employers to require mandatory PCR tests from their unvaccinated employees.

About the content of the Announcement

According to The Ministry, the employers are obliged to inform their employees about the protective and preventive measures against the health and safety risks that may occur in the workplace.

The Ministry also stated that the employers need to inform in writing the employees whose COVID-19 vaccination has not been completed.

Not vaccinated employees shall be notified by their employers regarding the possible consequences of a definitive diagnosis of COVID-19 in terms of labour and social security legislation.

Further, the employers will have the right to request their non – vaccinated employees to have a mandatory PCR test once a week. The employers will be able to request this starting from September 6, 2021 and the test results will be recorded at the workplace in order to take the necessary actions.

Article from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security about COVID-19 Measures at Workplaces

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has sent a letter titled “COVID-19 Measures at Workplaces” on 17 September 2021 to the Presidency of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey.

The Ministry stated that employers can take actions against employees who do not comply with COVID-19 safety measures at the workplace.

 

About the content of the Letter

The Ministry, with its previous announcement, stated that those employees, who are not vaccinated, must be separately informed by their employers and can be required to undergo PCR tests. In the Article, the Ministry says that it is possible to take action against employees who did not get vaccinated or do not submit PCR tests despite being informed in writing. Those actions can be based on the provisions of Labour Law No. 4857 regulating the termination of employment, payment of temporary incapacity allowance, compensatory work and remote working.

However, the Ministry emphasized that the principle of termination by employers should be considered as a last option and that utmost care should be exercised to protect the jobs of workers.

Turkey publishes the Regulation on the Certification of Simple Accommodation Facilities and Beach Establishments

The Law Amending the Law on the “Incentivizing of Tourism and Certain Laws No. 7334”is published in the Turkish Official Gazette on 28 July 2021. The Law changed the Law No. 2634 on Tourism Incentivizing in a significant way and stated that certain matters will be regulated under secondary legislation.

In this sense, the Regulation on the Certification of Simple Accommodation Facilities and Beach Establishments is published and became effective on 25 September 2021.

About the content of the Regulation

Certificate content and the certification process

The following information shall be included in the Certificates:

The name of the establishment, address, name or title of the Certificate owner, the name or title of the sub-operator if an annotation is requested, the date of the document, the document number starting with the license plate code of the respective province and capacity information.

Issuing Certificates will not constitute a right according to the provisions of Zoning Law No. 3194, Coastal Law No. 3621 and other relevant legislation. Accordingly, a clause containing this information will be added to the certificates.

Application and issuance of Certificates

All applications for the Certificates should be made to the relevant Ministry of Culture and Tourism provincial directorate by hand or by mail.

The list of information and documents to be prepared in Certificate applications is regulated under Article 7 of the Regulation. Accordingly:

  1. Simple accommodation facility tourism establishment certificates will be issued to the accommodation facilities whose application documents are approved and whose capacity is determined on-site.
  2. The application documents for the beach establishments operating with workplace opening and operation licenses obtained after 28 July 2021 will be examined and the appropriate beach establishments will be included in the inspection program. The beach establishments that are found to meet the minimum qualifications of their type will be certified.

Beach establishments that are found to have deficiencies in meeting the qualifications of their type will be given 30 days to correct the deficiencies. During this period, establishments that have corrected their deficiencies will be certified. Establishments that cannot make up for their deficiencies will not be able to operate, and the workplace opening and operation license of these businesses will be cancelled within one month by the authorized administration.

  1. Beach establishments operating with a workplace opening and operation license obtained before 28 July 2021 whose application documents are approved will be provided with Certificates, and an audit will be conducted to determine whether the qualifications of the facility type are met.

The Certificates of beach establishments that are found to have deficiencies in meeting the qualifications of their type will be cancelled, and the activities of these establishments will be terminated by the authorized administration within one month by cancelling their workplace opening and operation licenses.

Minimum qualifications for beach establishments

The minimum qualifications to be sought by beach establishments are as follows:

  • There should be an administrative unit, changing cabins and showers for customers and separate toilets for male and female customers, an area for simple food and beverage services or buffet services, at least two lifeguards with silver certification and a lifeguard watchtower, first aid supplies.
  • Personnel should wear clothes suitable for their jobs and duties.
  • Necessary materials such as clean canopies, mattresses and sunbeds should be offered for customers to use and their maintenance should be done regularly.
  • The boundaries of the safe swimming area should be determined with buoys.
  • A sufficient number of garbage cans should be placed in the beach area.
  • The cleaning and maintenance of the beach area should be done regularly.

Audits

Pursuant to Article 10 of the Regulation, beach establishments have some obligations to be fulfilled, such as maintaining their qualifications, which are essential for certification. They need to ensure that these establishments and simple accommodation facilities are constantly cleaned and maintained. Finally, the establishments shall comply with health and hygiene rules.

Audits of the establishments will be carried out by the provincial directorate personnel authorized by the governorship. In case of insufficient personnel, other personnel appointed by the governorship will carry out the audits.

Administrative sanctions and suggestions specified in the reports to be prepared as a result of the audits will be implemented by the relevant governorship.

The DPA publishes announcement on COVID-19 test results and vaccination information

The Turkish Personal Data Protection Authority “DPA” published an announcement on the collection and processing of COVID-19 test results and vaccination information on 28 September 2021.

The DPA stated in this announcement that processing vaccination statuses and COVID-19 test results by public institutions and organizations authorized by law, forms an exception to the Personal Data Protection Law, “DPL”.

About the content of the Announcement

The DPA previously referred to the letter of the Ministry of the Interior that requires the collection of COVID-19 test results and/or vaccination information to participate in public activities. Further, the DPA referred to the letter of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security that requires employers to request PCR test results from employees who do not get vaccinated as well.

Thereafter, the DPA stated that test results, reports and the vaccination status of individuals constitute health data and they must be processed in accordance with Article 6 of the DPL unless there is an exception.

In this sense, the DPA concluded that requesting vaccine information or PCR test results should be within the scope of preventive and inclusive activities carried out by public institutions and organizations in accordance with the protection of public health, public security and public order, and to combat COVID-19, by referring to the exception under Article 28/1(ç) of the DPL.

In brief, following the announcement of the DPA, processing test results and vaccination information by public and private organizations based on and limited to the letters of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security will not be subject to the DPL.

However, the relevant data processing activities should not exceed the scope of the ministries’ letters. Otherwise, such data processing activity will be considered within the scope of the DPL and will be subject to the conditions for processing health data under the DPL.

News September 2021