On 10 March 2021, Turkey enacted the Remote Work Regulation, which regulates the details of remote work in accordance with Article 14 of the Turkish Labour Law No. 4857.

General provisions on remote work

The Regulation defines "remote work" as an employment relationship with the following characteristics:

  • the employee performs the work at the employee's home or away from the workplace using technological means of telecommunication;
  • the tasks are performed within the framework of the work organisation formed by the employer; and
  • the agreement of remote work is made with a written agreement.

Therefore, remote work contracts must be in writing and contain the following:

  • the description of the work;
  • Place and time of execution of this work;
  • wage and payment-related information;
  • Details of the equipment and any safety procedures provided by the employer and the nature of communications between the employer and the employee; and
  • general and specific working conditions.

If necessary, adjustments concerning the place where the remote work is carried out must be completed before the work begins. Unless otherwise agreed, the materials and equipment required by a remote worker for the production of goods and services shall be provided by the employer.

The period during which the remote work is carried out and the duration of the remote work must be specified in the agreement. The parties may change these periods as long as the changes do not exceed the legal limitations.

Data protection issues

The employer must inform the remote worker of the rules and related legislation for the protection and transfer of work-related data. The employer is also obliged to take the necessary measures to protect this data. Finally, the employer must define the data to be protected and the scope of the worker's responsibility to protect it.

Health and safety in the workplace

The employer is responsible for informing the remote worker of occupational health and safety measures, providing all necessary training, providing medical supervision and taking the necessary measures to ensure the safety of the material and equipment provided.

Exceptions to remote working

The Regulation identifies certain types of work that are exempt from the Regulation, such as occupations requiring work with hazardous chemicals, radioactive substances or the wastes of such substances. The exemption also applies to the processing of such substances and to occupations where there is a risk of exposure to biological factors.

Transition to remote work

Under ordinary circumstances, workers' employment contracts can be amended to include the remote working model only if the workers and the employer agree.

However, the employer has the right to unilaterally impose a temporary remote work structure if the remote work conditions can be applied to the enterprise's operations and a force majeure event occurs, as specified in the legislation.

Conclusion

Remote working was introduced by law in 2016. Since then, work has been underway on a regulation that will set out the details, procedures and principles of a remote working model. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the enactment of this Regulation, which aims to address many of the uncertainties faced by millions of workers who have had to switch to remote working.