Article 32 of the Law states that the employer shall pay the employees on a monthly basis, at the latest. The payment period can be reduced to a week under collective bargaining and employment agreements.
In the monthly payment system, employees get paid collectively once a month. The payment amount is calculated by collecting the hours and days in which the employee has worked and/or considered to be worked.
The payment shall only be made in the form of money and cannot be made by a bill to order (bond), coupon, or a bill claiming to represent the currency of the country or by any other instruments.
Pursuant to Article 32 of the Employment Law, the payment shall be made in Turkish currency, in principle. If parties agree on a payment in terms of a foreign currency, it can be paid in Turkish Lira according to the currency rate on the date of payment.
As per Article 401 of Turkish Code of Obligations, the employer is obliged to pay the employee the amount determined in the agreement. In case the agreement does not include such provisions, the employer is obliged to make an equivalent payment that cannot be less than the national minimum wage.
National Minimum Wage
Under Article 39 of the Employment Law, the related commission of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security determines and revises the minimum wage twice a year.
The national minimum wage applies to all employees except the ones working in the coal and lignite mining sectors. In these sectors, the minimum wage must be at least twice the regular minimum wage determined by the commission.
The gross minimum monthly wage in force until 31 December 2020 is TRY 2,943.
Deductions of Fines from Payment
As per Article 38 of the Law, no employer may impose a fine on an employee’s payment for reasons other than those indicated in the collective agreement or the employment contract. The employee must be notified at once of any payment deductions as fines, as well as the reason for them.
Deductions made in this way must not exceed three days’ payment in any one month, or in the case of piece work or the amount of work to be done, the wages earned by the employee in two days.
These deductions shall be credited within one month to the account of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security in a bank established in Turkey and must be designated by the Ministry for use in the training of and social services for employees. Every employer must maintain a separate account in his establishment showing such deductions. It is against the law to deduct money from the fee and deposit it in the employer’s account.
In accordance with Article 102 of the Employment Law, employers who unlawfully impose a penalty shall be penalized with an administrative fine of TRY 1050,51 for 2020.
Social Rights and Side Benefits of Employees
Salary, social security contributions, paid annual leave, paid sick leave, general health insurance contribution, weekends, public holidays, official holiday salaries, overtime payments, maternity leave and paternity leave pay are the main mandatory benefits. The employer may also provide employees with some additional voluntary benefits.
Informing the Social Security Institution
Under the social security laws, each employee is insured from the first day of work. The employer must inform the Social Security Institution about each employee that works in its workplace.
Restrictions on Working Hours
The working hours include not only the period in which the worker is actively working but also the period from the moment the worker goes under the order and instruction of the employer until the end of the shift.
The weekly working hours are fixed as 45 hours, and unless otherwise agreed, this period shall be applied equally across the working days of the week. The parties may determine daily working hours for each day, not exceeding the weekly working hours. However, according to the law, the daily working hours cannot exceed 11 hours.
The general rule of working hours in the Employment Law aims to protect the employee’s health and ensure the quality of work. Carrying out overtime work in workplaces where short work is compulsory is forbidden, as is employing these workers in any job after their daily working time.
Periods Considered as Working Time
Article 66 of the Law stipulates that some of the time spent at work will be counted as daily working time.
The following periods shall be considered as the employee’s daily working hours:
- The time required for employees employed in mines, stone quarries or any other underground or underwater work to descend into the pit or workings or to the actual workplace and to return to the surface,
- Travelling time, if the employee is sent by the employer to a place outside the establishment,
- The time during which the employee has no work to perform pending the arrival of new work but remains at the employer’s disposal,
- The time during which the employee who ought to be performing work within the scope of his duties in the establishment is sent on an errand for his/her employer or is employed in the employer’s household or office, instead of performing his/her own duties,
- The time allowed for a female employee who is a nursing mother to enable her to feed her child,
- The time necessary for the normal and regular transportation of groups of employees engaged in the construction, maintenance, repair and alteration of railways, roads and bridges to and from a workplace at a distance from their place of residence.
