The Labour Law in Turkey is regulated mainly by the Labour Act No. 4857 of 22 May 2003. The Act governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, rest periods, wages, etc. The other acts that govern employment relationships are Trade Union Law and the Constitution.
Hours & Pay Regulations
An employee’s normal working hour in a week is 45 hours exclusive of overtime. An employee’s working time shall be divided equally by the days of the week worked at the workplace.
Working time may be divided by the days of the week worked in different forms on condition but the employee’s daily working hours excluding break shall not exceed 11 hours. In this case, within a time period of 2 months, the average weekly working time of the employee shall not exceed 45 hours. This averaging period may be increased up to 4 months by collective agreement. This balancing (equalizing) period may be increased up to 4 months by collective agreement.
An employee who performs work underground on coal, ore, and other non-metallic raw material extraction, or relates to mine-works construction, as well as employees working in geological exploration sites shall not work more than 37.5 hours per week.
The beginning and end of the daily working time and rest breaks shall be announced to employees at the workplace.
Statutory Hours of Work
Following are considered as statutory hours of work –
- The time required for employees employed in mines, stone quarries, or any other underground or underwater work is considered a statutory hour of work.
- 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.
- Travel Time – Time for transportation to and from the workplace 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.
- Stand By Time – The time during which the employee has no work to perform pending the arrival of new work but remains at the employer’s premises.
Part-time Worker – If an employee’s weekly work hours are established at substantially less than the normal working hours (maximum 45 hours per week), such an employee is called a part-time worker.
The following shall be considered as days worked –
- Duration which is deemed to be part of the working time although no work has been done, and any periods of holidays, with or without pay, either statutory or based on contract,
- Up to 3 days’ leave of absence in the event of the employee’s marriage and up to three days’ leave in the event of the death of the employee’s mother, father, spouse, brother or sister, and child,
- Any leave granted by the employer and any sick leave based on a medical report, subject to a maximum of 1 week.
Article 13, 63, 66, 46 of the Turkish Labour Code
When working hours are less than normal hours due to force majeure, or on the days before or after national and public holiday or where the employee is given time off on the request, the employer may call upon compensatory work within 2 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 3 hours daily, and must not exceed the maximum daily working time in any case. Compensatory work shall not be carried out on holidays. Article 64 of the Turkish Labour Code.
Shorter Working Hours
The employer who temporarily shortens the weekly working time or who temporarily suspends work wholly or partially due to a general economic crisis or force majeure must communicate this matter, along with the reasons, immediately to the Employment Organisation of Turkey and to the union signatory to the collective agreement if there is one.
Due to the above-mentioned reasons which lead to suspension of work or shorter working hours for at least four weeks, employees shall be paid benefits for the shorter working time corresponding to the time not worked. Shorter working time shall not exceed the period during which force majeure was effective and in any case three months. Article 65 of the Turkish Labour Code.
The time during which the employee who ought to be performing work within the scope of his duties in the workplace is sent on an errand for his employer or is employed by the employer in their household or office, instead of performing their own duties is considered to be working hour.
If the length of the employee’s working time has not been determined by the parties in terms of time periods such as a week, month, or year, the weekly working time is considered to have been fixed as 20 hours. If the daily working time has not been decided in the contract, the employer must engage the employee in work for a minimum of 4 consecutive hours at each call.
The employee is entitled to be paid for work irrespective of whether or not the employee engages in work during the time declared for on-call work. The employer who has the right to request the employee to perform his obligation to work on a call must intimate the employee at least 4 days in advance. The employee is obliged to perform work upon the call communicated to him within the said limit. Article 14 of the Turkish Labour Code.
Employers are required to keep a personal file of each employee that contains all requisite documents and records and if requested, employers must present the file to the relevant authorities upon request. Article 75 of the Turkish Labour Code.
Overtime hours are work that exceeds 45 hours a week. The employee shall not work more than 270 hours per year of overtime. The employee’s consent shall be required for overtime work.
Overtime Work Pay
A work that exceeds a total of 45 hours a week shall be deemed overtime work, provided the average working time of the employee does not exceed the normal working time. An employee who works overtime shall be remunerated at 1.5 times the normal hourly rate.
When the weekly working time has been set by contract at less than 45 hours, works that exceed the average weekly working time and which may last only up to 45 hours weekly are deemed to be extra hours.
Extra Hours Pay
In work at extra hours, each extra hour shall be remunerated at 1.25 times the normal hourly rate.
Time off in Lieu of Pay
If an employee has worked overtime or at extra hours, rather than receiving overtime pay he may use, as time off of 1 hour and 30 minutes for each hour worked in overtime and 1 hour and 15 minutes for each extra hour worked. The employee shall use the free time to which he is entitled within 6 months, within his working time, and without any deduction on wages. Article 41 of the Turkish Labour Code.
