Keep on reading to learn more about your rights as an employee in Turkey, what your agreement should contain, and more.
Which Turkish Labor Laws Apply to Foreign Nationals?
Whether you are a Turkish national or a foreign national, the following laws apply to all:
- Turkish Labor Code (No. 4857)
- Turkish Code of Obligations (No. 6098)
- Social Insurance and General Health Insurance Code (No. 5510)
- Code of Work Permits for Foreigners (No. 4817)
- Code on Trade Unions and Collective Bargaining (No. 6536)
- Workplace Health and Safety Code (No. 6331)
However, other provisions may regulate the employment, work, and residence permits of foreign nationals working in Turkey.
If your country of origin has signed a bilateral or international treaty with Turkey, there may also be specific provisions and laws that apply to your employment.
Work Visas and Permits
Foreign nationals must obtain a work visa or a work permit before working in Turkey.
You can obtain a work visa from Turkey's foreign missions abroad before coming to Turkey.
On the other hand, a work permit is granted by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security and needs a residence permit to become valid. You have 30 days following your arrival to apply for a residence permit and to be able to start work.
Read more about work visas and permits here.
Employment Status and Length of Contracts
Turkish labor law and related regulations do not define categories of workers; instead, they categorize employment contracts.
The following are a few examples:
- Fixed-term or indefinite term
- Full-time or part-time
- Provisional employment contracts
The Turkish Labor Code also does not put forth any legal restrictions regarding the duration of an employment contract.
An employment contract can be enacted for an indefinite period or a fixed term.
However, fixed-term contracts cannot be renewed more than once unless doing so is necessitated explicitly by the circumstances.
Regulating Employment Contracts
Although technically, you can enter into a verbal contract for employment if you'll be working for less than a year. The absence of a written agreement will not be held against the employee; the Turkish Labor Code states that if your employment term is longer than 1 year, it must be executed in written form.
Every employer has to keep a personnel file for each employee, which usually contains the employees' criminal records, health reports, etc. These are usually requested as part of the background check during recruitment. Consent from the employee is also required to obtain this information as part of data privacy laws.
Under Article 63 of the Turkish Labor Code, an employee's working hours in a week cannot exceed 45 hours, and a workday cannot exceed 11 hours. However, the distribution of weekly hours can be distributed unevenly if both the employee and employer agree.
The minimum wage in Turkey is not based on an hourly rate; instead, it is based on a monthly calculation. The gross monthly minimum income is 3,577.50 Turkish lira, which falls to 2,825 liras after tax and insurance.
EMPLOYEE RIGHTS IN TURKEY
According to the Turkish Labor Code, employees are entitled to the following statutory rights:
- The right to remuneration
Every employee has the right to demand remuneration/financial compensation for their work. The salary received depends on the role, the nature of work, and market conditions. However, the amount cannot be lower than the national minimum wage, under review every year.
- Overtime pay
The Turkish Labor Code states that an employee's work hours in a week cannot exceed 45 hours. And if this limit is exceeded and the employee works overtime, the employer is obliged to compensate.
However, suppose your contract states that you will not pay overtime or that you cannot request overtime payment (such is the case with high-level executives, the salaries of which may preemptively account for this and be higher than the market standard). In that case, you may have waived that right.
- Annual leave
After you have worked for at least a year in the same workplace, you are entitled to annual paid leave as an employee. The length of this paid leave depends on the terms of your employment and may vary from company to company.
However, the legal minimums are:
- 14 days for employees who have worked between 1 and 5 years
- 20 days for employees who have worked more than 5 years and up to 15 years
- 26 days for employees who have worked for 15 years and more
Employees younger than 18 years of age or older than 50 are entitled to a minimum of 20 days of annual leave.
- Weekend breaks
Each employee is entitled to a continuous 24-hour weekend break if they are working 45 hours per week. This cannot be deducted from the employee's salary either.
- Rest breaks
The amount of rest each employee is entitled to depend on the hours they work:
- 15 minutes of break for work up to 4 hours
- 30 minutes of recess for up to 7.5 hours of work
- An hours' break for work more than 7.5 hours
- Public holidays
Turkey has public holidays where employees are entitled to paid time off. However, many private firms may not give the entirety of these holidays off and instead ask employees to work a few shifts. This is especially common in the tourism industry. In that case, however, they are entitled to additional /overtime pay for each day worked.
Public holidays cannot be deducted from an employee's salary, and they are not a part of the minimum paid annual leave.
Turkey has around 15 days of public holidays each year:
- New Year (January 1)
- National Sovereignty and Children's Day (April 23)
- Labor Day (May 1)
- Remembering Atatürk, Youth and Sports' Day (May 19)
- Democracy and National Unity Day (July 15)
- Victory Day (August 30)
- Republic Day (October 29)
- The Feast of Ramadan and Feast of Sacrifice (around 8 days)
- Health insurance/social security
The employer must pay a premium for each employee toward Social Security Institution (SSI). Each employee must be insured from the first day of work.
- Severance payment
If your employment contract is terminated and you have completed at least one year of continuous employment, you are entitled to a severance payment.
- Notice periods
The minimum notice periods (for both the employer and employee) depend on the period worked. However, both parties may agree to shorter periods in the right circumstances.
The legal minimums are as follows:
- Those employed for less than 6 months must give 2 weeks' notice
- Those employed for between 6-18 months must provide 4 weeks' notice
- Those employed for between 1,5 and 3 years must provide 6 weeks' notice
- Those employed for more than 3 years must provide 8 weeks' notice
- Maternity leave
Pregnant employees in Turkey can take fully paid leave for 16 weeks:
- 8 weeks before childbirth
- 8 weeks after childbirth
Pregnant people are also allowed a breastfeeding break of about three hours a day in the first 6 months after maternal leave and about 1.5 hours a day for the following 6 months.
- Paternity leave
Spouses of pregnant people are only entitled to 5 days' paid leave, but some companies may offer more days as part of their benefits.
Employees in Turkey can't work illegally.
To find out why, read this informative article about the consequences of working illegally in Turkey.
What will happen to your business if you employ a Turkish national?
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