It was announced by Turkey that financial aid would be give to employees who were forced to take unpaid leave during the pandemic caused by COVID-19. The Treasury and Finance Minister, Berat Albayrak, posted a video on Twitter where he said: “Our citizens who are on unpaid leave, do not worry. We’ll provide salary support for them, too.”
Adding to this, Albayrak stated: “Thus, 2.3 million more families hit financially by the virus will benefit from this support.” This comes as the government provided cash aid for a total of 4.4 million families of lower income this month.
Last week, approximately 2.1 million families were given support in the way of cash as part of the first stage of the social aid program, according to Zehra Zumrut Selcuk, the Family, Labour and Social Services Minister. Selcuk continued on to say that 2.3 million more families that have not yet been provided with the initial 1,000TL from the first stage would soon be provided with support.
These remarks come after a written statement by the President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced that the second stage of the social aid program would be initiated soon. Selcuk explained that priority was being taken to support civilians adversely affected, adding that preparations are underway for a subsequent third state of social aid for those who had not had the benefit of either the first or second stages.
What is Turkey doing to support businesses?
Sweeping steps have already been taken across the country to protect employment during the COVID-19 pandemic, with short-term employment allowance included in this.
Albayrak confirmed this, saying: “Our first priority is that none of our citizens lose their jobs. We are fighting for this. We are taking all the necessary measures to protect our industrialists, tradesmen and SMEs.”
The government postponed the value-added tax (VAT) and insurance premium payments for tradesmen, companies and SMEs, as part of the measures being put in place to support businesses country-wide.
Government paying staff salaries
The government has also confirmed that they will pay 60% of staff salaries for a period of up to three months, for any firm that is forced out of business due to COVID-19.
With this short-term employment allowance, the government will pay direct transfers into the employees’ bank accounts of between 1,752TL and 4,381TL. The government has also vowed to pay for their health insurance during this time of pandemic.
Tourism and aviation sectors in Turkey
The worst-hit sectors, including tourism and aviation firms, are being given protection by the government. Banks are allowing clients to defer payments for up to three months and are offering new low-interest-rate credit packages to help firms.
The country is making final steps to back employers with minimum wage and tax supports, except for the short-term allowance. In addition, the pension minimum has been raised to TL 1,500 since the beginning of the pandemic.
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