Compulsory Overtime Work
An employee may be required to work overtime either in the case of breakdown, whether actual or threatened, in the case of urgent work to be performed on machinery, tool or equipment, or in the case for force majeure, provided it shall not exceed the time necessary to enable the normal operating of the workplace. In such cases employees must be allowed adequate time for rest. Article 42 of the Turkish Labour Code.
Overtime work during Emergency
During the periods of mobilization, if necessary and limited only by that period, extend the daily hours of work up to the maximum of which the employees working in a workplace serving the needs of national defense are capable, according to the nature of the operations and urgency of the needs in question. For both compulsory and emergency overtime work the same pay rate applies as given under overtime pay and extra hours pay. Article 43 of the Turkish Labour Code.
Night work is defined as a period that starts at 20:00 at the latest and ends at 06:00 at the earliest and can last up to a maximum of 11 hours. An employee’s night work cannot exceed 7.5 hours. If the 7.5 hours limit is exceeded employees will be entitled to overtime pay.
However, in the case of tourism, private security, and health services, night work may be carried out for more than 7.5 hours with the written approval of the employee and such work will be considered as overtime.
Where work is carried on day and night by alternating shifts of employees, the alternation of shifts must be so arranged that employees are engaged on night work for not more than 1 week and are then engaged on day work the following week. Alternation of work on night and day shifts may also be carried out on a 2-week basis.
If some part of the working period coincides with the daytime period and some of the working periods coincide with the night period, the hours that coincide with the night period for more than half of the working time will be considered night work.
For example, while work between 17: 00-02: 00 or 24: 00-09: 00 is counted as night work, work that is done between 2 pm – 11 pm or 3 am – 12 pm will not be counted as night work.
Pay for overtime work at Night – An employee who works longer than 7.5 hours will be entitled to a premium of 50 percent regardless of whether it exceeds 45 hours per week. Article 69 of the Turkish Labour Code.
Employees are entitled to minimum rest periods (lunch and rest breaks) which are not included in the working hours and are unpaid. The granted rest period varies based on working hours, as below:
- 15 minutes for 4 hours of work or less;
- 30 minutes for 4 to 7.5 hours (including the 7.5th hours) of work; and
- 1 hour for more than 7.5 hours of work
Employees are entitled to these minimum durations and cannot be denied the breaks. Breaks may be taken at the same or varying times by the employees at the workplace. Article 68 of the Turkish Labour Code.
An employee is entitled to a rest period for at least 11 hours between the end of one shift and the beginning of another.
For example, if the worker employed in the shift of 16: 00-24: 00 will be transferred to the 08: 00-16: 00 shift, there should be at least 11 hours rest in between. Therefore, for example, a worker who works for the last time in the 16: 00-24: 00 shift on Tuesday cannot be employed in the 08: 00-16: 00 shift on Wednesday before taking an 11 hour rest between the two shifts. Article 69 of the Turkish Labour Code.
Weekly Rest Period
An employee will be entitled to an uninterrupted weekly rest period of at least 24 hours in a 7 day uninterrupted time period, provided they have worked on the days preceding the weekly rest day. The weekly legal holiday is Sunday. Half-day of leave is granted in addition to Sundays to employees working in radiological clinics.
If the employer suspends work, without being obliged to do so by force majeure or economic reasons, suspends work on one or more days of the week, these days on which no work has been done shall be considered as days worked in order to be entitled to the paid weekly rest day.
If work is suspended in a workplace for more than 1 week on account of force majeure, the wages payable to employees for days not worked due to force majeure shall be paid also for the weekly rest day.
Sundays are considered weekly holidays which must begin at the latest 1 pm on Saturdays and last at least 35 hours. The provisions of the Weekend Holiday Law on Saturday are not applicable to shops and stores where shopping is made to meet essential needs such as eating, drinking, and dressing.
Pay for Work on Weekly Rest
An employee who works on a weekly rest day will be entitled to a premium of 1.5 times the daily wage of that day.
Pay for Overtime on Weekly Rest
An employee who works beyond 7.5 hours on a weekly rest day will be entitled to a premium of 1.5 times the daily wage of that day. Article 46 of the Turkish Labour Code
The following are the 9 official and religious holidays. Private workplaces must be closed on the 29th of October.
- New Year’s Day
- National Sovereignty and Children’s Day – April 23rd
- Labor Day & Solidarity Dat – May 1st
- Commemoration of Atatürk and the Youth and Sports Day – May 19th
- Democracy and National Unity Day – May 15th
- Victory Day – Aug 30th
- National Day – Oct 29th (The festival starts on October 28th from 1 pm and continues on October 29th)
Religious holidays are:
- Ramadan Feast; The day of Arafa is 3.5 days from 1 pm on the previous day.
