The “Regulation on Remote Working” (The “Regulation”) prepared by the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services has entered into force after being published in the Official Gazette numbered 31419 and dated March 10, 2021. The Regulation is prepared pursuant to Article 14 of the Turkish Labor Law No. 4857 and sheds light on procedures and principles of remote working, the work in which remote work cannot be performed, as well as rules on data protection and data transfer. The regulations introduced are as follows:
REMOTE WORKING CONTRACTS
According to Article 14 of the Regulation, an employment relationship can be established with a remote working contract or the current employment contract can be converted into a remote working contract upon the agreement of the employer and the employee.
As per Article 5 of the Regulation which defines the form and content of contract, the remote working contract shall be concluded in writing. In the contract; job description, way of performance, the duration and place of the work, wages and issues related to the payment of wages, the work tools provided by the employer and liabilities related to the protection of those tools, communication of the employer with the employee and provisions related to the general and special working conditions should be included.
Regarding Article 14 of the Regulation, the employee should provide a written request to work remotely and this request should be considered by the employer in accordance with the procedure determined in the workplace. The employer notifies the result of the consideration to the employee with the same method used for request within thirty (30) days by taking into consideration the nature of business and qualification of the employee and other criteria determined by the employer. In case of the acceptance of the request by the employer, a contract shall be concluded in compliance with Article 5.
Under the Regulation, the employee, who has started remote working, can also request to work again in the workplace. In this case, the employee can request with the same procedure and the employer shall consider the relevant request with priority. On the contrary, if remote working will be applied in all or part of the workplace due to compelling reasons specified in the legislation, the request or approval of the employee will not be sought for the transition to remote working.
REMOTE WORKING COST AND EQUIPMENT TO BE USED DURING REMOTE WORKING
In line with Article 6 of the Regulation, the payment of expenses arising from remote working shall be jointly determined by the remote employee and employer. In addition, according to Article 7, unless otherwise agreed in the employment contract, the materials and work tools required for the remote work shall be provided by the employer. The principles of use, maintenance and repair conditions of the relevant materials and work tools should be clearly and understandably notified to the remote employee.
In case the relevant equipment is provided by the employer, the list of work tools indicating the costs of the tools on the date of delivery to the employee should be submitted to the employee in writing by the employer. A copy of the submitted document signed by the employee will be kept by the employer in the employee’s personal file. If the list of work tools is arranged in the employment contract or as an attachment of the employment contract, it is not necessary to prepare a separate written document.
DETERMINATION OF THE WORKING HOURS
As per Article 9 of the Regulation, whereas the duration of remote work shall be specified in the employment contract, it is also possible for changing the working hours by the parties, on condition of complying with the restrictions stipulated in the legislation. Overwork shall only be done upon the written request of the employer, with the acceptance of the employee and in accordance with the legislation.
RULES ON DATA PROTECTION AND DATA TRANSFER
Pursuant to Article 11 of the Regulation, the employer is obliged to take the necessary measures for the protection of data. The employer shall determine the definition and scope of the data to be protected in the contract. Also, the remote employee will be informed by the employer about the business rules and relevant legislation related to the protection and transfer of data about the workplace and its work. On the other hand, the remote employee is obliged to comply with the rules determined by the employer in order to protect the data.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
According to Article 12 of the Regulation, considering the nature of the work of remote employee, the employer is obliged to provide the necessary training, to ensure the health surveillance and to take the necessary occupational safety measures related to the equipment provided.
JOBS INCONVENIENT FOR REMOTE WORK
Article 13 of the Regulation states the works that cannot be performed through remote work. In this regard, those who work with hazardous chemicals and radioactive substances or work under the risk of exposure to biological agents may not carry out their duties remotely. Lastly, among the work performed by purchasing services in accordance with the relevant legislation of the public institution and the work as regards national security, those which are inconvenient for remote work shall be determined by the public institution.