The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey has repealed a rule that allowed journalists to claim 5 percent interest per day (amounting to 1825 percent per annum) on unpaid overtime (Decision 2019/48 E., 2019/74 K., 19/9/2019).
Journalists in Turkey are subject to the press labor law, which is a special code stipulating the rules of employment in the press. The press Labour Law stipulates that employers must pay 5 percent interest on both salary and overtime compensation that was not paid on time. This provision had previously been brought before the Constitutional Court on the basis that favourable entitlements to journalists violated the equality principle between employees as the labor code does not regulate a similar entitlement to interest for other employees. However, the constitutional court in its prior decisions rejected the objections and approved special regulations for journalists due to the responsibilities and duties they undertake within a democratic society.
In the present decision, the constitutional court repealed the favourable interest entitlement on grounds of proportionality and equality with other workers. The decision only relates to interest on overtime and a journalist’s entitlement to 5 percent interest on unpaid salary remains intact, for now.
The identical wording of both the repealed provision pertaining to overtime pay and the provision still in force pertaining to the salary makes it likely that the 5% interest rate will also be repealed as to salary if an application on that point is made before the Constitutional Court.
Written by Rıza Gümbüşoğlu and Beril Yayla Sapan of Gün + Partners and Roger James of Ogletree Deakins
© 2020 Gün + Partners Avukatlık Bürosuand Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.