The government is now reaching the final stages of releasing a new package with a series of reforms intended to promote child rearing as well as increased women employment in the work force. The package, entitled "Legislation Efforts on Turkey's Population and Family Policies" will also include an increase in maternal leave from 16 weeks to 18 weeks for female employers. The "rank-scale progression" procedure currently in place for male employers on military leave will also be applicable for female employers on maternal leave. In addition, women employees will also be eligible for rank progression should they opt for the option of taking a maximum 24-week unwaged leave.
The package geared to increase female presence in the workplace as well as maternity leave rights, the fruits of a joint effort led by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan including the Family and Social Policies as well as Development and Labor and Social Security ministries, will include the following amendments:
As is already the case with official postings and military service, employers of women employees on maternity leave will be obliged to rehire said employees should they desire to return to their positions. If the position in question is unoccupied, it will be mandatory for employers to rehire female employees immediately upon their return from maternity leave. If a position is not immediately available, female employees returning from maternity leave will be assigned to the next position that comes up. With this change in regulations, female employers will no longer have to fear losing their jobs should they chose to give birth.
INVOLUNTARY REASSIGNMENT PROHIBITED
Pregnant employees will not be subject to temporary or permanent involuntary reassignment from their location of service during the period spanning from the 24th week of their pregnancy to one year after their date of giving birth. In addition, in cases dictated by a doctor's report, female employees will be eligible to benefit from this right prior to the 24th week of their pregnancy.
MATERNITY LEAVE MADE SIMILAR TO MILITARY LEAVE
Perhaps one of the most striking changes in legislation brought on by the incentives package is the inclusion of women civil servants in the "rank-scale progression" framework within their period of unwaged maternity leave as is the practice for male employees serving their military duty. At present, female employees' terms of maternity leave is not reflected on their rank progression. In addition, female employees will also be eligible to benefit from maternity leave debt, similar to the military leave debt in place at present.
FULL PAY, FLEXIBLE WORK SCHEDULE
Female employees whose maternity leave has come to an end, will be granted to the right to "flexible working options" until their child reaches a certain age. With the flexible employment option, female employees will still be paid their full wages for a certain period of time. Once that stretch of time is over, if desired, female employees may continue to select the flexible working option at a decreased wage. The flexible working option will allow female employees to work half-days in order to allow them to spend more time at home.
The current 16-week term of maternity leave will be increased to 18 weeks. Female employees will also be given day care center support.
This is a translation of an article originally written by Burcu Çalık.