- Time for transportation to and from the establishment which is not a requirement of the activity but is provided by the employer solely as a form of amenity shall not be regarded as part of the statutory working time.
As per Article 41 of the Law, overtime is defined as the time which exceeds 45 hours per week, under the circumstances stipulated under the law.
As per Article 63 of the Law, weekly working hours can be distributed over the working days in a week by the mutual agreement of the parties, provided that a maximum of 11 hours per working day is not exceeded. In this manner, the weekly average working time of the employee within a period of two months cannot exceed the regular weekly working time. The reference period can be increased up to four months under collective bargaining agreements. Provided that the average working hours of the employee do not exceed regular weekly working hours, even though they may exceed 45 hours during some weeks, it is not considered to be overtime, if the two-month reference applies in accordance with Article 63.
Extra wages for each overtime hour shall be paid as 50% more than the regular working hour salary.
If the weekly working hours are determined to be less than 45 hours in the employment agreement, working hours which exceed the applied average time within the abovementioned conditions, up to 45 hours, are considered to be overtime work. Extra wages for each overtime work hour shall be paid as 25% more than the regular working hour salary.
Employees who do overtime are entitled to take free time of 1.5 hours for each hour of overtime, instead of receiving increased wages as explained above. The employees should use this free time during their working hours within a six-month period and without any deductions from their salary.
The written consent of employees must be obtained each January if they are asked to do overtime. In accordance with Article 102/c of the Law, employers may be subject to an administrative fine amounting to TRY 417 for each employee where there is no approval for overtime work.
It can be agreed under an employment agreement that the wages for overtime of up to 270 hours in one year are included in the employee’s salary. For any hours exceeding this limit, the employer is obliged to make an overtime payment to the employee. If the employer does not pay the employee’s wage for the excess hours, there is the risk that the employee may claim compensation from the employer for exceeding hours within five years starting from the relevant overtime work.
Per Article 102 of the Law, the employer shall be fined an administrative fine of TRY 511.16 as of 2020 for each employee who has not been paid overtime, who has not been granted the free time he deserved within six months, and who has worked extra hours without his approval.
Compulsory Overtime Work
In cases where time worked has been considerably lower than the normal working time or where operations are stopped entirely for reasons of suspending work due to force majeure or on days before or after national and public holidays or where the employee is granted time off upon his request, the employer may call upon compensatory work within two months in order to compensate for the time lost due to unworked periods. Such work shall not be considered overtime work or work at extra hours.
Compensatory work shall not exceed three hours daily and must not exceed the maximum daily working time in any case. Compensatory work shall not be carried out on holidays.
Night work, as stated in Article 69 of the Law, starts at 20.00 at the latest and lasts until 06.00 at the earliest and for a maximum of 11 hours. Women cannot be employed for more than 7.5 hours on night shifts, but over 7.5 hours of night work may be carried out provided that the written consent of the worker is obtained in work performed in tourism, private security, and health services. Female employees under the age of 18 cannot be employed in night shifts in industrial works.
An employer who employs workers in contravention of their working time and who makes the employee work more than seven and a half hours at night shall be charged an administrative fine of TRY 2,810.76 for 2020.
While the duration varies depending on the worked hours, each employee is entitled to a rest break. According to Article 68 of the Law, the length of the rest breaks is calculated in accordance with the length of work. The resting break periods are as follows:
- Up to four hours: 15 minutes of break.
- Up to and including 7.5 hours: 30 minutes of break.
- More than 7.5 hours: one hour of break.
According to Article 104 of the Law, an employer who does not apply the interim rest in accordance with the provisions of the Law shall be penalized with an administrative fine of TRY 2,810.76 for 2020.
Having worked for 45 hours per week, each employee becomes entitled to a continuous 24-hour weekend break. Employers are not allowed to make a deduction from employees’ salaries for this weekend break. For this day off, employees are paid a wage equal to the daily wage by the employer.
National holidays in Turkey are:
- New Year’s Day (1 January).
