Some 3.2 million employees benefit from short-term work allowance

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Some 292,000 companies have applied to the government for their 3.2 million employees to benefit from the short-term work allowance program, the country’s labor minister has announced.

“There are no restrictions. Companies operating in any industry can apply to this,” Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk said on Twitter.

The breakdown of data provided by the minister show that 39 percent of the applications came from the manufacturing sector, 15 percent from retailers and wholesalers, 12 percent from hotels and food companies, 6 percent from the educational sector and the remaining 26 percent from miscellaneous firms.

Any firm forced out of business due to a force majeure, such as the pandemic, can approach the government.

As part of the allowance, the government pays 60 percent of the staff salaries for a period of three months – within the ranges of 1,752 Turkish Liras ($255) to 4,381 liras.

The government will also pay a daily allowance of 39.24 liras for a period of three months to workers forced to take unpaid leave.

Earlier this month, parliament passes a legislation which bars employers from laying off workers during the COVID-19 pandemic for a three-month period.

Utility support scheme

Selçuk also informed that a total of 1.5 million households have benefited from the government’s “electricity consumption support” scheme, which was launched in March 2019.

Under the program, the Family, Labor and Social Services Ministry pays for households’ up to 150 kilowatts. Depending on the size of the family in the household the aid varies between 53 liras and 106 liras.

A family of five or more receive 106 liras for up to 150 kilowatts electricity consumption, the aid for a family of three is around 71 liras (100 kilowatts) and 89 liras (125 kilowatts) for a family of four. The households of one or two people get 53 lira (75 kilowatts) electricity consumption support.

Selçuk noted that back in 2002 there were only four social support programs, but as of 2020, 43 aid schemes are in place to support the needy families and groups.

The government has taken a range of measures to protect businesses and employees from the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

The minimum pension was raised to 1,500 liras, with bonus payments moved to earlier dates while the government has provided 4.4 million families in need with 1,000 liras

Some two million taxpayers’ value-added tax (VAT) and premium payments – totaling some 53.6 billion liras – have been postponed for six months.

Banks postponed principal and interest repayments of firms facing cash flow disruptions, and provide additional financing support.

State lenders announced a low-interest credit package of up to 10,000 liras for families with monthly incomes under 5,000 liras.

The country’s banking watchdog provided flexibility for late loan repayment by companies while firms failing to meet financial obligations in April, May and June, were included under force majeure conditions.

Hurriyet Daily News

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