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Remote Working in Turkey has been Regulated for the First Time

29 Aug. 2016 By Rakibe Külcür, Ph.D.

It has many different names, such as 'working from home', 'telecommuting', 'teleworking' or 'working remotely'. Remote working is a form of flexible work arrangements, which are accepted as good working practices and said to provide benefits to both employees and their employers.

Remote working is increasingly embraced by companies because it is argued that happier employees generate more productivity and increase their retention rate while remote working practices also decrease infrastructure costs within companies. It can even be good for environmental protection because it can lower CO2 emissions due to decreased commuting.

Although remote working is not regulated at a European level by any Directive, and it is left to the Member States to manage these practices under the individual countries’ conditions for parental leave, part-time work and fixed-term work, remote working practices in the European Union have been a common practice. In Turkey, remote working practices at an organisational level have been rather an exception and, at a regulatory level, until recently, they weren’t even regulated.

Labour Law No.4857 was amended recently to introduce the concept of remote workers (uzaktan çalışma) within the scope of the Labour Law. The Law defines remote work as a contractual work relationship in which employees perform their work, which is within the scope of the employers' work organisation, at home or away from the workplace by means of technological communication devices.

Under the amended Labour Law, employers must sign a contract with their remote workers. The employment contract must include details such as the definition of the work that will be performed, type of work, work duration and the place of work, work equipment provided by the employer, and remuneration.

The Law also bans any discrimination of these workers, namely remote workers cannot be discriminated against for reasons of the nature of their employment contracts.

The Law also clearly requires employers to provide information and training to remote workers. Employers are under the obligation to inform remote workers and to provide training with regard to occupational health and safety precautions, by taking into consideration the nature of their work, and providing occupational health monitoring to these workers. Employers are also obliged to adopt the required occupational health and safety measures with regard to the work equipment provided to remote workers.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security will publish a regulation to establish further provisions on remote working.

Law No.6715 amending the Labour Law and the Public Employment Institution Law O.J.29717 of 20 May 2016 and the consolidated version of Labour Law No.4857 is available online in Turkish.

 

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