The New Labour Courts Law numbered 7036 (the “New Law”) was published in the Official Gazette no. 30221 dated 25 October 2017 and entered into force as of that date except for articles 3, 11 and 12 which have only become applicable as of 1 January 2018.
We highlight below some of the significant changes introduced by the New Law:
MEDIATION IS NOW MANDATORY FOR CERTAIN CLAIMS
The key change brought by the New Law is mandatory mediation.
Pursuant to the Article 3 of the New Law, it is now mandatory for the parties to apply to a mediator before issuing proceedings before the Turkish labour courts for (i) claims of employees or employers arising from law, individual or collective labour agreements and (ii) reinstatement claims of employees. The claimant is required to attach to the points of claim, the original (or a copy certified by the mediator) of the minutes of mediation, showing that the parties could not reach a compromise.
Any proceedings issued before concluding the mediation process will be dismissed by the court on procedural grounds.
The New Law has excluded certain claims from this mandatory requirement; namely compensation claims for material or moral damages arising from work-related accidents or occupational illness. Those claims can directly be brought by the parties before the Turkish courts, without applying to a mediation procedure first.
THE TIME LIMIT FOR APPEALING THE DECISIONS RENDERED BY THE LABOUR COURTS HAS BEEN INCREASED
The time limit for appealing the decisions rendered by the labour courts was 8 days. This has been increased to 2 weeks commencing from the date of service of such decision.
THE LIMITATION PERIOD FOR CERTAIN CLAIMS HAS BEEN REDUCED
Another significant change brought by the New Law is the reduction of the limitation period for certain claims. Pursuant to Article 15 of the New Law, a new article (Additional Article 3) has been added to the Labour Law numbered 4857 through which the limitation period for claims on accrued annual leave days, severance pay, notice payment, bad-faith compensation and compensation for unequal treatment is reduced from 10 years to 5 years.
REINSTATEMENT TO WORK DECISIONS CAN NO LONGER BE APPEALED BEFORE THE COURT OF CASSATION
As our readers will recall, the parties were free to appeal the decisions rendered by the Regional Court of Appeal to the Court of Cassation. Pursuant to Article 8 of the New Law, the decisions rendered by the Turkish first instance labour courts on the reinstatement claims of employees can now only be appealed to the Regional Court of Appeal. Therefore, the decisions of the Regional Court of Appeal will be final and cannot be appealed further to the Court of Cassation.