- National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (23 April).
- Labor Day (1 May).
- Youth and Sports Day (19 May).
- Victory Day (30 August).
- Republic Day (afternoon of 28 October and 29 October).
- Feast of Ramadan (3.5 days) and
- Feast of Sacrifice (4.5 days).
The minimum paid annual leave entitlements do not include national holidays.
In principle, employees do not have to work on national holidays and they receive full wages on such holidays. However, if employees do work on national holidays, they will be entitled to receive additional payments for each day.
Whether employees will work on public holidays or not is determined by the employment contract. Unless there is a clause in the contract, the employee’s consent is required for working on public holidays.
Annual Paid Leave
According to Article 53 of the Law, after working for at least one year, employees become entitled to paid annual leave. Depending on the length of employment, the length of the paid annual leave varies. The Law states the minimum holiday entitlement for employees as follows:
- One to five years of employment (including the fifth year): 14 days per year.
- More than five years to 15 years of employment: 20 days per year.
- More than 15 years of employment: 26 days per year
Employees under the age of 18 or above the age of 50 are entitled to a minimum of 20 days of annual leave.
These holiday entitlements can be extended through employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements.
To be ganted paid annual leave, the required working period of one year includes the probationary period.
Other Types of Leave
In accordance with the Employment Law, other types of leave are:
- Marriage Leave: 3 days, in the event of an employee’s marriage,
- Bereavement Leave: 3 days, in the event of the death of an employee’s mother, father, spouse, brother or sister, or child,
- Adoption Leave: 3 days, in the event of an employee’s adoption of a child,
- Paternity Leave: 5 days, in the event of an employee’s spouse giving birth,
- Disabled child leave: up to 10 days in a year to escort the treatment of a child where employed parents have a child with at least 70% disability or chronic disease approved by a medical report. However, only one of the parents can take this leave, and there can be no interruption to the leave nor can it be used in segments.
Payments for the above-mentioned types of leave are made by the employer.
In case of injury or illness, employees become entitled to time off for sick leave. By documenting their illnesses or injuries with a medical report, employees will be entitled to time off during the period of rest recommended in the report. However, if the employee’s illness or injury exceeds the valid notice period mentioned in the report by six weeks, the employer has the right to terminate the employment agreement with immediate effect by paying the employee’s severance payment on the grounds that the employee’s sickness cannot be cured.
Occupational Health and Safety
The health and safety obligations of employers are regulated under the Occupational Health and Safety Law. The Occupational Health and Safety Law requires occupational health and safety services to be provided by appropriately qualified individuals.
Pursuant to the Occupational Health and Safety Law, some of the general responsibilities of employers are:
- Working to avoid occupational hazards,
- Informing and training employees about the risks and occupational health and safety issues which exist in their workplace in particular,
- Providing employees with the necessary tools and equipment,
- Adopting health and safety measures to meet changing workplace conditions,
- Monitoring whether employees abide by occupational health and safety measures,
- Ensuring the suitability of an employee in terms of health and safety before assigning them to a particular task or duty,
- Employing an on-site doctor and occupational safety specialist at the workplace under the Occupational Health and Safety Law (applicable for entities having fewer than 50 employees as of 1 July 2020).
In addition to the general requirements above, some further measures may be required from employers depending on the hazard class of the workplace.
Obligation to Employ Disabled Persons and Ex-Convicts
As per Article 30 of the Law, in establishments employing 50 or more employees, employers are obliged to employ disabled personnel at a ratio of 3% of the total personnel and ex-convicts at a ratio of 2%.
As per Article 101 of the Law, employers who fail to fulfill this obligation shall pay to the Turkish Labor Institution a monthly penalty of TRY 3.250 for each unemployed disabled employee.
Other Special Conditions
Maternity rights are determined under Article 74 of the Law. According to this article, pregnant employees can take fully paid leave for:
- Eight weeks before confinement
- Eight weeks after confinement
Pregnant employees and their spouses will be entitled to nursing benefits under certain premium conditions.