Job Search Leave and Ban on Using Annual Paid Leave during Notice Period
In this article, we will provide information on the requirement of (i) job search leave and (ii) ban on usingannual paid leave during notice period:
- Job Search Leave
In accordance with the Labor Law, it is obligatory for the employers to provide job search leave , which should not be less than 2 (two) hours per day and which should be used during working hours without any deduction on salary, to the employees on notice period in order to enable such employees to find a new job.
The collective use of job search leave by the employees may only be possible if the relevant employee makes such request; and in case of such request, the employer shall not be able to reject such request. If the employee notifies the employer of this request in advance, the employee may use the whole of the job search leave in a way to correspond to the days before the day he/she leaves his/her job.
Public holidays and week holidays are not included in the job search period. The Supreme Court has also resolved in its decisions in this respect that “the new job search leave is applicable for the days, on which the employee is working within his/her notice period. There is no obligation to provide a job search leave to the employee for the days, on which the employee uses his/her leaves on the week holidays, public holidays and general holidays”.
However, we would like to point out that in this case, the employee will continue to be employed by the employer until the end of the notice period and the employee’s salary will continue to be paid by the employer.
If the job search leave is not provided to the employee by the employer or the employer makes the employee use such leave incompletely, the salary corresponding to the said period must be paid to the employee by the employer.
If the employer makes the employee work during the job search leave, the salary of such working period must be paid by the employer with an increase of 100%, in addition to the salary that the employee will receive without any consideration by using the leave.
- Ban on Deducting Annual Paid Leave Period from Notice Period
Annual leave should not be provided to the employees during their notice period. It is also regulated in the same way in the decisions of the Supreme Court.
In this respect, the employers may make employees use annual paid leave days before the notice period and then the notice periods, at the employers’ request. However, if the employee uses annual paid leave in his/her notice period, the notice period may be deemed invalid in case of a potential dispute.
If the employers do not want their employees working during their notice period, it may be agreed with the employees in this way and it may be regulated that the employees will be on garden leave during their notice period, in this respect, they will not come to the workplace and will not perform their duties; however, they will continue to receive their salaries from the employer. In this respect, employees will not be obligated to come to the workplace while using their notice periods.
Within the framework of the above mentioned issues, employees should not want to go on vacation or take annual leave for their private businesses during their notice periods. In this case, if the employer wants to allow the relevant employee to use any leave, it should make it available as paid administrative leave, in a way not to split the notice period and not to be considered as annual leave.
 We are of the opinion that the calculation should be made as follows in this respect: in the event the employee works at the workplace for 5 days a week, he/she will have a job search leave of 2 hours a day and a total of 10 hours of job search leave in 1 week. In this respect, the total job search leave of the employee with an 8-weeks’ notice period will be 80 hours. In this case, the last 10 business days of the employee’s notice period will be used as job search leave (by way of excluding public holidays and week holidays, if any).  An exemplary Supreme Court decision: “The employer has provided the plaintiff with notice period on 19/09/2013 and informed him that his contract will terminate on 30/11/2013. However, on the other hand, the employer made the plaintiff use annual leave between the dates of 15/11/2013-30/11/2013 in a way to correspond to the last part of his notice period. Since annual leave cannot be intertwined with notice period, it is essential that the annual leave should be used before the notice period and in no way the notice period and annual leave should be intertwined. Since the defendant has made the plaintiff use annual leave in the last two weeks of the notice period, the claim for notice payment is acceptable, due to the fact that the principle on inseparableness of notice period is breached. However, the expert has included the period of annual leave for 14 days in the calculation, since the notice period and annual leave cannot be intertwined. The intertwining of annual leave and notice period invalidates the notice period, and not the annual leave. According to the calculation made without deducting the period used between 15/11/2013-30/11/2013 in the calculation of annual leave, it was inaccurate to resolve for extra annual leave entitlement and the decision had to be reversed.”