- Feast of the Sacrifice; The day of Arafa is 4.5 days after 1 pm on the previous day.
Art 1-7, Law on National Holidays and General Holiday/ https://www.mevzuat.gov.tr/MevzuatMetin/1.5.2429.pdf
Pay for Work on Holiday
Employees shall be paid a full day’s wages for the national and public holidays on which they have not worked. If the employee works instead of observing the holiday, they shall be paid an additional full day’s wage for each day worked.
The following payments shall not be considered for the purpose of calculating payments in respect of national or public holidays or weekly rest days –
- overtime and incentive premiums,
- the wages paid to permanent employees when they are employed outside normal working hours in preparatory,
- complementary, or cleaning operations; and
- fringe benefits
Holiday Pay for Piece Rate and Hourly Employees
The holiday pay of an employee is the total daily amount in proportion to the total sum of the days he has worked. The holiday pay of an employee working at a piece rate or on a percentage basis shall be calculated by dividing his total earnings within a pay period by the number of days he has worked during that period.
The holiday pay of an employee working on an hourly basis is 7.5 times his hourly rate. This shall not be applicable to salaried employees who are remunerated monthly in full despite the days they are absent from work due to illness, leave of absence, or for any reason. Article 44, 47, 49 of the Turkish Labour Code.
Employees who have completed 1 year of service with the same employer, including the probation period, shall be allowed to take annual leave with pay.
In the computation of the length of service required to qualify for annual leave with pay, the total period during which the employee has been employed in one or more establishments belonging to the same employer shall be taken into consideration. Also, any length of time spent by an employee in an establishment plus any length of time previously spent by the same employee in an establishment belonging to the same employer but not covered by this Act shall also be considered.
Accordingly, the minimum holiday entitlement must not be any shorter than:
- 14 days for employees with a term of service between 1 – 5 years (including the 5th year of service;
- 20 days for employees with a term of service between 5 – 15 years; and
- 26 days for employees with 15 or more years of service (15th year included)
In case of employees below the age of 18 and above the age of 50, the length of annual leave with pay must not be less than 20 days. Also, the length of annual leave with pay may be increased by employment contracts and collective agreements.
Such entitled holidays are extended by 4 days if the employee performs underground work. The employer must keep a roster showing the paid annual leaves of the employees working in his workplace.
The employee shall use his annual leave with pay computed for each year of service within the following year of employment. Unworked periods are treated as part of the one-year requirement to qualify for annual leave with pay. National holidays, weekly rest days, and public holidays which coincide with the duration of annual leave may not be included in the annual leave period.
In determining the right to annual leave with pay the periods shown below shall be treated as having been worked –
- Days on which the employee fails to report to work owing to an accident or illness
- Days on which the female employee is not permitted to work before and after her delivery.
- Days on which the employee is unable to report to work through having been called up for military exercises or for the performance of a statutory obligation, other than compulsory military service, (up to a maximum of 90 days in a year);
- 15 days of any period during which the employee has not worked because of the temporary but interrupted suspension of operations for longer than one week owing to force majeure, on condition that he has subsequently resumed work;
- Periods reckoned as having been worked, for instance, travel time, standby time, the time required for employees employed in mines, stone quarries, or any other underground, the time necessary for the normal and regular transportation, maintenance, repair, and alteration of railways, roads, and bridges to and from a workplace at a distance from their place of residence.
- Weekly rest days and national and public holidays;
- Half-days of leave granted in addition to Sundays to employees working in radiological clinics
- Days on which the employee is unable to report for work because of having to attend meetings of mediation and arbitration boards or dealing with labor matters;
- Up to 3 days’ leave on the occasion of the employee’s marriage
- Up to 2 days’ leave on the occasion of his parent’s, spouse’s, sister’s or brother’s or child’s death;
- Other leave granted by the employer;
- Annual leave with pay granted to the employee.
Annual leave may be divided, by mutual consent, into three parts at the maximum, provided that one of the parts shall not be less than 10 days. Other kinds of leave, with or without pay, granted by the employer during the year or taken by the employee or sick leave must not be deducted from annual leave.
If the employee requests, the employer must grant him up to 4 days’ leave without pay in order to make good his round-trip travel time, on condition that he provides documentary evidence that he is spending his annual leave at a place other than that where the workplace is located.
Pay – An employee is entitled to full wage in the course of annual leave. Wages for weekly rest days, national and public holidays which coincide with annual leave shall be paid in addition to the annual leave pay.
