The Labour Code numbered 4857 has been amended with the Amending Law numbered 6663 adopted on 29.01.2016, which was published in the official gazette dated 10.02.2016 and numbered 29620. The changes brought as to the parental rights of the employees are attention grabbing as they expand the scope of the entitlements of the new parents. In simple terms, the reform relating Labour Code numbered 4857 relates to (i) the right of the father to use the maternity leave in case of death of his wife while giving birth or afterwards, (ii) right of the mother to work part-time after maternity leave, (iii) right of one of the parents to work part- time after maternity leave until compulsory elementary education of the child, and (iv) right to use leave after adoption.
I. Father’s Right to Leave
An additional right has been granted to the father under Article 74 of the Labour Law, which regulates maternity leave and breast-feeding periods. It provides that, in case the female employee dies while giving birth or after the birth, the maternal leaves that could not be used by the female employee will be used by the father.
II. Mother’s Right to Work Part-time after Maternity Leave
Article 74 of the Labour Code now provides that after the expiry of the legal maternity leave, upon request, the mother shall be entitled to use unpaid leave for half of the weekly working period for a term of 60 days for the first child, 120 days for the second child, 180 days for the following children provided that the child is alive. These periods shall increase in case of multiple births or the child is born disabled.
It is noteworthy that supplementary Article 5 added to the Unemployment Insurance Law numbered 4447 by the Amending Law provides that during this term, the employee shall be entitled to part-time allowance from the unemployment insurance fund upon her/his request subject to fulfilment of certain conditions.
III. Right to Work for Part-time until Compulsory Education
Another right granted by the revisions under the Amending Law is that following the expiry of the maternity leaves indicated under Article 74 of the Labour Law, one of the parents may request to work part-time until the first day of the month following the date the child starts compulsory elementary education provided that the other parent is not unemployed. Requests by the employee to use this right or to return the full-time working schedule shall be made one month in advance to the employer. A regulation on this will be issued by Ministry of Labour and Social Security in due course.
IV. Right to Use Leave after Adoption
A significant reform in terms of parental leave in the Labour Code is that employees who adopt children shall have similar rights to those who give birth to their biological children. Accordingly, one of the parents or the employee who adopts a child shall have the abovementioned rights as well as the legal maternity leave of 8 weeks after the child is delivered to the family or the employee. However, only the employees who adopt children under 3 years old shall be eligible for the said rights.