Within the scope of the letter of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security titled Covid-19 Measures at the Workplaces, employers may require from employees, who are not vaccinated against COVID-19, to take PCR tests once a week as of 06.09.2021. Currently, no formal notice repealing this letter has been issued.

However, in the letter of the Ministry of Internal Affairs dated 15.01.2022, it was decided that it is not required to screen the employees with a PCR test in private workplaces. However, the above-mentioned letter of Ministry of Labor and Social Security is not among the letters and circulars repealed by the latest letter of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, so these two letters currently contradict each other.

With the newest letter of General Directorate of Occupational Health and Safety (of Ministry of Labor and Social Security), dated 19.01.2022, it has been determined that as of 18.01.2022, employers can request PCR tests from employees when necessary with the decision of the occupational health and safety board*; however, the costs arising from this practice cannot be reflected to the employees.

*In workplaces with 50 or more employees and where continuous work is carried out for more than 6 months, the employer should establish an occupational health and safety board to carry out works on occupational health and safety and implement the decisions of the occupational health and safety board in accordance with the occupational health and safety legislation.

In the light of the mentioned letters and information, until a new letter is published/announced by the relevant institutions, we are of the opinion that in current situation:

  • In workplaces where there is an occupational health and safety board, PCR tests can be requested from the employees, with the decision of the occupational health and safety board and at the expense of the employer,
  • In workplaces where there is no occupational health and safety committee,requesting a mandatory PCR test from employees once a week may be contrary to the letter of the Ministry of Internal Affairs as stated above, and therefore it may pose a risk for employers to take action within this scope if employees refrain from giving PCR tests.
Batuhan Şahmay
Özlem Özdemir Yılmaz
Senior Associate | ozlem.ozdemir@bener.com
Behiç Ateş Gülenç
Associate | ates.gulenc@bener.com