Minimum wage takes center stage in post-election debates

Following a steady victory by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the Nov. 1 election, attention has shifted to the partyand’s economic pledges amid a difficult period for the countryand’s economy.
The AK Party earlier promised to hike the overall minimum wage to TL 1,300. Turkeyand’s current minimum wage of TL 1,000 (roughly $352) is on the lower end of the spectrum of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) members.
The former deputy prime minister responsible for the economy, Ali Babacan, told media on Monday that a commission is at work deciding how much the increase will be. It is expected that the minimum salary hike will come at the beginning of 2016.
The commission that decides the minimum wage every six months comprises 15 members, five each from labor and employer unions and five from the government.
Since the minimum wage hike will bring an extra burden of nearly TL 1,000 per employee for businesses, company owners and employer unions are expected to challenge the government attempt, although market experts say a last-minute change of mind on the new governmentand’s side is hard.
The new government is expected to form under acting Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu before the end of November.
Ankara Chamber of Industry (ASO) President Nurettin andOzdebir on Tuesday called on the policy makers to and”reconsiderand” an anticipated minimum wage hike, suggesting it is not a sustainable plan for job-givers and will dent their competitive power.
According to columnist and social security analyst Ali Tezel, the AK Party is determined to, at least, realize the minimum wage hike pledge. and”There are certain handicaps with other economic pledges by the AK Party, but Babacanand’s statement on Monday signals the party is serious about the minimum wage,and” he told Todayand’s Zaman on Tuesday.
and”I think the party should have calculated the extra burden the raise would place on the national budget. The burden on employers could be higher than estimated, but it is too late for them to coax the government to change its mind,and” he added. Babacan had earlier said the AK Partyand’s minimum wage offer was and”a hard decision made at the last minute.and”
Among the AK Partyand’s economic pledges were to raise state pensions by TL 100 per month, offer cash aid and non-interest loan opportunities for young entrepreneurs as well as giving childbirth incentives, loan support for farmers and improving health insurance standards.
hr h2span style=”color:#B22222All eyes on AK Partyand’s economic pledgesh2 Health insurance debt
Around 5 million people in Turkey hold General Health Insurance (GSS) debts, a large percentage of which are young adults who have recently finished high school or university. This is primarily the result of a system instituted in 2012 that only covers studentsand’ health until graduation, requiring the payment of a monthly premium after the graduate turns 25.
Many unemployed graduates have accumulated large premium debts after not being able to find work following graduation. The government has pledged to erase these debts and offer a two-year grace period in which new graduates are exempt from paying monthly premiums. It also pledged to provide incentives for young graduates who are looking to start their own businesses.
Retiree pension hike
Retirees have been promised a monthly raise of TL 100 and an annual bonus of TL 1,200 to their pensions, and the government has pledged to sell homes built by the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKi) on an installment basis with TL 250 monthly payments.
Subcontracted workersand’ status
In accordance with the AK Partyand’s election pledges, a regulation is expected to alter the status of subcontracted workers working in the public sector. These workers will have their status upgraded to that of a salaried employee, guaranteeing them official benefits such as health insurance and social security, which subcontracted workers are unable to obtain.
Police, military salary raises
Police and muhtars (neighborhood leaders) will also receive raises, according to the governmentand’s pledges. Salary indicators for specially trained military officers will rise from TL 2,200 to 3,000, while the mutharsand’ salary will increase from TL 950 to TL 1,300.
Farmer and tradesman support
Taxes on feed and fertilizer will be removed to support farmers, while a project seeks to distribute TL 30,000 to young farmers which they are not required to pay back. Small businesses and tradesmen will not be taxed on the first TL 8,000 they earn in a year, while TL 30,000 in interest-free credit will be granted to small business owners.
Childbirth incentives
As President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has frequently encouraged women to have three or more children, the AK Party has pledged cash bonuses of TL 300 to mothers having their first child, TL 400 for the second and TL 600 for the third. Regulations regarding maternity leave will be improved.

SOURCE: TODAY”S ZAMAN

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