Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan extended a ban on companies laying off workers, a measure originally taken after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.
Firms in Turkey will be barred from firing workers for another two months, Erdoğan said in a decree published in the Official Gazette on Friday. The measure was due to expire on Sept. 17.
Turkey’s government is providing financial support to workers who are put on short working weeks or who end up on unpaid leave. The measures, along with the ban on companies dismissing employees, has helped curb an increase in official unemployment, which stood at 12.9 percent in the three months to June.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in the number of people of working age who are without a job and no longer seeking a job. The labour force has shrunk by 2.74 million and employment by 2.41 million over the past year, according to official data. Most of the reduction in jobs has come in the services industry, hardest hit by the pandemic.
The Turkish Statistical Institute is due to publish unemployment data for the three months to July next Thursday.