quake hit turkey bans layoffs, offers salary support in disaster zones
In order to protect workers and businesses from the financial impact of the devastating earthquakes that struck the south of the country a couple of weeks back, the Turkish government on Wednesday launched a temporary wage support scheme and banned layoffs in ten quake-hit provinces covered by a three-month state of emergency.
The massive tremors from February 6 levelled scores of buildings in Turkey and neighbouring Syria, killed tens of thousands of people in their sleep, and compelled numerous survivors to rush into snowy streets in their pyjamas. The death toll from the disaster has crossed 47,000 in the two countries.
As part of the Turkish government’s latest move to minimise the quakes’ economic impact, employers whose workplaces were “heavily or moderately damaged” would benefit from support to partially cover wages of workers whose hours had been cut, Reuters News Agency cited the country’s Official Gazette as saying.
During the Covid-19 pandemic as well, the Turkish government had announced salary support and imposed a ban on layoffs in an effort to mitigate the economic blow from the health emergency.
According to business groups and economists, the recent humanitarian disaster is expected to cost Ankara up to $100 billion to rebuild housing and infrastructure and hit the economic growth of this year by one to two percentage points.
The earthquakes and aftershocks have levelled or seriously damaged almost 385,000 apartments in the country. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to begin reconstruction work as early as March, with nearly 200,000 homes expected to be built in the affected provinces.
Turkey’s disaster management agency has also raised alarms over a possible rise in water levels, warning people against staying in close proximity to the Mediterranean coast.