Annual Leave Upon Termination
Any annual leave remuneration due to but not yet drawn by an employee must be paid to him or to other persons entitled on his behalf, upon the termination of his employment contract for any reason, at the wage rate prevailing on the date of termination. Article 53-55, 57-59 of the Turkish Labour Code.
In 2021, the national minimum wage in Turkey is 392.6 € per month.
The minimum wage stated above may not be up to date and is subject to change. Kindly see this link for the current rates.
All employees are entitled to a maximum of 1 week of paid sick leave. Sick leave might be extended. Extended sick leave is granted on an unpaid basis. In the case of sick leave that extends more than 6 weeks beyond the notice periods, an employment contract may be terminated without notice. Article 46(c) of the Turkish Labour Code.
Female employees shall be entitled to a total period of 16 weeks of paid leave, 8 weeks before delivery, and 8 weeks after delivery. In case of multiple pregnancies, an extra 2 week period shall be added to the 8 weeks before delivery during which female employees must not work. A female employee whose health condition is suitable as approved by a physician’s certificate may work at the workplace if she so wishes up until the 3 weeks before delivery. In this case, the time during which she has worked shall be added to the time period allowed to her after delivery.
In the case the female employee dies during or after childbirth, the unused maternity leave will now be granted to the father. A female employee may, following the end of the paid maternity leave, take unpaid leave for up to half of her weekly working hours at the following terms upon their request –
- 60 days for the first birth
- 120 days for the second birth
- 180 days for the third or more births
30 days will be added to the above-mentioned periods in case of multiple births and the period will be 360 days in case the child is disabled. Provisions as to breastfeeding leave cannot be applied within such periods. If a female employee wants to use her unpaid leave right within the above mentioned periods, a part-time working monthly allowance will be granted to such female employee by the Unemployment Fund provided that the following conditions are fulfilled –
- the female employee shall apply to the Turkish Employment Organization within 30 days after the end of her maternity leave
- 600 days Unemployment Insurance premium shall have been paid before childbirth in the name of the female employee,
- the female employee shall be working for at least half of the weekly working hours.
The Part-Time Working allowance term will be half of the weekly working hours (22.5 hours) regulated by-laws; the daily wage will be gross daily minimum wage.
The female employee shall be granted leave with pay for periodic examinations during her pregnancy. If deemed necessary in the physician’s report, the pregnant employee may be assigned to lighter duties. In this case, no reduction shall be made in her wage. At the request of the female employee, she shall be granted an unpaid leave of up to 6 months after the expiry of the 16 weeks, or in the case of multiple pregnancies, after the expiry of the 18 weeks. This period shall not be considered in determining the employee’s one year of service for entitlement to annual leave with pay.
Female employees shall be entitled to a total of 1.5 hours of paid nursing leave in order to enable them to feed their children below the age of one. The employee shall decide herself at what times and in how many installments she will use this leave. Article 74 of the Turkish Labour Code, Amendment Law- Official Gazette number 29620.
Employees who are adoptive parents, adopting a child under 3 years of age may use the paid maternity leave for 8 months as of the date on which the child has been adopted. The person adopting a child who is under 3 years of age, individually or together with its spouse, may request to work part-time as of the date on which the child has been adopted.
Female or male employees adopting a child under 3 years of age- may use unpaid leave right which amounts to half of the weekly working hours upon their request. They may also take part-time working allowance within this period as provided under maternity leave.
Also, an employee adopting a child under 3 years of age individually or together with its spouse may benefit from unpaid leave up to 6 months as of the date on which the child has been adopted. Amendment Law- Official Gazette number 29620.
An employee whose wife has given birth will be granted 5 days paid paternity leave and, in the case of adoption, employees will be granted 3 days paid leave. Additional Article 2 of the Turkish Labour Code.
The employee who has been employed for a minimum of 1 year will be entitled to unpaid military leave. If an employee is recalled to military services or to perform statutory labor service, his employment contract shall be deemed to have terminated after 2 months have ended from the date of his departure.
Employees who have been employed for more than 1 year are allowed 2 additional days for each year of service, provided that the total period of absence must not exceed 90 days. Article 31 of the Turkish Labour Code.
An employee shall be entitled to 3 days of paid leave for marriage. Article 46 of the Turkish Labour Code.
Employees shall be entitled to 3 days of paid leave in the event of the death of the employee’s mother, father, spouse, brother or sister, and child. Article 46 of the Turkish Labour Code.
All employees are entitled to use no less than 2 hours of paid time off within working hours to seek a new job during their notice period. Job-seeking hours may be merged and can be used at one go. If the employee works during the job-seeking hours, the employer should compensate the job-seeking hours with twice the amount of salary in addition to the employee’s normal salary.
Article 27 of the Turkish Labour Code.
Last updated on: April 12th, 2021