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Turkey bans layoffs, offers salary support in earthquake zone

families wait for the buses to transfer them to safe provinces after the latest earthquake hit in antakya,
Families wait for the buses to transfer them to safe provinces after the latest earthquake hit in Antakya, Hatay province, Turkey, February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Turkey launched a temporary wage support scheme and banned layoffs in 10 cities on Wednesday to protect workers and businesses from the financial impact of the massive earthquakes that hit the south of the country earlier this month.

The moves are part of the Turkish government’s steps to minimise the economic impact of Turkey’s worst earthquake in modern history that left tens of thousands dead.

Employers whose workplaces were “heavily or moderately damaged” would benefit from support to partially cover wages of workers whose hours had been cut, the country’s Official Gazette said on Wednesday.

A ban on layoffs was also introduced in 10 earthquake-hit provinces covered by a state of emergency.

Turkish Parliament imposed a state of emergency for three months on Feb. 7, after a request by President Tayyip Erdogan.

The government also offered salary support and imposed a layoff ban in 2020 in an attempt to mitigate the economic blow of COVID-19.

Business groups and economists have said the earthquake could cost Ankara up to $100 billion to rebuild housing and infrastructure, and shave one to two percentage points off economic growth this year.

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