Minister Selçuk: 1000 lira support payments to 2.1 million households in need will start on April 1

Minister of Family, Labor and Social Services Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk said regarding the measures taken due to coronavirus (Covid-19), “All our businesses that slow down or stop their activities can apply for short-time working allowance regardless of whether they are small or medium-sized.”

Selçuk answered questions and made evaluations on the agenda on NTV.

Stating that there are programs organized by the Turkish Employment Agency and that these are divided into two as active and passive labor programs, Selçuk gave information about these services.

Stating that there are short-time working and unemployment allowance within the scope of passive labor force programs, Selçuk explained the reasons for short-time working allowance. Selçuk stated that temporarily reducing the weekly working hours in the workplace by one third, partially or completely stopping the activity is the basic condition for short-time working allowance. Stating that coronavirus (Covid-19) is also among the compelling reasons, Selçuk said, “All our businesses affected by Covid-19 can apply for short-time working through İŞKUR.”

“All our businesses should apply”

Selçuk emphasized the opportunities provided by the Unemployment Insurance Fund to employers and employees.

Underlining that all businesses can apply for short-time working allowance, Selçuk said, “Applications are made by our employers, not by our insured. I would like to make a call for all our businesses to apply.”

Selçuk emphasized that there is no limit on the number of employees. Providing information on how to apply, Selçuk stated that they would facilitate the application process as much as possible and that they would respond quickly.

Stating that they have reduced the number of documents in the application for short-time working allowance and simplified the form, Minister Selçuk asked employers to apply with a focus on protecting employees.

Stating that the application process will be completed in a short time if there is no deficiency in the form, Selçuk said, “Our employers and insured employees should rest assured that we will continue to support them.”

Regarding whether there is a sectoral distinction in the application for short-time working allowance, Selçuk stated that there is no sectoral restriction and businesses from all sectors can apply.

Selçuk said that employees are required to complete 450 premium days and 60 days of service contract, “All businesses that slow down or stop their activities can apply for short-time working allowance regardless of whether they are small or medium-sized.”

Selçuk stated that the short-time working allowance will be covered from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

Regarding the amount of the allowance, Selçuk shared the following information:

“The allowance is calculated based on our insured’s earnings for the last 12 months and the average of this is taken. It is calculated as 60 percent of the average daily gross earnings. Since this is only gross, especially our minimum wage earners will receive approximately 75 percent of the net wage they currently receive. So when we say 60 percent gross, it is perceived as 60 percent of the earnings. Net will be 75 percent of what he will receive.

This allowance has an upper limit. It cannot exceed 150 percent of the gross amount of the monthly minimum wage, that is, it cannot exceed 1.5 times. Therefore, any of our insured will be entitled to a short-time working allowance ranging from 1752 lira to 4 thousand 381 lira according to the amount of gross wage they receive. This corresponds to a daily band between 58 lira and 146 lira. Since this rate for our minimum wage earner is calculated from the gross, it is a net allowance of 75 percent.”

Selçuk emphasized that this allowance will be received for a maximum of 3 months.

Referring to the applications made for short-time working allowance, Selçuk said, “19 thousand companies have applied. This corresponds to more than 420 thousand insured persons. When we look at the sectoral distribution, manufacturing accounts for 52 percent, accommodation and food services activities second, and wholesale and retail trade third. Especially if we add manufacturing and accommodation together, about 63 percent of them come from those two sectors.”

Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk said the following about what the compensatory work arrangement will bring for both employees and employers:

“Our workplaces have temporarily reduced or stopped their activities. They have reduced their working hours, especially in cases where they have reduced their working hours. What are we doing here? So that both our workplace does not suffer a loss of labor force and our employees are not deprived of income support, we say, ‘you can compensate for the missing work you do less for 2 months for 4 months in the next period.’ Thus, neither our employee loses wages nor our employer loses labor force. Previously, our compensation period was 2 months, we increased this period from 2 months to 4 months.”

“We will deliver this support to 8 million citizens”

Selçuk also made explanations on what kind of social assistance will be provided to citizens in need.

Explaining that the Ministry sends periodic funds to 1003 social assistance and solidarity foundations across Turkey every month, Selçuk said that they try to reach all those in need in provinces and districts through these funds.

Pointing out that they had sent 135 million to the foundations until last month, Selçuk said that they increased this amount to 180 million this month with the blessing of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and that they will reach more households in the coming period under the coordination of governors and district governors and that they may increase this share in the future. Minister Selçuk continued his speech as follows:

“We have a social support package with our Minister of Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak. I would like to emphasize this in particular, hopefully other phases will follow. In the first phase of this, we provided 1000 liras each to 2 million 111 thousand households. The first payments will be made on April 1. Since we also consider the effects of coronavirus, we definitely did not receive a physical application. We will send them to the T.C. numbers of all our households via PTT. Since there are 2 million households, if we calculate the average household from approximately 4 people, we will hopefully deliver this support to 8 million citizens.”

Stating that they have 43 programs, including regular and temporary aids, Selçuk said that they covered some of the regular aid recipients in the first phase and that they aim to reach all households in need in other phases.

Minister of Family, Labor and Social Services Selçuk stated that pension bonuses will be sent to the homes of citizens via PTT on April 7-11 and said that citizens should not leave their homes during this period.

Calling on citizens, Selçuk said:

“We have an e-government door that we have been working on for years, and there are more than 5 thousand applications where we offer more than 5 thousand public services. As the Ministry, we have 227 services, especially through SGK and İŞKUR. Therefore, our citizens can access most public services online through e-government without ever leaving their homes. They should definitely look first, most of these services are available on the e-government portal. Let them apply digitally first. It is very important to stay at home.”